New Orleans Saints improve to 13-0 with win over Atlanta Falcons

Staff reports
New Orleans' Reggie Bush scores against Atlanta.

ATLANTA -- The New Orleans Saints clinched a first round bye in the playoffs and improved to 13-0 with a 26-23 win over the Atlanta Falcons, sweeping the NFC South rival.

Saints linebacker Johnathan Vilma helped seal the win in the fourth quarter with an interception and a fourth-down tackle on Atlanta's final drive.

"Those two defensive plays were important," Saints head coach Sean Payton said. "They helped secure the victory, and even though we struggled at times, those plays combined with our offense's ability to score the touchdowns earlier in the game that helped the lead hold up."

Saints quarterback Drew Brees completed 31-of-40 passes for 296 yards and three touchdowns.

Wide receiver Marques Colston and running backs Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush each added six receptions each. Bush scored two receiving touchdowns.

The Saints will host the Dallas Cowboys Saturday at 7:20 p.m. The game will be broadcast on the NFL Network.

New Orleans' Jonathan Vilma celebrates and interception against Atlanta.