The Saints continue to find a way against their archrivals.
Rookie safety Kenny Vaccaro tipped a fourth down pass that was intercepted in the endzone by Roman Harper as the Saints held off the Falcons 23-17 in the regular season opener for both teams.
Vaccaro tipped the pass intended for Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez on fourth and goal at the three with under one minute to play.
The Saints beat Atlanta for the 7th time in the last 9 tries.
Vaccaro said the play was “the biggest of my life.”
“In a situation like that, a rookie in his first NFL game. At home, division rival, my biggest play,” said Vaccaro.
Atlanta jumped to a 10-0 nothing first quarter lead. Quarterback Matt Ryan threw a 7 yard touchdown pass to tight end Tony Gonzalez. On the next series, the Saints went it for on fourth and one from their own 47. Mark Ingram was stopped for a one yard loss. Atlanta’s Matt Bryant then kicked a 23 yard field goal.
The Falcons had 123 yards in the first quarter, but only 244 the remainder of the game.
The Saints answered with 13 second quarter points. Drew Brees threw a 25 yard touchdown pass to Marques Colston to give tie the game at 10. The reception was Colston’s 533rd, a new franchise record.
The Saints took a 20-17 lead in the third quarter on a 7 yard Drew Brees touchdown pass to tight end Jimmy Graham.
The Saints play at Tampa Bay Sunday.