Atlanta Falcons defensive end Ray Edwards reflects in the corner of the end zone before his then-undefeated team took on the New Orleans Saints in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
"This was a big win for our football team today."
Those were the words of New Orleans Saints assistant coach Joe Vitt after his team upset the previously undefeated Atlanta Falcons in front of a Mercedes-Benz Superdome crowd on Nov. 12, 2012.
The resurgent Saints held on for a 31-27 win over their NFC South rivals.
The Saintsations dance team wore camo in honor of Veterans Day.
Whenever the Saints and the Falcons meet, fans can expect a spirited game.
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan
Both the Falcons and the Saints have premier quarterbacks in Matt Ryan and Drew Brees, respectively.
Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez congratulates tackle Mike Johnson on a touchdown reception.
The Falcons jumped out to an early lead, and seemed poised to run away with an easy win in the Big Easy. Ryan found tackle-eligible Mike Johnson wide open on a touchdown pass to the left side, sparking the Falcons to a quick lead that quieted the fleur-de-lis faithful.
New Orleans Saints running back Chris Ivory dashes past Atlanta Falcons cornerback Asante Samuel on a 56-yard touchdown run.
The Saints answered back with a play that proved to the Falcons that they would have to earn their coveted 9-0 record. Running back Chris Ivory ripped off a career-long 56-yard run when he blasted past Asante Samuel, slipped a tackle, tight-roped his balance, cut back across field, then delivered an authoritative stiff-arm to Dunta Robinson as he jubilantly cruised into the end zone.
New Orleans Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan loses his helmet but still makes the tackle on Atlanta Falcons running back Michael Turner.
Ultimately, the Saints defense stepped up and closed out the win for the Saints by holding out the Falcons on a late goal line stand.
"We made plays when we had to make plays defensively," Vitt said following the game.
Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez dunks the ball over the goal post after catching a touchdown pass.
Just as the game matched two of the top quarterbacks in the NFL, it also showcased the cream-of-the-crop tight ends in veteran Tony Gonzalez and youthful sensation Jimmy Graham. Both have their similarities in that they came from basketball backgrounds before they starred on the football field.
Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith
The Saints have had the Falcons' number lately. Falcons coach Mike Smith is 2-7 against the Saints and 49-15 against the rest of the NFL in his four-plus regular seasons as Atlanta coach. Falcons wide receiver Roddy White said, according to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, had this to say: "We just gave it to them. It wasn't nothing they did. It was what we did in not cashing in on opportunities. We play them against in three weeks and we'll be ready. It will be at the Dome and hopefully we'll beat them that time."
Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank on the sidelines
Arthur Blank, owner of the Atlanta Falcons, watched his team suffer the first loss of the 2012 NFL season. Meanwhile, Saints fans enjoyed a return to the winning ways they had seen over the last few seasons, which ultimately led to the team's Super Bowl victory in 2009.
After a rough start to the season, the Saints are looking to even their record when they travel to take on the Oakland Raiders.
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Michael Tortorich Photography is based in south Louisiana.