ATLANTA — The New Orleans Saints have never made anything look easy, except maybe losing, until Sunday.
The Saints, who have never had a season above .500, jumped to an early lead and coasted past the Atlanta Falcons, 38-0.
"It might have looked that way, but it wasn't easy," said Saint quarterback Bobby Hebert, who completed his first six passes in two first-quarter scoring drives that put the Saints in control.
"It was just one of those games where we executed, controlled the line of scrimmage and made the key plays when we had to. I just feel like a lot of things went right today for us."
The Falcons (2-5) never threatened during the game, but they were threatened afterward.
Coach Marion Campbell, whose team lost, 37-33, at Houston last week, had seen enough.
"I hope they get as mad as I am right now," Campbell said. "We don't have to worry about standings or statistics. These players have to worry about their careers.
"I won't stand for that kind of play. We will have to do it with what we've got or I'll just get somebody else."
It was the worst setback for the Falcons since a 59-0 thrashing at the hands of the Rams in 1976.
"They're a solid club, a lot better than the score indicated," Hebert said. "We had a great game plan and we executed it."
It was only the sixth shutout in the Saints' 21-year history.
Hebert completed 3 passes for 19 yards and also ran twice for 25 in an 80-yard drive he capped by hitting Mike Jones with a 7-yard scoring pass on the Saints' first possession of the game.
Hebert completed 3 passes for 39 yards in a 46-yard drive that ended on Barry Word's 1-yard run to make it 14-0.
New Orleans (4-3) stretched its lead to 21-0 when Dalton Hilliard scored on a 5-yard run 3:11 before halftime, completing a 49-yard drive in which the Saints overcame a holding penalty.
New Orleans added a 49-yard field goal by Morten Andersen on the first series of the second half.
Hilliard scored on a 30-yard run with 5:21 left and the Saints added their last score in the final minute on Mel Gray's 3-yard run.
Hebert completed 16 of 26 passes for 171 yards and Rueben Mayes ran for 112 yards in 19 carries.
The Saints intercepted five passes thrown by Atlanta quarterback Scott Campbell.
The Saints' final interception came with one second left when Milton Mack intercepted Campbell's pass from the New Orleans 38 in the end zone.