Report card: Saints 23, Falcons 13

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan discusses the loss to the Saints and the poor play by the offense. Video by D. Orlando Ledbetter

The Falcons blew a chance to wrap up a playoff berth as they were defeated 23-13 by the Saints on Sunday.

Here are the grades for the game:

Run offense: Devonta Freeman rushed 11 times for 36 yards and Tevin Coleman rushed six times for 12 yards. The Falcons never seem to recognize that the Saints linebackers were jumping into the A gap. On the first drive of the game, Saints linebacker Manti Te'o slipped inside of right guard Wes Schweitzer and dropped Coleman for a 4-yard loss to turn a second-and-8 into a third-and-12. Grade: F

Pass offense: Julio Jones caught 7 of 11 targets for 149 yards. But why was he out of the game late in the second quarter? Marvin Hall was in and had a ball clank off his hands that Marshon Lattimore interception off his butt. The "Butt Pick" was turned into a 54-yard touchdown by the Saints. Matt Ryan completed 22 of 36 passes for 288 yards and one late touchdown. He finished with a passer rating of 84 points. The offense looked disjointed at times. The penalties certainly didn't help. Ben Garland may have been hurt by sharing time in practice with Andy Levitre, who didn't play as he was declared inactive with a torn triceps. Garland needed all of the reps. He had his lowest graded game of the season at 37.4 by profootballfocus.com. He allowed five pressures in pass protection and was beaten by four different Saints. Grade: C-minus 

Run defense: Mark Ingram rushed 13 times for 44 yards and one touchdown. He was bottled up for most of the day. Most of his yards came on a 26-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Alvin Kamara rushed 12 times for 32 yards. Overall, the Saints had 31 carries for 86 yards for a paltry 2.8 yards per carry. Grade: A

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.)

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