Trevor Siemian, Saints fall to Falcons despite late surge

Benny Greenspan, Contributing Reporter

saints falcons
Matthew Tate

On a Sunday morning full of unpredictable upsets, the 5-2 New Orleans Saints found themselves on the wrong side of history in their first matchup against their division rival, the 3-4 Atlanta Falcons. The Saints ended up falling to the Falcons 27-25 in a home game at the Caesars Superdome. 

This game marked Trevor Siemian’s first start with the Saints after they lost Jameis Winston to a season-ending ACL tear in their win last week against the Buccaneers. Taysom Hill was also active in this game for the first time since week five, but he was solely used as a backup. Hill ended the game completing both his pass attempts for 33 yards and one carry for four yards. 

The Siemian-led offense struggled in the first half, with three of their four drives resulting in a punt, the other of which ending with a turnover on downs

While the offensive struggles are expected with a backup quarterback starting, the normally strong Saints defense had a rough time against the Falcons offense throughout the game. Despite being without star receiver Calvin Ridley, Matt Ryan torched the Saint’s defense, going 23-30 for 343 yards to pair with two passing touchdowns, as well as a rare rushing touchdown

The absence of Ridley also opened the door for their other pass catchers to step up, as Cordarrelle Patterson led the team with six catches for 126 yards, while Olamide Zaccheaus had three catches for 58 yards and two touchdowns

The Falcons entered the 4th quarter leading the Saints 17-3, later extending the lead to 24-6 with 10:39 remaining after a Saint’s fumble led to a 6-yard touchdown grab by Zaccheaus. 

While the game would appear to be out of reach, the Falcons once again remind us that as long as they have the lead, the game is never over. 

Siemian and the Saints responded in strong fashion, marching down the field in a 66-yard drive that resulted in a 5-yard touchdown pass to Marquez Callaway. 

The Saints continued to ride this momentum for most of the quarter on both sides of the ball. The defense stepped up, forcing the Falcons to a three-and-out. 

Alvin Kamara additionally continued to carry the load offensively, leading the team in both receiving yards with 54 and rushing yards with 50, along with a 2-yard rushing touchdown that narrowed the deficit to 24-19 with 4:35 left in the game. 

After another timely three-and-out that gave the Saints the ball with just under three minutes remaining, Siemian led the team down the field on a 5-play drive that resulted in an 8-yard Kenny Stills touchdown, giving the Saints a 25-24 lead. 

While the drive to take the lead was successful, the Saint’s failure to convert on the two-point attempt gave the Falcons the ability to win the game on a field goal. This time, Matt Ryan and the Falcons were determined to not fully blow a game. 

On the first play of their drive, Cordarrelle Patterson burned Saints rookie Paulson Adebo for a catch that resulted in a 64-yard gain. This got the Falcons to the Saints 11, where Falcons running back Mike Davis almost fumbled the game away on the next play during his 2-yard run. However, the Falcons were able to recover and capitalize with a 29-yard field goal from Younghoe Koo as time expired. 

With the loss, the Saints remain second in their division and fall to a game-and-a-half behind the defending champion, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. On the other hand, the Falcons move to 4-4 and inch closer to the Saints. 

Both teams face tough opponents next week, with the Falcons facing off against the 6-2 Dallas Cowboys coming off an upset loss to the Denver Broncos. The Saints face off against the Derrick Henry-less Tennessee Titans who, after an impressive win against the Los Angeles Rams, are 7-2 on the season. The game will be broadcasted on CBS on Nov. 14 at 12 p.m.