Bryant's Crucial Field Goals Lift Falcons Over Saints
NFL 2012 Regular Season
Matt Bryant buried two crucial field goals in the fourth period to help the Atlanta Falcons survive division rival New Orleans Saints, 23-13, for their 11th win Thursday at Georgia Dome.
Bryant had three field goals, two in the final period from distances of 55 and 29 yards, while Matt Ryan completed 18 of 33 passes for 165 yards and a touchdown as the Falcons (11-1) avenged their 31-27 defeat to the Saints last Nov. 11.
Running back Michael Turner ran for 83 yards on 12 carries and a score while wide receiver Tony Gonzalez tallied 58 yards on four receptions and a touchdown for the Falcons, who won their third straight game to keep the best record in the league.
The Falcons defense was outstanding, picking off Saints quarterback Drew Brees five times, two by William Moore, and limiting the Saints just five minutes of possession in the third period.
"Our guys showed a ton of resiliency throughout the game tonight. I'm very proud of our guys," said Falcons coach Mike Smith.
Brees hit 28 of 50 passes for 341 yards but failed to find the end zone, ending his NFL record touchdown streak at 54 games.
Pierre Thomas led the Saints rushing corps with 84 yards on 14 carries and wide receiver Lance Moore tallied 123 yards on seven catches for the Saints, who dropped to 5-7.
The Falcons raced to a 7-0 lead in the first period behind a three-yard run by Turner before turning it to a 17-0 cushion in the second period after Ryan found Gonzalez for a 17-yard touchdown pass and a field goal by Bryant.
The Saints got on the board with a short run by Mark Ingram and Garrett Hartley added two field goals from 52 and 21 yards to close in at 17-13.
However, Bryant sealed the victory with two field goals in the final period.
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