Monday, 27 September 2010 02:52

New Orleans Saints: Atlanta Falcons, Garrett Hartley, Bryant, Tony Gonzales, Lance Moore

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staton1Playoffs hero Garrett Hartley missed on a chip shot 29-yard field goal attempt in overtime and Falcons kicker Matt Bryant was true with a 46-yarder in overtime to knock the Saints from the unbeaten ranks, 27-24 on Sunday at the Superdome.

A week after booting the game-winner in the Saints'  win over the 49ers on Monday night, Hartley shanked his kick as the Falcons established themselves as Super Bowl contenders.


In Week Three, the Falcons (2-1) gave the defending  Super Bowl champions all they handle and more. The Saints attempted to cover Falcons tight end Tony Gonzales,  a future Hall of Famer, with linebackers instead of a nickel back. He wound up being Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan's favorite target with eight catches for 110 yards and receiver Roddy White had five for 69 yards,

"I missed basically an extra point," said Hartley after the game. " It was clearly my mistake. It's highs and lows of being a kicker."

Saints coach Sean Payton said he would bring in more kickers for a look this week. Hartley's leash is growing shorter.

The Falcons controlled the clock with their running game and the Saints' defensive line was tired during the third and fourth quarters. The Falcons had the ball for 37.5 minutes to the Saints' 22.5

The Falcons out-gained the Saints of offense 417 to 398 including a 202 advantage in rushing yards.

Wide receiver Lance Moore had a career day for the Saints with six receptions for 149 yards and two touchdowns to go with a 79-yard punt return.

Drew Brees completed 30 of 38 passes for 365 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. He was sacked twice.

Saints-Falcons Quotes:

Saints coach Sean Payton: "It's a tough loss. It was a hard-fought game. I told this to the team, when you turn it over we did early on, we give up big plays, and we fail to convert that kick in overtime like that, it's going to be tough to overcome those things. It's going to be tough to overcome our inability out there on fourth and short to get a yard. It is easy to look at the kick and just that  specific play in overtime, yet there was a reason we were in overtime. The turnovers, something we have done a good job with, we give up some  big plays to guys we were supposed to be doubling in coverage and we can't get off the field late in our  run defense.

Q: Did you ____ with Hartley and if so what did you say to him?
A: "That wouldn't be for you guys."

Q: When you look at the offense, did you see problems from the last two weeks appear in this game?
A: There were some big plays that we had and yet we still have problems in short-yardage situations. We had dropped balls today. There were a couple of penalties. We are not playing our best football.  At times, we did some real good things and were just not consistent enough, when were on defense."

Q: How do you feel about the performance of Lance Moore?
A: "He played well. He came up with some big plays. He is good inside. He made the big play down the field early which gave is a lead. The other touchdown he had was  a little isolation route in the red zone coverage and Drew waited on him. It was a good play by him."

Q: You were a big supporter of Garrett Hartley.
A: Last week he played well. He pulled this kick. He has got to play better than that, but there a lot of us that have to do a better job."

Kicker Garrett Hartley (On missing the 29-yard field goal): "The game came down to a 29-yard field goal and I yanked it left. No ifs or buts about it. It was clearly my mistake. I need to go back to the drawing board. I missed a big kick last year and was able to learn from it. Ii plan on doing the same thing. I need to get back to kicking the football and not over kicking it like I did today."

(On if was more mental than physical) "Absolutely. I over thought it I guess. I went over a couple of points and at the last second it just didn't work out. We have a game next  Sunday and I am going out there and put the ball through the uprights."

Receiver Lance Moore (On his 72-yard punt return): "Coach Payton wanted it set for the left hash. So Coach McMahon called for a left return. The guys did a great job of setting up a wall for me. That's something that we prepared for this week in practice. I actually made the wrong cut in practice, but made the right cut today. Those guys did a great job of blocking."

(On his 80-yard touchdown reception): "I definitely think it was a blown coverage.There was really no one running with me. The guy was showing Shockey some respect and left me free. So, all I had to do was catch the ball and run."

Quarterback Drew Brees: (On missed opportunities): "It's a lot of things. It's not just about missing the field goal at the end. There were a lot of things prior to that had we executed better we wouldn't have been in that situation. All you can ask for is a chance to win at the end. We felt like we did some good things at the end to put ourselves in a position to win. We had three turnovers offensively. Two of those were by me. That was not like me. I was disappointed in myself. We were 55 per cent on third-down conversions. We had some big plays. We need to get back to the drawing board. The answer is to find a way to win in the end."

Falcons coach Mike Smith: "I told the guys that you've got to fight through adversity to win games in this league. I can't tell you how proud I am of our men in the locker room. We fought our tails off today."

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (On the win): "This is a huge victory for us. We have a lot of high expectations of  ourselves and we fought the entire game to get us in position to win it at the end. This was a team win and I am so proud of how we converted most third downs. That was a huge factor throughout the game, keeping our drives alive and running down the clock. This is a huge confidence builder for us."

by Ed Staton

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