The Atlanta Falcons pulled within a half game of the Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints in the NFC Wild Card chase, but it took a comeback on Thursday Night Football against the first-place New Orleans Saints to do so. The Falcons trailed by a touchdown heading into the fourth quarter, but scored 10 points in the final 15 minutes for a 20-17 victory at home. Deion Jones made a big interception in the end zone with 1:25 left to seal the clutch win for the Falcons, despite the struggles of Matt Ryan. The quarterback threw for just 221 yards and three interceptions, but Devonte Freeman made up for that with 91 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Ryan did find Mohamed Sanu for a touchdown in the fourth to tie the game, while Matt Bryant gave them the lead with a 52-yard field goal. Meanwhile, Drew Brees was impressive, but just could not finish drives off, as he threw for 271 yards and two touchdowns in the Saints' fourth loss, three of which have come on the road. New Orleans also took a big blow with Alvin Kamara leaving under concussion protocol in the first quarter. Mark Ingram could not fill his spot, as he was held to 49 yards on 12 carries. Michael Thomas was the lone bright spot for the Saints with 10 catches for 117 yards and a touchdown. The Falcons improved to just 4-3 at home and 8-5 overall as they head to Tampa Bay to battle the Buccaneers. The Saints will return home to host the New York Jets next week.
Lakers Edge Sixers on Ingram's Late Three-Pointer
The Los Angeles Lakers are in a similar "trust the process" situation right now as the team they face on Thursday night, and they took a step forward against that team which has trusted the process on their way to plenty of success this season. Brandon Ingram scored 21 points, including the game-winning three-pointer with under a second left for a 107-104 win over the Philadelphia 76ers. Ingram's three went through with 0.8 seconds on the clock after a nice feed from Lonzo Ball, who had 10 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists on the night. Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson added 16 points apiece to help Los Angeles snap its five-game losing streak. The Sixers dropped their 11th game of the year, despite Joel Embiid's 33 points and Ben Simmons' triple-double of 12 points, 13 rebounds, and 15 assists. Philadelphia trailed by as many as 16 in the second half, but tied the game on two Embiid free throws with 39.8 seconds left in the game. LaVar Ball was in attendance with his other two sons, LiAngelo and LaMelo, on the same day that he announced that they had signed with an agent to play overseas. The Lakers move on to visit the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday, while the Sixers will battle the red-hot Cleveland Cavaliers that same night.
Kings Stay Hot With Win Over Senators
The Los Angeles Kings have been in a back and forth race with the Las Vegas Golden Knights for the top spot in the Pacific Division early on this season, a race which they have taken control of with a recent hot streak. That run continued on Thursday night as Drew Doughty scored 32 seconds into overtime on a 2-on-1 break for a 4-3 win over the Ottawa Senators, which is their seventh straight victory. The win also sends Ottawa to their 10th defeat in the past 11 games, despite them rallying from three separate deficits on the night. Darcy Kuemper made 35 saves for the Kings, who also got goals from Dustin Brown, Alex Iafallo, and Tanner Pearson. Ryan Dzingel sent the game into overtime with a late goal for the Senators, as they fell for the seventh time in overtime/shootout. Jean-Gabriel Dumont and Matt Duchene found the back of the net for the struggling Senators, who also got 36 saves from Mike Condon. The Kings did recognize Thursday as their worst effort during this win streak, but will look to stay hot when they host the Carolina Hurricanes tomorrow night, while the Ottawa Senators stay out west to visit the San Jose Sharks on Saturday.