NEW ORLEANS – It should have been a routine chip shot for Saints playoff hero Garrett Hartley, a 29-yard field goal in overtime to keep New Orleans unbeaten.
Somehow, the same kicker who set a Super Bowl record with three field goals longer than 40 yards hooked it wide left from the right hash mark. Minutes later, the Falcons stormed the Superdome field in celebration when Matt Bryant drilled a 46-yard field goal with 1:55 left in the extra period to lift the Atlanta Falcons to a 27-24 victory Sunday.
“I missed basically an extra point,” Hartley said. “It was clearly my mistake. … It’s the highs and lows of being a kicker.”
Atlanta would have won in regulation if not for Hartley’s tying 32-yard field goal with 4 seconds left in regulation.
The Falcons won the coin toss and received to start overtime, but the Saints held, setting the stage for reigning Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees to lead New Orleans to another dramatic win.
Brees drove the Saints to the Atlanta 11-yard line. Then Hartley hooked an ugly kick to the left for his third miss this season.
“I was absolutely stunned,” Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez said. “I thought for sure the game was over.”
Matt Ryan passed for 228 yards and touchdowns of 13 yards to Gonzalez and 22 yards to Roddy White to give the Falcons (2-1) their second straight win. Michael Turner added 30 carries for 114 yards and a 1-yard TD plunge.
Gonzalez wound up being Ryan’s top target with eight catches for 110 yards.
Lance Moore had a pair of TD catches for New Orleans (2-1), including a career-long 80-yarder. He finished with six catches for 149 yards and also had a career-long 72-yard punt return to set up Jeremy Shockey’s short TD catch on New Orleans’ first drive.
NO—Shockey 2 pass from Brees (Hartley kick)
Atl—Gonzalez 13 pass from Ryan (Bryant kick)
NO—Moore 80 pass from Brees (Hartley kick)
Atl—Turner 1 run (Bryant kick)
Atl—FG Bryant 23
NO—Moore 16 pass from Brees (Hartley kick)
Atl—White 22 pass from Ryan (Bryant kick)
NO—FG Hartley 32
Atl—FG Bryant 46
|Total Net Yards||417||398|
|Time of Poss||45:50||27:15|
RUSHING—Atlanta, Turner 30-114, Snelling 14-62, Ryan 6-26. New Orleans, P.Thomas 9-30, Ivory 7-13.
PASSING—Atlanta, Ryan 19-30-0-228. New Orleans, Brees 30-38-2-365.
RECEIVING—Atlanta, Gonzalez 8-110, White 5-69, Mughelli 2-29, Turner 2-11, Snelling 1-8, Douglas 1-1. New Orleans, Shockey 8-78, Moore 6-149, P.Thomas 6-61, Colston 4-25, D.Thomas 3-24, Henderson 2-23, Meachem 1-5.
MISSED FIELD GOALS—New Orleans, Hartley 29 (WL).