Pass defense: Desmond Trufant was beaten by the speedy Ted Ginn Jr. for a 54-yard touchdown in final minute before the half. It didn't appear that he was supposed to have safety help over the top. Trufant allowed a season-high 84 yards in coverage, the 54-yarder and two 29-yarders to Michael Thomas. It was his lowest graded game of the season (38.9) by profootballfocus.com. Linebacker Deion Jones returned an interception 41-yards in the third quarter. Jones and safety Keanu Neal led the Falcons with 10 tackles each. Courtney Upshaw had the lone sack. He also had a quarterback hit. Adrian Clayborn had a quarterback hit. Grade: B
Special teams: The special teams units did a much better job on Saints returner Tommylee Lewis on four punt returns. Kamara broke loose for a 49-yard kickoff return. Grade: B
Coaching: The defense played well enough to win. The offense stumbled about. The Falcons showed a lack of poise and picked up some ridiculous penalties. As the penalties started the mount, the team started to make physical mistakes trying to climb out of a 13-0 hole. There was Hall's drop, Freeman's fumble and the offensive line's inability to put it from the 1 on two occasions. The offense was not ready to play in a big game. Grade: B
Next up: The Falcons (9-6) play the Carolina Panthers (11-4) on Sunday at 4:25 p.m. at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
(NOTE: GAME TIME was changed by the NFL on Sunday night.)