The Atlanta Falcons held a 26-10 lead in the fourth quarter Sunday against division rival New Orleans. Like Falcons teams of past years, they watched the lead vanish.
Jameis Winston guided the Saints to a come-from-behind victory, hitting Michael Thomas for two fourth-quarter touchdowns and helped set up the game-winning field goal.
The Falcons had a chance to win late, but Younghoe Koo’s 63-yard field goal attempt was blocked, preserving the 27-26 Saints victory.
Atlanta was feistier in the season opener than most prognosticators predicted, with Cordarrelle Patterson dashing for 120 yards and a TD and rookie Drake London snagging five catches for 74 yards. The defense generated four sacks, more than it had in any game in the 2021 season.
But in the end, the result was a loss for Atlanta.
After the collapse, coach Arthur Smith pushed back against the perception of his club.
“You guys wrote our obituary back in May,” Smith said, via Kelly Price of Fox 5 Atlanta. “You’ll continue to write our obituary. Who cares? Cause we have 16 games, and if we don’t learn from this and get better… We gotta go play L.A. They got a three-day jump on us. So we’ll watch the tape, we’ll look for corrections, and then we have to get going on the Rams.
“So write whatever y’all want. You guys ranked us 45th. You buried us in May. Bury us again. We don’t care. We’ll get back to work.”
Since 2020, Atlanta has blown three fourth-quarter leads of 15 or more points. The rest of the NFL has only two such games in that span.
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