Fal­cons move up in NFC West by beat­ing Saints

Late At­lanta pick­off se­cures vic­tory

The Buffalo News - - NFL - NEWS WIRE SER­VICES

AT­LANTA – The de­fend­ing cham­pion At­lanta Fal­cons showed Thurs­day night that they aren’t ready to con­cede the NFC South ti­tle just yet.

Line­backer Deion Jones in­ter­cepted a Drew Brees pass in the end zone with less than two min­utes re­main­ing to pre­serve a 20-17 vic­tory over the New Or­leans Saints.

Matt Bryant pro­vided the win­ning mar­gin on a 52-yard field goal with just un­der four min­utes as the Fal­cons (8-5) moved within a game of the Saints (9-4).

Af­ter Jones’ in­ter­cep­tion, the Fal­cons were able to run out the clock with the help of an un­sports­man­like con­duct penalty on Saints coach Sean Pay­ton.

The Fal­cons won de­spite three in­ter­cep­tions by Matt Ryan, who fin­ished 15 of 27 for 227 yards and a touch­down.

Brees com­pleted 26 of 35 passes for 271 yards and two touch­downs, but threw the costly in­ter­cep­tion.

Brees had to carry more of the load for the Saints af­ter ver­sa­tile rookie run­ning back Alvin Ka­mara suf­fered a con­cus­sion on the game’s first se­ries.

The Fal­cons forced a tie with just un­der 10 min­utes left on an 8-yard pass from Ryan to Mo­hamed Sanu that capped a drive of 69 yards tak­ing more than seven min­utes.

Ryan, who was picked off by Marshon Lat­ti­more at the end of the first half, had his first pass of the sec­ond half in­ter­cepted by Chris Banjo and the Saints cashed the turnover in on a 1-yard scor­ing pass from Brees to Michael Thomas.

Then Ryan was picked off for the third time in four throws when Mar­cus Wil­liams grabbed a pass that shouldn’t have been thrown in the end zone with Julio Jones well cov­ered.

Dorsey new Browns GM

The Cleveland Browns shook up their front of­fice on Thurs­day, first fir­ing ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent/gen­eral man­ager Sashi Brown, then hir­ing John Dorsey as the new GM.

Dorsey be­comes the ninth gen­eral man­ager since the club was res­ur­rected in 1999. The Browns, how­ever, said they would keep Hue Jack­son as their coach for the 2018 sea­son.

Win­less thus far this sea­son, the Browns owned a 1-27 mark un­der the watch of Brown, who was hired to run the front of­fice on Jan. 3, 2016.

Dorsey was fired by the Chiefs in June af­ter a four-sea­son run as gen­eral man­ager. He pre­vi­ously worked in the front of­fices of the Green Bay Pack­ers and the Seat­tle Sea­hawks.

Shazier has surgery

Pitts­burgh Steel­ers line­backer Ryan Shazier un­der­went spinal sta­bi­liza­tion surgery Wed­nes­day night on the heels of the in­jury he sus­tained ear­lier in the week, the team an­nounced Thurs­day.

The team ini­tially said that Shazier, 25, would not re­quire surgery.

The Steel­ers have not re­leased any in­for­ma­tion about whether Shazier has any move­ment in his legs, or whether he is ex­pected to make a re­cov­ery.

Shazier was trans­ferred from Univer­sity of Cincinnati Med­i­cal Cen­ter to Pitts­burgh Wed­nes­day.

Moon de­nies ha­rass­ment

NFL Hall of Fame quar­ter­back War­ren Moon de­nied sex­ual ha­rass­ment claims made against him in a law­suit by a Cal­i­for­nia woman who worked at the sports mar­ket­ing agency he led, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment re­leased by a lawyer rep­re­sent­ing him.

The law­suit, filed Mon­day in Cal­i­for­nia by Moon’s ex­ec­u­tive as­sis­tant at Sports 1 Mar­ket­ing, al­leged that Moon re­quired the plain­tiff, Wendy Haskell, to wear thong un­der­wear and sleep in his bed on work trips, among other ac­cu­sa­tions.

“War­ren Moon has yet to be served with the law­suit filed by Wendy Haskell, but he is aware of the claims con­tained in it,” at­tor­ney David Fears said in a state­ment.

“Mr. Moon de­nies the claims by Ms. Haskell. Mr. Moon con­tends these claims are mer­it­less, and he has ev­ery in­ten­tion to vig­or­ously de­fend him­self in court.”

Getty Im­ages

Fal­cons re­ceiver Julio Jones breaks the tackle of the Saints’ Vonn Bell in the first quar­ter. The Fal­cons posted a 20-17 vic­tory.

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