ATLANTA — Morten Andersen broke the NFL record for consecutive field goals, then put the New Orleans Saints in jeopardy Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons.
Andersen kicked a 27-yard field goal in the first quarter, his 25th in a row, breaking the record of 24 set by Kevin Butler of the Chicago Bears. But he missed his next two attempts before kicking a 44-yarder as time expired, giving the Saints a 34-31 victory.
"That's the epitome of a kicker," said Andersen, who had missed attempts from 42 and 50 yards. "You go from being a hero to a goat to a hero to a goat to a hero. You're only as good as your next kick."
The Saints, who gained a team-record 557 yards, won despite blowing a 31-10 fourth-quarter lead. "I was praying on that last one, but in all candor, Morten always performs better under pressure," Saint Coach Jim Mora said. "I didn't think he would miss a third one."
The Saints (2-0) built their big lead behind Wade Wilson, who started for the Falcons late last season. Wilson completed 22 of 34 passes for 341 yards and three touchdowns.
Bobby Hebert, who played for the Saints last season, led the Falcons' comeback. Hebert replaced starter Chris Miller and connected with Michael Haynes on touchdown pass plays of four and 98 yards. He got the Falcons even by passing three yards to Mike Pritchard with 2:40 left.
Renaldo Turnbull gave Andersen a chance for redemption when he stripped the ball from Hebert and recovered it on the Falcons' 32 with 24 seconds left.
Andersen kicked the game-winner after two running plays netted six yards.
Wilson's scoring pass plays covered 18 and 42 yards to Quinn Early and one yard to Irv Smith.
The Saints took the lead on their first play from scrimmage, a 74-yard run by rookie Lorenzo Neal.