Article

Falcons edge closer to southern crown

30 November 2012 06:27

The Atlanta Falcons moved to the brink of clinching the NFC South division with a 23-13 win over the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night.

The Falcons raced out to an early 17-point lead at the Georgia Dome and their defence held strong as they intercepted Drew Brees five times and also ended his incredible 54-game streak of throwing a touchdown pass.

A three-yard run from Michael Turner opened the scoring four minutes into the match before the hosts extended their lead early in the second quarter after Tony Gonzalez caught a 17-yard pass from Matt Ryan.

Matt Bryant made it 17-0 with a 45-yard field goal, but the Saints rallied with Mark Ingram rushing for a touchdown just before half-time.

Garrett Hartley reduced the deficit to just four points with a pair of field goals in the third quarter, but Brees continued to struggle and two field goals to Bryant in the last quarter sealed the victory.

Brees finished the game with 28 completions from 50 passes and five interceptions – the most he has ever had in a game.

The loss leaves the defending NFC South champions with just five wins and their playoffs hopes hanging by a thread, while the Falcons, who have lost just once this season, can officially clinch the division if Tampa Bay lose to Denver on Sunday.

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