New Orleans Saints WR Michael Thomas catches 2 TD passes in 1st game in nearly two years, says he has ‘more work to do’

ATLANTA — New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas hasn’t been ready to declare his 100% back in almost two years after his first game on Sunday.

Thomas had five catches for 57 yards and two touchdowns in the 27-26 win over the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. It was the first time he had played in a game since a 30-20 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2021 NFC divisional round of the playoffs on Jan. 17, 2021, and it was his first NFL reception since he had five catches had in the Saints’ 21-9 win over Bears in the NFC wildcard round of the playoffs on January 10, 2021.

Thomas, whose first catch came after 11:58 in the third quarter, felt he was giving more and wished he could have done more.

“I have a lot more,” he said. “When I come into games and the ball is thrown to me, I try to make every move, every catch. It’s definitely not my standard. A bit rusty for me. But the biggest thing is to add value, to score points on the board and helping my team win games and come back. But from an individual point of view I still have work to do.”

Almost all of Thomas’ catches came exclusively in the fourth quarter, helping the Saints (1-0) close a 16-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat the Falcons (0-1).

“Great players make great games,” said Saints wide receiver Jarvis Landry.

The Saints would come back to claim their first win under new coach Dennis Allen. Saints linebacker Demario Davis called out several of his teammates for the win, highlighting Thomas as one of them.

“Not to take away from the rest of this reception room because they all played phenomenally but Mike T to come out after what he’s been through over the last two years and put together such an electrifying performance is just great to celebrate my brothers when go out and perform like that,” Davis said.

Thomas said he has no words to describe how it feels to return to the end zone after such a long absence. Thomas’ first touchdown came on an 11-16 three-yard pass from quarterback Jameis Winston in the third quarter. Thomas said he was thinking about how to celebrate, but overwhelmed with emotion and not wanting to take a penalty, he threw the ball into the stands and bumped chests with various teammates.

Thomas said the fan who caught the ball actually threw it back later so he could keep it for himself.

“I didn’t want to hurt this team, so I kept it simple,” he said.

Landry, a new signing this offseason, led the Saints with seven catches for 114 yards and rookie first-round pick Chris Olave had three catches for 41 yards.

“I feel like that was just a little taste,” Thomas said. “If you ask me and the guys in the receiving group, we’d probably say we didn’t start until the second half. Well I mean that was a lot of football that we let run in the first half. This is we are trying to play a full game. …We’re all able to open up and make the game, but…you haven’t seen anything yet. New Orleans Saints WR Michael Thomas catches 2 TD passes in 1st game in nearly two years, says he has ‘more work to do’

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