NEW ORLEANS — Saints quarterback Drew Brees’ lengthy streak of pass attempts without an interception was snapped with a thud Monday night in a 45-32 loss to the Atlanta Falcons in the Superdome. The NFL’s fourth-longest streak of passes without a pick ended at 305 in the fourth quarter when Falcons rookie linebacker Deion Jones, a New Orleans native who played at LSU, intercepted Brees and raced 90 yards to a touchdown to extend his team’s lead to 45-25.
The backbreaking interception came one play after Brees connected with Mark Ingram on pass No. 305. In the third quarter, Brees joined Tom Brady (358), Alex Smith (312) and Bernie Kosar (308) as the only quarterbacks in NFL history to have a streak of at least 300 passes without an interception.
–As if an 0-3 start to the season wasn’t bad enough, the Saints continue to battle injuries — especially to their offensive line.
In Monday night’s game with the Falcons, left tackle Terron Armstead wasn’t available because of a knee injury that kept him out of practice last week. That meant left guard Andrus Peat had to move outside to replace Amsted. Then, Kelemete, who plays all five offensive line positions, was penciled into the lineup after playing right tackle the previous game when Zach Strief suffered a chest injury against the New York Giants. But Kelemete left the game in the third quarter with a hamstring injury and didn’t return. He was expected to have an MRI on Tuesday to determine the severity of the injury. Kelemete’s spot was taken by Tim Lelito, who started most of the 2015 season at left guard. When the game ended, the Saints had only six healthy linemen — Lelito, Strief, Peat, center Max Unger, right guard Jahri Evans and guard Landon Turner.
–Since winning 11 consecutive games in the Superdome during the 2013 and ’14 seasons, the Saints have now lost 11 of their last 15 games in front of the home fans.
The Saints actually went 8-0 at home in 2013 and won three in a row to start the 2014 season before starting the rough patch with a 27-24 overtime loss to the San Francisco on Nov. 9, 2014, in their fourth home game of the season.
They lost the final four games at home that year, then went 4-4 at home in 2015 before starting this season with back-to-back losses to the Oakland Raiders (35-34) and Falcons.
–The Saints-Falcons game was played 10 years and one day after a renovated Superdome, which was severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, re-opened.
On that night, Sept. 25, 2006, the Saints returned with a rush when special teams ace Steve Gleason blocked a punt in the opening minutes and teammate Curtis Deloatch scooped it up and scored to spark an emotional 23-3 bashing of the Falcons.
To celebrate the anniversary, Gleason, who has suffered from ALS for the past 5 1/2 years, was on hand and served as honorary captain for the pregame coin toss. Also, Irma Thomas, the “Soul Queen of New Orleans,” performed the national anthem as she did a decade ago.
–The Falcons blowout of the Saints was hardly “must-see TV” material.
The game pulled an overnight rating of 5.6, which is far below the average for Monday Night Football telecasts according to ESPN. That equates to about 10 million viewers.
NOTES: The Washington Post reported Tuesday that, if the numbers hold up, it could be the least-watched game in Monday Night Football history.
Some of the downturn could be attributed to the first presidential debate, which started a half-hour after the Saints and Falcons kicked off. Reuters reported the debate drew a record 84 million viewers.
–LT Terron Armstead did not play against the Atlanta Falcons on Monday night because of a knee injury and it’s not known when he will return.
–WR Willie Snead, the Saints’ No. 2 receiving option, was inactive against the Falcons because of a toe injury and it’s not known when he’ll return.
–SS Kenny Vaccaro, who suffered an ankle injury in Week 2, did not play against the Falcons and his return is unknown.
–DT Tyeler Davison missed Monday night’s game because of shoulder and foot injuries and it’s not known when he’ll return to the lineup.
–LCB Delvin Breaux was out for a second consecutive game Monday night as he continues to rehab from ankle surgery and could return in late October.
–TE Josh Hill, who sprained an ankle in the season opener, was out for the second week in a row and his return is not known.
–WLB Dannell Ellerbe missed his third consecutive game with a quadriceps injury and it’s uncertain when he’ll be able to practice or play.
–LT Andrus Peat, who started the first two games at left guard, took the place of an injured Terron Armstead at left tackle.
–LG Senio Kelemete, who started because Andrus Peat was shifted to left tackle, suffered a hamstring injury in the third quarter and did not return.
–LG Tim Lelito replaced an injured Senio Kelemete in the third quarter and played the remainder of Monday night’s game with the Falcons.
–SS Roman Harper, who rejoined the Saints this summer, made his first start of the season in place of Kenny Vaccaro.