NEW ORLEANS -- Don't look now, but the Atlanta Falcons are posting some scary offensive numbers.
Through three games, the 2-1 Falcons lead the NFL in yards per game (448.0), yards per play (7.04), passing yards per game (323.3) and passing yards per play (9.4).
Atlanta also is averaging 34.7 points per game, second best in the league.
Quarterback Matt Ryan says the offensive efficiency is due in part to the performance of the 50-50 backfield tandem of Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman. The pair combined for 194 yards rushing, 102 yards receiving and four touchdowns against the Saints.
"They're both so talented," Ryan said. "They run the ball extremely well, but then they're catching the ball out of the backfield. They've got to be as good a tandem as there is."
Ryan connected with eight receivers, and All-Pro wide receiver Julio Jones only caught one pass (for 16 yards) despite being targeted seven times.
Atlanta coach Dan Quinn said he was thrilled with the way the Falcons pounded the Saints on the ground.
"We knew it was going to be a good line-of-scrimmage game," Quinn said. "It really starts up front with the communication. We wanted to really be aggressive and keep attacking. The team did a very nice job of mixing the run and the pass, knowing there were going to be certain things there for us."
The Falcons gambled twice on fourth down and converted both attempts.
"I was pleased with our ability to keep converting," Quinn said.
--Falcons rookie linebacker Deion Jones, a native of New Orleans whose grandmother rode out Hurricane Katrina in the Superdome, had a special message on his cleats related to the markings first responders posted on houses after they searched for survivors.
"That was very personal to him about growing up here and what happened 10 years ago," Quinn said.
--Saints punt returner Tommylee Lewis, who got slammed by his own teammate on a fair catch attempt, resulting in a muff, said he didn't know what happened. "It was like a flash," Lewis said. "I didn't realize (teammate De'Vante Harris) was that close. It was just a bang-bang play."
--Saints quarterback Drew Brees said his team has to own its 0-3 start.
"It's about accountability," Brees said. "Veteran guys need to have it and young guys need to have it. The bottom line is there is no magic offensive play or defensive scheme. It's about each guy doing what he's supposed to do."