The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

November 12, 2012

Saints end Falcons unbeaten run with 31-27 win

(Continued)

Matt Ryan was 34 of 52 for a career-best 411 yards and three touchdowns with one interception. The game was there for him to win when his 9-yard pass to Harry Douglas gave Atlanta a second-and-goal at the 1. But Ryan could not connect on a second-down pass for tight end Tony Gonzalez, the Saints stuffed Michael Turner for a 1-yard loss on third down, and then came Greer's play.

"I could put that ball in a better spot — a little higher and more in front of him to give him a chance to catch it," Ryan said. "We've always played them tough and haven't had the outcomes we wanted."

Both Graham and his Atlanta counterpart, Gonzalez, were superb in a game that showcased all the intensity and momentum changes expected from such a passionate and longstanding rivalry.

"Tony, he kind of paved the way for me," said Graham, who like Gonzalez had a college basketball background. "It seemed like every drive I'm kind of going up against the things that he did the last drive."

Gonzalez finished with 11 catches for 122 yards and two scores for Atlanta, becoming the first tight end to catch 100 touchdown passes.

Brees threw for 298 yards and three TDs as the Saints won for the fourth time in five games, keeping alive hope of getting back into the wild-card race after an 0-4 start. It was also New Orleans' 11th win in 13 games against Atlanta since Brees joined the Saints in 2006.

The Saints can even their record with a win at Oakland next weekend.

"That's something we feel like we're capable of and we envisioned being able to do that, because we know the type of team we have," Brees said. "We knew we dug ourselves a hole. We knew we had a mountain to climb, but we also knew we have the right type of people."

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