Atlanta, GA – Head coaches are paid to make the big decisions in big games, and the one that Mike Smith made on Sunday cost Atlanta dearly.
Facing 4th-and-inches at the Atlanta 30 in overtime, Smith opted to go for the first down, but the Falcons offensive line got no push and Michael Turner was stuffed, giving New Orleans the ball already in long field goal range.
After reaching the Atlanta eight-yard line, John Kasay connected from 26 yards away to give New Orleans a 26-23 victory over its division rival in a battle for first place in the NFC South.
With the win, New Orleans heads into its bye week with two more victories than Atlanta (5-4), which had a three-game winning streak stopped.
Matt Ryan went 29-for-52 with 351 yards, two touchdowns and an interception for the Falcons, who will get another crack at New Orleans on December 26. Turner finished the game with 22 carries for 96 yards while Harry Douglas had eight catches for 133 yards.