Suddenly, the Saints' defense is so improved that Payton is 'comfortable' late with a lead (1 Viewer)


By Glenn Guilbeau, USA TODAY Network

NEW ORLEANS — The competition has been somewhat suspect as the New Orleans Saints' last three victims — Cincinnati (5-5), Philadelphia (4-6) and Atlanta (4-7) — do not appear to be playoff bound.

But this is still the Saints defense, which allowed 529 yards in a 48-40 loss to Tampa Bay in the season opener with 417 through the air by backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and 407 yards in a 43-37 overtime win at Atlanta on Sept. 23 with 359 of that by quarterback Matt Ryan.

Ryan still threw for 377 yards Thursday night against the Saints in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, but the Falcons managed just 26 net yards rushing and scored only two touchdowns in a 31-17 loss. And Atlanta is the No. 3 pass offense in the NFL with 316 yards a game and No. 7 in total offense at 400 yards a game.

"I told the team, that was the most challenged we've been over the last three years," Atlanta coach Dan Quinn said. "It can be frustrating and confusing for sure."

The Saints' defense has not held an opponent to so few rushing yards since a 24-6 win over Carolina in 2000. ...

Full Story - The Daily Advertiser
Andrus Whitewing

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