Steven Jackson powered over the line for his first touchdown with Atlanta and Drew Brees responded by leading a 15-play touchdown drive that left the New Orleans Saints tied with the Falcons 7-7 after the first quarter on Thursday night.
Jackson's 1-yard touchdown run capped his effective opening drive that gave the Falcons a 7-0 lead.
Jackson has struggled at times after missing four games and most of a fifth with a hamstring injury, but the 30-year-old former Rams standout finally ran for his first touchdown with the Falcons.
Jackson had five carries for 24 yards on the opening drive, including back-to-back 8-yard runs to start the possession.
Matt Ryan's 22-yard pass to Jacquizz Rodgers gave the Falcons a first down at the Saints 9. On second down from the 6, Ryan passed to Darius Johnson, who reached over the goal line for an apparent touchdown. Following a lengthy review, officials said Johnson's knee was down at the 1. Jackson took care of the final yard with his dive over the top.
The Saints answered by converting five third downs on a 15-play, 78-yard touchdown drive that ended with Brees' 1-yard scoring pass to tight end Ben Watson.
Brees set up the touchdown with his 12-yard pass to Marques Colston over the middle to the Atlanta 3.
Brees had 63 yards passing in the quarter to pass Warren Moon for fifth place on the career yards passing list.
New Orleans running back Darren Sproles, who missed practice on Tuesday and Wednesday with ankle and knee injuries, was held out. Sproles is third on the team in rushing and receiving and is the team's top return specialist.
Also inactive for New Orleans was starting right guard Jahri Evans (ankle).
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