81yards in nine plays to set up his kick.
But momentum is one thing, and down right grittiness is another.
Smith might have also taken into consideration that on an earlier fourth-and-one situation, Turner ran for 5 yards, setting up a Matt Ryan to Jason Snelling 21-yard TD to put the Falcons up 13-10 in the third quarter.
Or perhaps he was reminded of the fourth-and-3 on the Saints’ 45-yard line when Ryan hit Roddy White for a 6-yard completion and a first down that would eventually pull his team to within three, 23-20, with just 4 1/2 minutes left to play. Tony Gonzalez capped that drive off with a 20-yard touchdown reception at the 4:13 mark.
“We were going to be aggressive in all that we did. Unfortunately, it did not work out,” Smith said during his post-game press conference.
On the other hand, Atlanta failed to score on three other occasions in the red-zone against a Saints defensive unit that came into the game ranked last in defense inside the 20-yard line.
Nonetheless, Smith’s call was a gutsy one.
Add the inconsistency down close to the goal with the number of times the Falcons were penalized and this one could have gone either way. The Falcons set a new season high record of 12 penalties with no one unit being exempt. Atlanta’s offensive-, defensive-, and special-teams units chipped in four penalties each.
Defensively, the Falcons held the Saints to a mere 41 yards rushing, but with a quarterback like Drew Brees, the running game wasn’t much of a factor.
Brees completed 30-of-43 passes for 322 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions, and went almost the entire game unscathed by Atlanta’s defense.