Falcons Pick Brees 5 Times in Win, Need 1 More to Clinch Division

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    Drew Brees didn’t bring his ‘A’ game to the ATL last night, but the Falcons defense sure did. The team picked Brees off a record five times en route to a 23-13 victory over the New Orleans Saints. Brees went without a touchdown pass in the game, ending his NFL-record streak at 54 games.

    “Tonight that was a really good win for our football team,” said coach Mike Smith. “I thought our defense played a tremendous game. Anytime you pick off five passes in a ballgame you’ve done a nice job. I thought that our guys showed a ton of resiliency throughout the entire football game. We entered tonight’s game wanting to get a positive result and get mission 11 accomplished and I thought we did that.”

    The Falcons moved to 11-1 and are on a three-game winning streak. The team needs just one more win to lock up the NFC South and can guarantee itself a home playoff game with just two victories or a couple losses from other teams.

    This game was bigger than records, though. New Orleans (5-7) had won four in a row and 11 of 13 against the Falcons. Fans in the series have taken the rivalry to a new level, evidenced by the reception the Saints got at the Atlanta airport.

    Their bus was pelted by eggs.

    Michael Turner scored on Atlanta’s opening possession, Tony Gonzalez caught one from Matt Ryan, and Matt Bryant kicked three field goals, including a 55-yarder to round out the scoring.

    The defense did the rest. Cornerback William Moore feasted on two interceptions. Thomas DeCoud, Sean Weatherspoon and Jonathan Babineaux also had interceptions, and another pick by Corey Peters didn’t count because of a penalty. The performance was even more impressive considering the Falcons’ best cover cornerback, Asante Samuel, left the game in the first quarter after aggravating a right shoulder injury.

    “We got the monkey off our back,” DeCoud said.

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