Saints: Thumbs up, thumbs down

Thumbs up

The Saints defense: Admit it, the thought of the Saints defense holding a lead to beat the Falcons before Sunday's game was the punchline in a joke. Instead, the boys came through on Atlanta's last possession. If the defense plays like this, 10 to 12 wins this season is a reality.

Marques Colston: The Saints’ all-time receptions leader was drafted in the seventh round. It's a credit to a tough guy with hands of glue who is a class act on and off the field. He could be the best clutch receiver in team history.

Drew Brees: Brees completed 26 of 35 passes for 357 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He was cool, calm, collected and accurate. What else could you expect from the future Hall of Famer?

Thumbs down

Saints pass defense: Despite the heroics of the last drive, the Saints allowed Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan to complete 25 of 38 passes for 304 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. The Falcons also had instances when players were too wide open in the middle of the field.

Saints rush offense: The Saints had 29 carries for 78 yards for an average 2.7 yards per rush. That won't get it done against most teams in the NFL. There is no doubt Sean Payton will bring this up to the team's offensive line this week.

Saints’ missed opportunities: What the Falcons defense did most of the game, especially in the second half, was damage control, keeping the Saints from scoring that clinching TD, thwarting too many decent Saints drives. They have to do better.

Pierce W. Huff