Monday’s roundup: Freeman, Coleman lift Falcons
New Orleans — Tevin Coleman rushed for three touchdowns, Matt Ryan passed for two TDs, and Deion Jones returned an interception 90 yards for a score to help the Atlanta Falcons beat the winless New Orleans Saints 45-32 on Monday night.
The game was played nearly 10 years to the day after the Saints’ memorable return to the Superdome on Sept. 25, 2006, 13 months after Hurricane Katrina. But there would be no reprise of New Orleans’ dominant and emotional 23-3 triumph a decade ago.
The Saints’ depleted defense struggled to slow down Devonta Freeman, who rushed for 152 yards and caught five passes for 55 yards. Coleman also was effective in the passing game out of the backfield, with three receptions for 47 yards to go with his 42 yards rushing.
Ryan finished with 240 yards passing for Atlanta (2-1) which did not turn the ball over and moved into sole possession of first place in the NFC South.
Drew Brees put up his usual big numbers — 376 yards and three TDs passing — but his interception for a touchdown on a tipped pass early in the fourth quarter gave the Falcons a 45-25 lead that proved too much for New Orleans to overcome.
The loss dropped the Saints (0-3) into last place — a far cry from their 3-0 start in 2006.
Seattle’s Wilson has knee sprain
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has a sprained MCL in his left knee and coach Pete Carroll raised the possibility on Monday of Wilson missing the Week 4 game against the Jets.
Carroll said during his weekly radio show on KIRO-AM on Monday morning Wilson “feels great” and his recovery is already going “exceedingly well.”
Wilson underwent an MRI on Sunday night that confirmed the ligament sprain and Wilson received treatment all night, Carroll said.
Carroll did not express the severity of the sprain and acknowledged there is a consideration of sitting Wilson this week with the Seahawks bye coming in Week 5. But, Carroll added it’s difficult trying to keep Wilson off the field.
“We’ll see what happens,” Carroll said. “We’re going to do the right thing.”
Wilson was injured in the third quarter of the 37-18 victory over San Francisco last weekend when he was pulled down awkwardly while being sacked by Eli Harold. Wilson stayed down on the field for a few moments after the injury before walking off.
Wilson missed the first play of his career because of an injury, but returned almost immediately — and without perhaps the approval of his coaches — to throw one more pass.
Carroll said running back Thomas Rawls (Central Michigan) has an injury to the fibula in his left leg and will be out a few weeks.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick remains mum on his team’s quarterback situation ahead of its game against the division rival Bills.
Belichick declined to provide updates on the health of Jimmy Garoppolo (right shoulder) or rookie Jacoby Brissett (thumb). Tom Brady will be serving the last game of his four-game “Deflategate” suspension.
... Washington safety DeAngelo Hall will miss the rest of the season with a torn ligament in his right knee.
... Chargers linebacker Manti Te’o will miss the rest of the season with a torn left Achilles tendon.
... The Raiders released Pro Bowl fullback Marcel Reece after his four-game suspension for performance enhancing drugs was completed.
... The Jets claimed tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins off waivers from the Buccaneers, who cut him before last weekend’s game after he was arrested on suspicion of driving while under the influence.
... The Panthers will be without their first-round pick, defensive tackle Vernon Butler. for the next few weeks because of a right high-ankle sprain.
NFL scouts will get more access to underclassmen under an agreement between the NFL and American Football Coaches Association.
Starting in February 2017, schools will be able to designate five underclassmen for special eligibility after they have completed their second seasons of college football. NFL teams can scout them similarly to the way the league evaluates in their senior seasons.
... Former Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy was arrested late Sunday night in Richardson, Texas, on a drug possession charge, The Dallas Morning News reported.
Hardy who was stopped just before midnight on a traffic violation, was charged with possession of a controlled substance, Sgt. Kevin Perlich said.