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Falcons, last unbeaten team, fall to Saints
One yard. One loss. In a game of inches, the Falcons couldn't shove the Saints around for one measly yard at a critical juncture Sunday...
NEW ORLEANS — One yard. One loss.
In a game of inches, the Falcons couldn't shove the Saints around for one measly yard at a critical juncture Sunday and went down in a dramatic 31-27 defeat to the New Orleans Saints.
"We just came up short," quarterback Matt Ryan said.
Atlanta was the NFL's last unbeaten team, so the 1972 Miami Dolphins are free to uncork their champagne bottles as the last team to complete an undefeated season.
Ryan had the Falcons positioned to take the lead with under two minutes to play after driving the team from its 20-yard line to the New Orleans' 1.
On second-and-goal from the 1, Ryan's pass for tight end Tony Gonzalez, who had a superb game (11 catches for 122 yards and two scores), was batted down by Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins.
On third-and-goal, running back Michael Turner was stuffed for a yard loss.
On fourth-and-goal from the 2, Saints cornerback Jabari Greer batted down a pass intended for wide receiver Roddy White.
"It's very frustrating," said Falcons coach Mike Smith, who is 2-7 against the Saints and 49-15 against the rest of the NFL as Atlanta coach. "We were close."
If the Falcons (8-1) want to beat the Saints (4-5) in their rematch in Atlanta on Nov. 29, it would help to learn how to stop tight end Jimmy Graham, who caught seven passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns.
"It's not like they came out here and won a game today," White said. "I think we kind of gave it to them. ... We play them in three weeks and we'll be ready."
First tie in 4 years
SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco and St. Louis played the NFL's first tie game in four years as both teams missed overtime field goals in a 24-24 deadlock.
Greg Zuerlein kicked a 53-yarder, but the Rams were penalized 5 yards for delay of game. Zuerlein tried again from 58 but missed wide right with 2:42 left in OT.
San Francisco's David Akers missed wide left on a 41-yard attempt that could have sealed it for the 49ers (6-2-1).
Akers booted a tying 33-yarder with three seconds left in regulation after Sam Bradford threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Austin Pettis with 1:09 left for St. Louis (3-5-1).
Quarterbacks suffer concussions
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick left the game against Dallas with a concussion after he was drilled on a hit in the second quarter.
San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith was knocked out of the 49ers' game against the Rams with a concussion in the first quarter after several hits took their toll.
Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler took a helmet-to-helmet hit from Tim Dobbins after unleashing a pass late in the first half against the Houston Texans and missed the second half with a concussion.
The status of the players for next week is unknown.