NEW ORLEANS—Falcons head coach Mike Smith gambled, and the gamble came up snake eyes.
On 4th and inches on his own 29 yard line in overtime, Smith called time out. Instead of punting, he chose a handoff to Michael Turner. Turner was hit for a loss by a penetrating Saints defense.
John Kasay then kicked a 26 yard field goal to give the Saints a 26-23 win. The victory gave the Saints, 7-3, a two game lead over Atlanta in the NFC South.
The game winning field goal was set up by a reversal of a Falcons first down on replay. On third and 1 from the Atlanta 29, Matt Ryan hit fullback Mike Cox who appeared to stretch the ball to the 30 yard line. But on replay, the ball was spotted inches short of the 30 yard line.
Mike Smith then rolled the dice. Said Smith, "I know it will be scrutinized all week long. I want everybody to know, I take full responsibility."
The Saints trailed 13-10 in the third, when Drew Brees hooked up with Robert Meachem on a 33 yard touchdown pass. Brees was 30 of 42 for 322 yards and two TD passes, other to Marques Colston.
Atlanta, trailing 23-13 in the fourth, tied the game on the final play of regulation on a 27 yard field goal by Matt Bryant.
The Saints won despite rushing for only 41 yards.
The Saints have a bye next. They host the Giants on Monday night November 28th at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.