As the next period began, the Saints retained possession. Their drive stalled out at the Falcons 34-yard line, prompting their special-teams unit to take the field once again. This time, Grupe successfully connected from 52 yards out.
Rather than the Falcons defense responding to the Saints’ added points, it was the offense that stepped up. Atlanta put together a 10-play, 78-yard drive culminating in a 10-yard touchdown run by running back Bijan Robinson. Ridder contributed with two crucial scrambles of 15 and 12 yards that helped move the Falcons down the field.
(Fun fact: That was Robinson’s third rushing touchdown of the season.)
When the Saints entered Falcons territory again, they couldn’t find the end zone. A holding penalty, an 11-yard completion, and back-to-back incomplete passes led to fourth-and-9 at the Atlanta 23-yard line. Grupe then added a 41-yard field goal to the score.
The Falcons had the final possession of the first half, mustering 12 plays and 65 yards. They made it all the way to the Saints’ 10-yard line, only for Ridder to be intercepted by Saints safety Tyrann Mathieu at the 1-yard line. A scuffle ensued on the field, with unnecessary roughness penalties on Falcons tight end Jonnu Smith and Saints defensive lineman Khalen Saunders nullifying each other.
Unfortunately for the Saints, there wasn’t enough time on the clock to capitalize on the turnover.
Saints: Blake Grupe 52-yard field goal … 7-6, ATL
Falcons: Bijan Robinson 10-yard run; Younghoe Koo PAT … 14-6, ATL
Saints: Blake Grupe 41-yard field goal … 14-9, ATL
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