Instead of potentially vying for first place in the NFC South, the Falcons ended Monday night on one of their lowest notes of the season. They were stomped by the Saints in a 45-16 loss at the Superdome, a game that completely got away from Atlanta after the opening quarter.
The Falcons led 10-7 heading into the second quarter but found themselves down 21-10 at the half. There were several chances to pull closer to New Orleans throughout the game, but ultimately the Falcons were no match for the division leader.
Matt Ryan finished with 373 yards, a touchdown and no turnovers, but he couldn't quite fuel his team past its struggles as the game progressed. Michael Turner only had 11 carries total, which seemed to put a lot of pressure on the passing game.
The Falcons are still going to make the playoffs, but this isn't exactly the way they wanted to close out the season. Tampa Bay will be their final opponent, which is fortunate for Atlanta as the wheels have really come off the Bucs in the second half of 2011.
We'll see if Atlanta can figure out their problems when the head into the postseason, but for now, what did we learn this week?