New Orleans, La. - Saints Head Coach Sean Payton and former special teams star Steve Gleason ignited the fan base when they kicked off the "Who Dat" chant pre-game. The return of both to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome was a sweet appetizer to a main course devouring of the Falcons offense.
Rob Ryan's new 3-4 defense was the big star on this day. His unit racked up three sacks and forced a Matt Ryan interception on the Falcons final series of the game.
Ryan started the scoring with a touchdown pass to familiar target Tony Gonzalez. The tight end's seven-yard touchdown grab put the Dirty Birds up 7-0.
Things didn't get any better for the black and gold on the next drive. Saints ran it on fourth and one at their own 47-yard line, and Mark Ingram lost two yards as numerous Falcons swallowed him up.
The Atlanta offense got a Matt Bryant 23-yard field goal out of the defensive stand.
The Saints offense answered back with a field goal of their own in the second quarter. Drew Brees led the Saints on a 12-play, 50-yard drive ending with a Garrett Hartley 48-yard kick to cut the Falcons lead to 10-3.
Ryan's defense finally showed it's teeth with an opportunistic forced fumble by Malcolm Jenkins. Jenkins stripped wide receiver Julio Jones after a 22-yard catch. Roman Harper returned the fumble to the Falcons 31.