Grady Jarrett had 2.5 sacks in the 26-9 triumph Sunday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. Michael Thomas hauled in 13 catches for 152 yards in the loss. Wil Lutz made three field goals for the Saints.
"We just wanted to make the pass rush come alive," Jarrett told AtlantaFalcons.com. "It felt good to be able to get there with just three or four guys at a time.
"It felt good to be able to bring that to life."
The Falcons (2-7) took a 3-0 lead with a Younghoe Koo 37-yard field goal on the game's opening drive. Lutz answered with a 29-yard kick on the Saints' first drive. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan connected with Austin Hooper for an 8-yard score with 11:13 remaining in the second quarter, giving Atlanta a 10-3 edge. Koo connected on a 36-yard attempt before Lutz made a 47-yard kick, making the score 13-6 at the break.
Lutz made a 28-yard attempt on the Saints' second drive of the second half, before the Falcons increased their lead to 20-9 on a Ryan touchdown toss to Brian Hill in the fourth quarter.
Koo made two more field goals down the stretch and the Falcons held off the Saints (7-2) to earn their second win of the season.
"First thing I would say, give Atlanta credit," Saints coach Sean Payton told reporters. "They beat us well in all three areas. They played better than us. Pick a situation and there's a good chance they won that situation."
Saints quarterback Drew Brees completed 32 of 45 passes for 287 yards in the loss. Alvin Kamara had just 24 yards on four carries for the Saints. Julio Jones had a team-high 79 yards on three catches for the Falcons. Ryan completed 20 of 35 passes for 182 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
"I thought the line of scrimmage on both sides played with a lot of energy and a lot of discipline," Falcons coach Dan Quinn said. "I thought that was one of the real factors in this game.
"It was a good team win."
The Falcons face the Carolina Panthers in another NFC South contest at 1 p.m. EST Sunday at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. The Saints also have a division test when they travel to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 1 p.m. Sunday at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.