NEW ORLEANS —
The Saints still had to punt the ball back to Atlanta with about 40 seconds left, but Gonzalez could not handle a fourth-down throw in tight coverage along the sideline.
"No one is going to go around crying or panicking or anything like that," Gonzalez said. "We're a good team. Our confidence hasn't changed."
Although the Saints came in allowing a league-worst 176.5 yards rushing per game, they held Atlanta to 46 yards on the ground.
New Orleans rushed for 148 yards, highlighted by Chris Ivory's career-long 56-yard scoring run that gave the Saints a spark after Atlanta had a 10-0 lead.
Ivory used a hesitation move to get to the corner past Asante Samuel, slipped a tackle by Thomas DeCoud, kept his balance, cut back and then stiff-armed Dunta Robinson before trotting into the end zone.
The Saints' largest lead was 28-17 on Brees' scoring strike to Marques Colston, the 55th of Colston's career, tying Deuce McAllister for first in Saints history. The touchdown capped an 81-yard drive which started with rookie Corey White's interception.
The Falcons pulled to 28-27 on Gonzalez's second TD and Matt Bryant's field goal after New Orleans' second red zone stand of the game.
New Orleans briefly interrupted Atlanta's momentum when Graham's 46-yard catch set up Garrett Hartley's 31-yard field goal.
Atlanta opened the game with an 80-yard scoring drive, highlighted by White's 49-yard reception to the New Orleans 1, setting up an easy TD toss to eligible offensive tackle Mike Johnson.
Samuel then made a diving interception of Brees' first pass and returned it to the Saints 12. However, Samuel drew a penalty for taunting fans, moving the Falcons back to the 27 and Bryant kicked a field goal.
New Orleans vaulted into the lead with touchdowns on two straight possessions, the first on Ivory's long run and the second on Brees' first TD connection with Graham from 29 yards.