The Atlanta Falcons entered their game with the New Orleans Saints on Sunday with a score to settle and an axe to grind. In a season where the entire Atlanta organization is out to prove that it belongs in the elite class, step one of that was to beat the Saints, a team that had dominated the Falcons, winning 11 out of their last 13 meetings.
The Falcons came up short on Sunday, losing 31-27, and the frustration of the loss was evident from some of the post-game comments made by Atlanta players.
"It's not like they came out here and won a game," said Falcons receiver Roddy White, who finished Sunday's game with seven catches for 114 yards.
"I think we kind of gave it to them.”
White's comments were just the tip of the iceberg when it came to the Falcons talking big. During pregame warmups, Falcons players were reportedly taunting former Atlanta linebacker Curtis Lofton, who signed with the Saints during the offseason.
"They were talking (expletive) to our guy Curtis Lofton," Saints linebacker Scott Shanle told Yahoo! Sports. "I couldn't even understand them. They were just walking all over our drills trying to mess with him. (Jonathan) Vilma went and told their coach it was classless, and they didn't even say anything. It set the tone for the day. It was classless, and they got what they deserved."
Though they had their chances to win in the final minutes, the Falcons were unable to punch in the winning score, much like Atlanta hasn't been able to knock off the monkey on their back that the Saints represent. That inability is something that New Orleans isn't shy in bringing up.
"Everybody was ready to let Atlanta know we still own them despite how our year has gone," Shanle said. "It was awesome, man. They thought we were supposed to be scared of them. We're now 11-2 since we got here in '06 against them.
"They're like our little brothers. Deep down they know they can't mess with us even when we are having a down year."
With the loss, the Falcons drop to 8-1 while the Saints improve to 4-5. New Orleans has went 4-1 after dropping their first four games and are looking more and more like a potential playoff team each week.
James LeBeau is a sports contributor for CraveOnline Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @JleBeau76 or subscribe on Facebook.com/CraveOnlineSports.
Photo Credit: Getty