Saints vs. Falcons: New Orleans Biggest Winners and Losers from Week 13

Jonathan Peralta@itsjperaltaContributor IIINovember 30, 2012

Saints vs. Falcons: New Orleans Biggest Winners and Losers from Week 13

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    Well, that was less than ideal. The New Orleans Saints, who were so close to accomplishing something remarkable, laid yet another egg on Thursday night against the Atlanta Falcons.

    The Atlanta Falcons took command of the game at the very beginning of the game, jumping to a 17-0 lead in the first half. Just for the third time in the Matt Ryan and Mike Smith era, the Falcons have beaten the Saints.

    A few unfavorable things happened for the Saints and their fans: they dropped to 5-7 and made their playoff picture a bit more bleak. With the Falcons win, the Falcons managed to move to the brink of winning a division championship. New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees ends touchdown streak at 54 games.

    Not a very good night for the Saints, or Drew Brees.

    With the type of night the Saints had, not much positive can be taken from this loss against the Falcons. Let's take a look at a few winners and losers from the Week 13 game against Atlanta.

Loser: Drew Brees

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    Five. That is the magic number. Not so magic for the Saints and Drew Brees, who had the worst game of his career.

    Drew Brees threw five interceptions and cost the New Orleans Saints the game and a chance to get closer to making the playoffs. Brees leads the league in interceptions with 16, five of them coming on Thursday night against the Atlanta Falcons.

    Brees had a nightmare of a game handing the Falcons the win, throwing five interceptions. He finished the game 28-of-50 for 328 yards with zero touchdowns, ending his touchdown pass streak and fading the Saints' hopes of making the playoffs.

Winner: Pierre Thomas

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    It was very important for the Saints to get their run game going, and they did, due to one running back. Pierre Thomas, had a great game, rushing 14 times for 84 yards, averaging six yards per carry. While the rest of the Saints' running backs had a quiet night, Thomas carried the unit. And it would've helped if it weren't for the costly turnovers.

    Pierre Thomas was motivated and ran the ball hard, running through and around tackles.

Loser: Saints' Defense in the First Half

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    For New Orleans, the first half of the game was a nightmare for both the offense and the defense. The defense was awful in the first half, immediately giving up 17 points to the Falcons and letting them run the ball down their throat, allowing them to dictate the pace of the game and controlling the clock.

    They clamped down in the second half and held the Falcons to no touchdowns, but the first half really hurt them. The defense also failed to keep tight end Tony Gonzalez out of the end zone.

Winner: Lance Moore

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    With the type of game the Saints played, it's tough to find any positives in the game for them. One, though, was wide receiver Lance Moore. He led the team in receptions and yards, making some big and key catches that kept Saints' drives alive.

    Lance Moore finished the game with seven receptions for 123 yards. He's having one of his best seasons so far. This year, in 12 games, Moore has 45 receptions for 699 yards and four touchdowns. Moore has been a key contributor to the Saints' offense.

Loser: Jimmy Graham

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    Jimmy Graham was supposed to be one of the keys to the Saints' success in Thursday night's game, but the Falcons did a good job of slowing him down.

    Graham finished the night with four receptions for 59 yards and no touchdowns. He committed a killer penalty (which really wasn't a penalty) when the Saints were driving and in position to score a touchdown before halftime, but the seven-yard touchdown play to Darren Sproles was negated after a offensive pass interference call on Graham.

    That was a back breaker and that drive resulted in zero points, as the Saints had questionable time management in that final drive of the half.