Staff Photo: Jason Braverman — Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez (88) makes a catch for a touchdown as New Orleans Saints middle linebacker Curtis Lofton defends during the first half of Thursday's game at the Georgia Dome.
ATLANTA — The Atlanta Falcons' offense was nearly non-existent for three quarters on Thursday against the New Orleans Saints.
Kicker Matt Bryant and the Falcons defense made up for it.
Bryant kicked three field goals and the defense intercepted Drew Brees five times to beat the Saints 23-13 at the Georgia Dome.
Brees was 28 of 50 passing for 341 yards with a career-high five interceptions and no touchdowns. That snapped Brees' NFL record 54 straight games with a touchdown pass.
The win puts the Falcons (11-1) in position to claim their first NFC South division title since 2010. The Falcons need a Tampa Bay loss on Sunday at Denver to lock up the division.
The Saints are the only team to give Atlanta a loss this season, a 28-27 defeat in Week 10. The Falcons' win snaps a four-game losing skid to New Orleans.
The Falcons jumped out to a 17-0 lead in the second quarter after a three-yard touchdown run by Michael Turner, a 17-yard TD catch by Tony Gonzalez and a 45-yard field goal by Bryant.
Quarterback Matt Ryan was 18 of 33 passing for 165 yards, his fewest passing yards of the season. Turner rushed for 83 yards on 12 carries.
The Falcons struggled to move the ball the rest of the game and New Orleans came back with three scores. Atlanta was 1 of 11 on third down and had just 283 yards of offense.
The Saints' Mark Ingram scored on a one-yard TD run with 3:25 left in the half for a 17-7 game.
The Saints (5-7) reached the Falcons' five-yard line twice, but could only come away with three points. With 12 seconds left in the half, Brees threw a two-yard pass to Darren Sproles in the middle of the field and time expired.
The Saints opened the second half with an 83-yard drive to the Falcons five, but had to settle for a 21-yard field by Garrett Hartley to make it 17-10.
The Saints followed that drive with a 52-yard field goal by Hartley to cut the Falcons lead to 17-13 with 3:53 left in the third quarter.
William Moore had his first of two interceptions for the Falcons to set up Bryant's 29-yard field goal for a 20-13 lead to start the fourth quarter. Sean Weatherspoon and Thomas DeCoud also had interceptions for the Falcons.
After eight failed attempts, the Falcons converted a third down with an 11-yard catch by Julio Jones in the fourth quarter. The Falcons couldn't convert again on the drive and had to settle for Bryant's third field goal. Bryant kicked a 55-yard field with 4:25 left in the game to give Falcons a 23-13 lead.
Jonathan Babineaux and Moore intercepted Brees in the final three minutes of the game to end the Saints' comeback attempt.