ATLANTA – The New Orleans Saints punched their ticket to the playoffs after completing the season sweep of the arch-rival Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, Dec. 6 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
With the 21-16 win, and a Chicago Bears loss to the Detroit Lions, New Orleans has earned a trip to the postseason for the fourth-consecutive season.
The Saints earned the victory behind a balanced offensive attack led by quarterback Taysom Hill. Hill threw the first two touchdown passes of his NFL career, connecting with Tre’Quan Smith on a 15-yard touchdown pass, and tight end Jared Cook with an 11-yard scoring strike in the NFC South rivalry game. Hill also rushed for 83 yards on 14 carries.
Saints star wideout Michael Thomas hauled in nine receptions for 105 yards. With his seventh catch, Thomas recorded his 500th career reception. Thomas, who played in his 69th career game, became the quickest player to reach 500 career receptions, surpassing Anquan Boldin and Julio Jones, each of who did so in 80 games. Thomas now has 21 100-yard receiving games in his career.
Running back Alvin Kamara carried the ball 15 times for 88 yards and one score.
The Saints sacked Falcons’ quarterback Matt Ryan three times, including a sack each for Carl Granderson, David Onyemata and Trey Hendrickson. Hendrickson entered Sunday ranked third in the NFL in sacks. He has 10.5 sacks on the season.
New Orleans’ defense sealed the win twice, once on a fourth-and-9 stop in the red zone with 1:36 remaining and then by breaking up a Hail Mary pass in the end zone as time expired.
The Saints (10-2), who won their ninth consecutive game, travel to Philadelphia to face the Eagles next Sunday at 3:25 p.m. on Fox.