ATLANTA (AP) - Drew Brees threw a pair of touchdown passes and the New Orleans Saints overcame a lackluster offensive showing, holding off the Atlanta Falcons 17-13 Thursday night.
Brees hooked up with Jimmy Graham on a 44-yard touchdown and Benjamin Watson on a 1-yard scoring play, both in the first half and good enough to give the first-place Saints (9-2) a sweep of the season series with their NFC South rivals.
Atlanta (2-9) dropped its fifth straight game, ensured its first losing season since 2007 and was officially eliminated from the division race with five weeks remaining.
The Falcons had a chance to pull off the upset, driving to the Saints 29 with less than 3 minutes to go. But New Orleans turned up the pressure on Matt Ryan, Atlanta missed a long field goal, and the Saints ran off all but the last 5 seconds.
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