Andy Dalton threw two touchdown passes and Taysom Hill threw one as the host New Orleans Saints defeated the Atlanta Falcons 21-18 on Sunday afternoon.
Dalton completed 11 of 17 passes for 151 yards and connected with Juwan Johnson for touchdowns of 19 and 22 yards. Hill completed both of his passes, one of which went 68 yards to Rashid Shaheed for a score for the Saints (5-9).
Rookie Desmond Ridder struggled in his first start for the Falcons (5-9), completing 13 of 26 for 97 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. Rookie Tyler Allgeier rushed 17 times for a career-high 139 yards and a touchdown.
On the first possession of the third quarter Atlanta completed a 75-yard drive when Allgeier ran 5 yards for a touchdown that cut New Orleans’ lead to 14-10.
The Saints responded on the ensuing possession with Dalton’s 22-yard touchdown pass to Johnson to rebuild the lead to 11 at the end of the third quarter.
Cordarrelle Patterson rushed 3 yards for a touchdown and Allgeier ran for a two-point conversion to pull the Falcons within 21-18 with 7:07 left.
Atlanta reached midfield with a chance to tie or take the lead, but on fourth and 5 Drake London lost a fumble after a 12-yard reception.
New Orleans took over with 2:06 left and ran the clock down to nine seconds when Hill was stopped for no gain on fourth and 1 at the Falcons’ 27, but Atlanta couldn’t threaten in its final two plays.
The Saints drove to a touchdown on the first possession of the game, scoring on Dalton’s 19-yard pass to Johnson. The receiver was initially ruled down at the 1-yard line but a Saints challenge overturned the call and confirmed the score.
On their next possession Hill threw his touchdown pass to Shaheed to increase the lead to 14-0 at the end of the first quarter.
The Falcons got their first points in the second quarter when Younghoe Koo kicked a 28-yard field goal.
New Orleans had an opportunity to increase its lead, but David Johnson lost a fumble at the Atlanta 15 and the score remained 14-3 at halftime.
–Field Level Media