Falcons Lock Up The Number Two Seed in NFC Playoffs
The Atlanta Falcons offense was rolling in the first half, scoring 35 points on their way to clinching a first round bye with their 38-32 victory over the New Orleans Saints.
The Falcons offense recorded 465 total yards, and became the first team to score on their first five offensive drives of a game since the 2014 Rams (Week 13 vs Raiders).
The team’s 35 points in the first half are tied for the most points scored in the first half in the Georgia Dome (9/18/14 vs. Tampa Bay). Atlanta scored 540 total points on the season, tying them with the 2000 St. Louis Rams for the eighth most points scored in a season.
QB Matt Ryan broke the franchise record for most passing yards in a season on an 18-yard pass play to Julio Jones in the second quarter. He finished the season with 4,944 passing yards, which is second in the NFL this year and 13th on the all-time single season list.
Ryan went 27-of-36 for 331 yards with four passing touchdowns – all in the first half – and a 139.9 passer rating. This is the second time in Ryan's career that he's thrown four touchdown passes in a half (Green Bay, 2014). This is his first time doing it in the first half of a game. Also, Ryan tied Tom Brady (2010 & 2011) and Steve Young (1994) for the second most games in a single season (11) with at least a 100 passer rating.
He finished the season with a 117.1 passer rating, which is the fifth highest mark in NFL history.
WR Mohamed Sanu caught a 10-yard pass from Ryan for his fourth touchdown reception of the season.
WR Justin Hardy recorded his career-high fourth receiving touchdown of the season on a seven-yard pass in the second quarter.
RB Devonta Freeman finished the game with 12 carries for 96 yards and one touchdown. Freeman crossed the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the second straight season on a season long 75-yard run in the first quarter. He is the first Falcon running back with back-to-back 1,000 yard rushing seasons since Michael Turner (2010-11). He’s the sixth running back to accomplish that feat in franchise history.
WR Julio Jones caught seven passes for 96 yards, along with his sixth receiving touchdown of the year. That touchdown was also his 40th of his career, which tied him with Alfred Jenkins for fourth all-time on the franchise list.
Jones finished the year with 1,409 receiving yards, which was second in the NFL this season.
The team is also 5-0 win Coleman and Freeman record 200+ yards.
RB Tevin Coleman scored his 11th total touchdown of the season – third receiving touchdown – on the opening drive of the game. Him and Freeman teamed up for 221 total yards on the day – third straight game. The two combined for 2,467 total yards and 24 total touchdowns on the season.
Through three quarters, the defense held Saints QB Drew Brees to 154 passing yards and a 77.1 passer rating. The defense also extended its sack streak to 15 straight games.
CB Jalen Collins recorded his career high second interception of the season.
OLB Vic Beasley Jr. recorded his 15.5 sack on the season. The second year player out of Clemson finished the season as the NFL’s sack leader and he was tied for first in forced fumbles (6).
According to Pro Football Reference, S Keanu Neal's fifth forced fumble was tied for the most by any rookie defensive back in NFL history. He finished the season with 105 total tackles, which was the second most by any rookie defender this season – teammate Deion Jones had 106.
He finished the season with 105 total tackles, which was the second most by any rookie defender this season – teammate Deion Jones had 106.