Sunday, January 1, 2017, the Falcons won in more ways than one.
The Atlanta Falcons defeated NFC South rival New Orleans Saints in a 38-32 shootout in Atlanta at the Georgia Dome in their final regular season game. They finished the regular season with 11-5 record. It didn’t start that way in the first half as the Falcons dominated the first half against their Bourbon Street rivals as they took 35-13 lead in the 1st Half. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, aka Matty Ice, continued making his underrated case for MVP as he finished with 331 yards, 4 TDs and 0 interceptions. It’s the 4th time this season that Ryan threw 4 touchdowns in one game. He finished the season with over 4,000 yards, 37 touchdowns and only 7 interceptions, the best regular season stats of his career.
All-pro wide receiver Julio Jones had 96 yards and a touchdown. The running back duo of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman finished with a total of 140 yards and a touchdown. Freeman eclipsed his last season yardage with 1,079 yards and finished with 11 touchdowns as he did last season. Also, Coleman had a pretty solid sophomore season as he improved by finishing with 520 yards and 8 touchdowns. He is starting to make a strong case to be Atlanta’s 2nd running back. The Falcons defense forced two turnovers off of the Saints, and kept the Saints offense in check for most of the game as they forced many three-and-outs.
But, despite being down big, the New Orleans Saints would not quit. They made a ferocious comeback in the 2nd half. Saints quarterback Drew Brees led a long drive that led to a Michael Thomas touchdown to cut the Falcons’ lead to 35-19, a 2-point conversation attempt by running back Mark Ingram was stopped by Atlanta’s defense. Thomas finished the season with 1,054 receiving yards, which is a new franchise record for a rookie wide receiver. He surpassed Marcus Colston, who had the rookie receiving record in 2006 with 1,038 yards.
Late in the 4th Quarter, Mark Ingram scored a 1-yard touchdown to cut the lead down to 38-25 as another 2-point conversion failed. Ingram finished with 1,000-plus yards, which broke a drought for team who didn’t have running back average 1,000-plus yards in a season. Brees led a late touchdown drive to get the Saints within 38-32. But, it was too much for the Saints to overcome and their rally fell short as the Saints finished the season with a 7-9 record. This is the 3rd straight year that the Saints have missed the postseason. Drew Brees also finished with a huge accomplishment in his career. He had his 5th career 5000-plus season, which hadn’t been accomplished by any quarterback. Previous quarterbacks only had four seasons of averaging 5,000-plus yards.
Meanwhile, the Falcons have clinched the 2nd seed in the NFC and a first-round bye. So, the Falcons will have a week of NFL Playoffs off. They won’t have to play until next weekend’s NFC Divisional Playoffs. They will either host the Seattle Seahawks, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers or New York Giants as they set to play their Wild Card games during Wild Card weekend, which kicks off Saturday.
For a complete list of NFL teams that offer custom NFL jerseys, take a look at http://recreationandsportsworld.com/custom-nfl-football-jerseys