(AP) -- Welcome back, Sean Payton. The New Orleans Saints welcomed coach Sean Payton back from his one-year bounty ban by knocking off the defending NFC South champion Atlanta Falcons 23-17. Brees passed for 357 yards and two TDs.
Brees connected with Marques Colston for a 25-yard touchdown pass. Colston set a Saints franchise mark for catches with 533. Brees also hit tight end Jimmy Graham for a 7-yard score in the third quarter.
Matt Ryan passed for 304 yards and two touchdown passes in a losing effort for the Falcons. Atlanta drove to the New Orleans 3-yard line in the final minute, but the drive stalled when Roman Harper intercepted Ryan's tipped fourth down pass in the end zone.