Deion Jones, defense keeps the Falcons in the playoff hunt


ATLANTA — A swarm of vivid crimson submerged Deion Jones as he held the ball tightly in spite of everything zone.

The Atlanta Falcons linebacker, decked out in his all-red colour rush uniform, gave the house crown an adrenaline rush within the ultimate moments of Thursday evening’s showdown with the New Orleans Saints.

Jones intercepted Drew Brees in spite of everything zone, capping a stellar defensive effort towards a potent Saints offense in what undoubtedly was once the largest Falcons’ victory of the season, a 20-17 triumph over their greatest rival and the NFC South leaders.

Now Eight-Five, the Falcons can proceed the playoff dialog. In keeping with ESPN’s Soccer Energy Index, the Falcons’ possibilities to make the postseason greater from 36 p.c to 52 p.c with the win. Had they misplaced, the ones possibilities would have dropped to 19 p.c.

Maximum figured the offense will be the one guiding the Falcons to victory, if anything else. However reigning MVP Matt Ryan struggled depressing with 3 interception, two of them which looked to be only on him. Consequences had been an element once more on offense. And there was once a questionable declined penalty overdue via Falcons trainer Dan Quinn that allowed the Saints to transform a fourth-and-1 and stay their probably game-winning pressure.

Then Jones, the New Orleans local who grew up rooting for the Saints, stepped in and stole the display. Actually.

It was once Brees’ first red-zone interception of the season and simply the Falcons’ fourth interception of the season. Jones recorded his 2nd interception to tie Desmond Trufant for the group lead. And the Falcons restricted the Saints to a few of 10 on 1/3 down, a part of the explanation a group that got here into the sport scoring 29.four issues consistent with sport simplest controlled 17.

Give defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel credit score for dialing up power on the proper time. Each Dontari Poe and Adrian Clayborn had key third-down sacks to foil Saints’ ownership.

True, the Falcons benefited on offense from a slew of consequences via the Saints that led to first downs. Regardless of how they were given it carried out, it was once crucial victory. Touchdowns via Devonta Freeman and Mohamed Sanu, at the side of box objectives via Matt Bryant — who reached 1,000-career issues — helped secured the win.

Now the Falcons, nonetheless 7th within the playoff image proper in the back of Carolina, must construct off the win, regardless of how unsightly it was once. They’ve consecutive street video games towards Tampa Bay and at New Orleans prior to completing the season at house towards Carolina. The postseason is inside of succeed in, if the Falcons take care of their industry.

The truth that Jones and protection is stepping up the proper time is a favorable signal that would lead proper to a postseason berth.

Regardless of 3 interceptions via Matt Ryan — two of which appeared to be only on him — the Falcons discovered a technique to end towards the rival Saints and ensure their season wasn’t completed moderately.

Defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel’s protection got here up with some key stops towards Drew Brees and a potent Saints’ offense that averaged 29.four issues consistent with sport entering Thursday evening. The ones stops gave Ryan and



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