Another record-setting day for Horn
By By Richard Dark/The Meridian Star
Dec. 18, 2000
NEW ORLEANS Following a 23-7 victory over the Atlanta Falcons that secured a playoff berth for the New Orleans Saints, Joe Horn stood at his locker fielding questions as usual.
And as usual, the former no-namer from Itawamba Community College had plenty of I-told-you-so's for the media most of which thought it impossible at the beginning of the season that these New Orleans Saints would clinch a playoff berth and have a realistic shot at winning the division title.
Horn had another record-setting day in a Saints uniform. His seven catches for 116 yards, gave him the Saints' mark for grabs in a season with 89 catches. The old record was 85 grabs by Eric Martin in the 1988 campaign. Last week against the 49ers, Horn broke the single-season mark for yardage another Martin marker.
More marks fall: Sammy Knight's interception runback for a touchdown was his fifth of the season and second for a TD…The Saints defense has registered a record 63 sacks on the year. The previous high was 59 in the 1997 campaign.
Play of the Game: With the Falcons trailing 20-7, and nearly 10 minutes to go in the third quarter, veteran qb Chris Chandler came in and went to work, driving his team down to the Saints' 18-yard line by virtue of finding Jamal Anderson for a 55-yard gain.
With the Falcons trying desperately to make a game out of it, Chandler went for the end zone, only to have the ball batted and pulled down by cornerback Alex Molden. The Saints got the touchback and the Falcons never seriously threatened again.
Glaring Stat: The Saints outgained the Falcons 124-0 in total yardage in the first quarter. The Dirty Birds didn't have a sustained flight of positive yardage until midway through the second quarter, with the hosts holding a 10-0 lead.
Near miss: Former Southern Miss Golden Eagle and Vossburg native Daryl Terrell just missed catching a short touchdown pass in the first half when he got wide open in the end zone on a tackle-eligible play, but dropped the football.
Did you notice?: Right defensive end Joe Johnson did not start the game, but played extensively, logging four tackles and two sacks. Before the game, lineup changes showed him as a backup to Willie Whitehead. Reportedly, Johnson did not start because he missed a team meeting.
More dry spells broken: The win over the Falcons was the Saints' first in the Dome since Nov. 13, 1994, a span of 12 total meetings against Atlanta. Coming into Sunday's game, the Falcons had won 10 of the last 11 meetings.
What's next: The Saints (10-5) are at home on Christmas Eve to face the St. Louis Rams (9-5). Tonight the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the Rams at Raymond James Stadium.
A Rams loss gives the Saints the NFC West crown for the first time since 1991. A Rams win would set up a winner-take-all Yuletide war in the Dome to decide the division. The only scenario in which the Saints do not clinch the playoffs by virtue of the Atlanta win is if the Bucs and Rams forge the unlikely tie.
Richard Dark is a sports writer for the Meridian Star. Email him at email@example.com.