New Orleans briefly interrupted Atlanta’s momentum when Graham’s 46-yard catch set up Garrett Hartley’s 31-yard field goal.
Atlanta opened the game with an 80-yard scoring drive, highlighted by White’s 49-yard reception to the New Orleans 1, setting up an easy TD toss to eligible offensive tackle Mike Johnson.
Samuel then made a diving interception of Brees’ first pass and returned it to the Saints 12. However, Samuel drew a penalty for taunting fans, moving the Falcons back to the 27 and Bryant kicked a field goal.
New Orleans vaulted into the lead with touchdowns on two straight possessions, the first on Ivory’s long run and the second on Brees’ first TD connection with Graham from 29 yards.
The Falcons pulled back in front on Gonzalez’s 1-yard catch, capping a drive on which Atlanta converted three times on third down — all on Gonzalez catches.
Then Graham helped New Orleans regain the lead before halftime, making three catches for 47 yards, the last a 14-yard TD to make it 21-17 at halftime.
Notes: Ivory’s 56-yard run was the longest from scrimmage by a Saint since Oct. 8, 2006, when McAllister ran 57 yards vs. Tampa Bay. ... Ivory’s previous career-long run was a 55-yard score at Cincinnati in 2010. ... Brees has now passed for touchdowns in 52 straight games, extending an NFL record he set earlier this season. ... Julio Jones missed much of the first half after an undisclosed leg injury, but returned in the second half. ... Gonzalez now has 101 career TDs, one of only eight players ever with 100 or more. ... All 55 of Colston’s TD passes were thrown by Brees, tying the tandem for ninth with Joe Montana and Jerry Rice with San Francisco and Dan Marino and Mark Duper with Miami. ... The performances by Graham and Gonzalez marked the first time in NFL history two tight ends had at least 120 yards receiving and two TD catches in the same game.
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