Saints Playoff Hopes Die in Loss to Falcons in the Dome
The game started with a bang. A 99 yard kickoff return by Jalen Saunders led to a touchdown that gave the Saints a 7-0 lead just 20 seconds into the game. That excitement was all Saints fans had to hold on to through three quarters, because they didn’t score again until late in the 4th quarter. Final score: Atlanta – 30, New Orleans – 14. Saints Tackle, Zach Strief, says, “You feel like you let everybody down, everyone around you. As you walk out of the stadium, every person you see, you feel like you let that guy down and that’s tough."
On the first play of the 4th quarter, the Saints looked like they were about to gain momentum for a comeback. Quarterback Drew Brees connected with Jimmy Graham, but Graham dropped the ball after he appeared to cross the goal line. The play was reviewed and was still ruled a fumble, a costly turn of events for the home team. Brees says, "Really felt like where his arms were, obviously the ball was in his arms, he’s across the white line. It sure looked like it was gonna’ be a touchdown to us."
A team projected to be Super Bowl contenders early on, this loss, coupled with Carolina’s win, put an end to any hope the Saints had of making the playoffs. Sean Payton, Saints Head Coach, says, "Obviously it’s disappointing, this stage in the season with what was at stake. There is that sting to it of finality."
The entire season has been a roller coaster of highs and lows for the Saints. Their inconsistency has plagued their season. Saints Linebacker, David Hawthorne, says, "We didn’t come out and do what we planned to do. You know, we didn’t put it up on the board or execute when we got on the field. It was one of those kind of years where it just wasn’t quite right for us and we didn’t right our ship fast enough to turn it around."
The Saints will close out their season next week on the road against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.