Halftime report: Saints 14, Falcons 13

November, 21, 2013
11/21/13
10:20
PM ET
ATLANTA -- The New Orleans Saints lead the Atlanta Falcons 14-13 at halftime. Here are a few thoughts on the action so far:

Over the Moon: Saints quarterback Drew Brees has been solid, completing 14 of 19 passes for 156 yards and two touchdowns -- including a 44-yard bomb to Jimmy Graham (Graham burned safety William Moore with a double move). In the process, Brees passed Warren Moon for fifth place on the NFL's all-time passing yardage list. He now has 49,444 yards in his 13-year career.

Falcons' fast start: The Falcons definitely got off to the quicker and more physical start on both sides of the ball. Their defense stuffed the Saints' first two run plays on a three-and-out. Then they put together a 10-play, 76-yard touchdown drive, with a heavy dose of power runner Steven Jackson, for a 7-0 lead. New Orleans settled in after that, but they still allowed two long Falcons field goal drives before finally forcing a punt late in the second quarter.

Picking on White: The Falcons have clearly been targeting new Saints starting cornerback Corey White -- usually firing slant passes to receiver Darius Johnson. Johnson has five catches for 65 yards (one that ended inches short of a touchdown). White also got flagged for a 31-yard pass interference penalty. ... So far, he's kept everything in front of him, though. And more prominent Falcons threats Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez have combined for just two catches for 25 yards.

Hicks dodges penalty: Just four days after the Saints benefitted from a controversial penalty on a quarterback hit, they benefited from a no-call on a similar play. Saints defensive end Akiem Hicks clearly swiped Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan in the face during a sack that looked an awful lot like San Francisco 49ers linebacker Ahmad Brooks' clothesline hit against Brees last week. But the officials missed it. (Chances are, Hicks will still be fined, though.) ... Later in the half, Falcons offensive tackle Jeremy Trueblood then drew his own 15-yard penalty for swinging at Hicks' face after a play.

Mike Triplett

ESPN New Orleans Saints reporter

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