Adam Jones and Matt Ryan led the New Orleans Saints to a 38-20 victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday night to claim the NFC South title and put the franchise back on track for the playoffs.
The Saints are now four games back of the Los Angeles Rams, who host the New York Giants on Thursday night.
The win capped a thrilling second half that saw the Saints go ahead 21-0 on a late touchdown by Saints kicker Adam Vinatieri.
The game-winning drive started with a spectacular interception of Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones, who had caught a pass off of defensive end Akiem Hicks for a 26-yard touchdown.
Jones had rushed for 109 yards on 19 carries.
Atlanta led 17-0 at halftime and the Falcons then scored three straight points in the fourth quarter.
The Saints were up 23-3 with 1:08 left in the half when Jones caught a 13-yard pass from Ryan and scored from the 1 with 2:36 remaining.
Jones’ touchdown tied the score and the game at 24-24.
The Falcons held on for a 27-24 victory.
Atlanta (5-4) was playing its fifth game in six nights.
New Orleans (4-6) had won four straight.
The Falcons were the first team in NFL history to finish the season with two losses.
New York defeated Dallas 23-16 on Sunday, its second straight victory.
The loss also came on the heels of a 49-28 win over the Los Rams in Week 4.
Jones was 9 of 15 for 125 yards.
Ryan finished with nine catches for 138 yards and a touchdown.
Vinatiere finished with six catches for 81 yards and one touchdown.
Jones, who was injured in a preseason game, had 11 receptions for 172 yards and two touchdowns in that game.
Ryan was 7 of 16 for 67 yards and no touchdowns.
Vinatieri made two field goals.
The NFL’s reigning MVP was also the game’s most productive player with 3,086 receiving yards.
The three-time Pro Bowler led the Saints with six touchdown catches.
Ryan, who finished the game tied with Saints receiver Chris Hogan for the NFL lead with five touchdown catches, also had two catches for 28 yards and an interception in the loss.
Ryan had a game-high six catches and 114 yards for Atlanta, which has lost six straight to the Falcons.
Jones and Ryan were the Saints’ only players with multiple receiving touchdowns.
Jones caught a touchdown pass from Vinatieri on the game-winner.