ATLANTA — Chris Redman is 0-2 as the Atlanta Falcons’ fill-in quarterback, but he impressed his teammates with his passing and leadership in Sunday’s 26-23 loss to New Orleans.
Redman was 23 of 34 passing for 303 yards with a touchdown and an interception. It was his second-highest total for yards passing in a game.
Redman had more yards passing than Saints star Drew Brees, who was 31 of 40 passing for 296 yards. Brees, however, threw three touchdown passes with no interceptions.
“Chris prepared well all week,” said Falcons running back Jason Snelling.
“He did a fantastic job out there. He drove the team. He’s poised out there. He was a leader out there. That’s a real big part of why we had so much success out there today as an offense.”
Redman had a 50-yard touchdown pass to Michael Jenkins in the third quarter.
Falcons coach Mike Smith said Redman “played an outstanding game.”
Redman again filled in for Matt Ryan, who missed his second straight game with a turf toe injury.
There was a sign Ryan is moving closer to his return. Instead of wearing the walking boot he had on during last week’s home game against Philadelphia, Ryan wore athletic shoes with his street clothes.
Redman’s first start since 2007 came in the 34-7 loss to the Eagles.
He said “a lot of guys stepped up” to help the Falcons play a more competitive game against the undefeated Saints.
“We all had confidence in each other,” Redman said. “It was a good game and it was evident that everybody gave it their all. We’re proud for everybody for hanging in there and we have to give New Orleans credit.”
BABINEAUX STARTS: Defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux started despite his arrest on a felony marijuana possession charge on Thursday night.
Babineaux released a statement on Friday saying he and his family “have faith that you will see I’m not guilty.”
“I also want to thank my family, friends, the Atlanta Falcons, my teammates and the fans for their continued support,” he said.
Babineaux and another man, Aaron Robinson, were driving in Babineaux’s 2005 Cadillac Escalade when police pulled them over and found 11/2 ounces of marijuana.
Babineaux was credited with three tackles and a quarterback hurry against the Saints. He was not available for comment after the game.
INJURY UPDATES: Falcons running back Michael Turner was inactive for the third time in the last four games with an ankle sprain.
The Falcons were missing two more starters, offensive guard Harvey Dahl (ankle) and cornerback Chris Houston (hamstring).
Quinn Ojinnaka started for Dahl. Brent Grimes filled in for Houston.
Falcons defensive end Jamaal Anderson left the game with a chest injury in the third quarter.
SURPRISE FAKE FIELD GOAL: With his team leading by only three points with 2:07 remaining, Saints coach Sean Payton pulled a surprise by faking what would have been a 33-yard field-goal attempt by Garrett Hartley.
Holder Mark Brunell, a quarterback, instead pulled up and threw an incomplete sideline pass to Darnell Dinkins.
The failed fourth-down play left the Falcons an opportunity to force overtime with a field goal, but they were stopped at the Saints’ 45 on their final possession.
“We felt like if we got on the right mark and the situation allowed, then I was going to call it,” Payton said.
“They did a good job covering. We were up three and my goal was to go up by 10. It’s certainly risky not getting those points and going up a full score, but we felt comfortable enough that we would get it.”
SAINTS’ DEFENSE HURTING: The Saints’ inactive list included three players listed as defensive starters: cornerbacks Tracy Porter (knee) and Jabari Greer (groin) and linebacker Scott Fujita (knee).
Troy Evans started for Fujita. Randall Gay and Malcolm Jenkins were the starting cornerbacks.
The Saints also were without receiver Lance Moore (ankle, hamstring) and running back Mike Bell (knee).