ATLANTA — The New Orleans Saints climbed back from the dead with a fourth quarter rally that defied logic and explanation in defeating the Atlanta Falcons 27-26 Sunday in Atlanta.
"I hope they aren't all like this," said head coach Dennis Allen after the game. "I told them to have a tough skin tomorrow. We aren't going to win a lot of games playing the way we did today."
Allen was referring, obviously, to the first three quarters when the team couldn't manage much offense at all and had a hard time stopping the Falcons and quarterback Marcus Mariota.
Jameis Winston, who struggled behind a porous offensive line for the first three-plus quarters all of a sudden let loose in the remaining 12 minutes to rally the team to the improbable victory.
Wil Lutz hit a 51-yard field goal with just over 20 seconds to go and then the Saints blocked a field goal try by the Falcons with no time remaining to capture the win.
"This was a God win," said Saints linebacker Demario Davis. According to ESPN, Atlanta had a 96.7 percent chance to win the game prior to the Saints rally.
Winston staged an absolute clinic in the fourth quarter leading 75, 86 and 47 yard scoring drives in the final 12 minutes. He hit on 13 of 15 passes for 213 yards and two touchdowns. One of the incompletions was an ill-advised spike.
Jarvis Landry had 7 receptions for 114 yards, including a huge 40-yard pass to start the team's game-winning field goal drive. Michael Thomas had 5 receptions for 57 yards and two touchdowns - his first since late 2019. It came after a very slow start that saw him without a catch for most of the first three quarters.
"That's not my standard," he said. "A little rusty. I still have more work to do."
One negative note, running back Alvin Kamara left the field in the fourth quarter and went into the locker room. There was no immediate word on the extent of his injury.