SNF: NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS vs ATLANTA FALCONS
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS vs ATLANTA FALCONS
By: Robert L. Porter Jr.
Sunday night football has an easy headline this week with a Super Bowl rematch but with that aside we have 2 of the NFL’s top Quarterbacks. Matt Ryan is the reigning MVP but hasn’t shown that MVP form yet this year, he’s looking to change that. Tom Brady has been carrying his teams Defense on his 40-year old shoulders to start this season, they will have to step up in order to ground this once high flying Atlanta offense. This has the potential to be a shootout.
The Patriots received the opening kickoff and a penalty riddled drive ends with a New England punt. Atlanta’s first drive was no better than the Patriots as they had a quick 3 & out. The 2nd New England drive opened with a huge sack of Brady then on the following play a long a pass to Gronk is called back on offensive pass interference. That penalty basically called an end to that drive and they would punt it back to the Falcons. Matt Ryan and his offense were able to put some plays together to get into Patriots territory and found themselves in a 4th & 7. A Matt Ryan scramble for 9 yards picks it up and keeps the drive alive. A Mohammad Sanu catch puts the Falcons in the red zone but they are unable to punch it in. A 37 yard Matt Bryant field goal attempt is blocked and a very promising drive ends with a thud. Vic Beasley opens the next Patriots drive with a sack, a Mike Gillislee run for no gain puts them in 3rd & long and brings the first period to a close. We’re still scoreless in this one.
Brady lines up on a 3rd & 11 to open the quarter, a false start moves them back to 3rd & 16 and Tom Brady just finds Chris Hogan for 20 yards and a first down like its nothing. A 25 yards run by Dion Lewis on the next play puts them at the Falcons 35 yard line. A Brady pick follows but a roughing the passer penalty gave New England the ball back and 15 yards. With a 2nd lease on life, a Brady to Cooks push pass with Gronk as his lead blocker from 11 yards out makes it 7-0 Patriots. 3 passes By Matt Ryan didn’t result in any first downs, they instead resulted in another quick 3 & out and a punt. It looks as if New England has decided to avoid the possible shootout and play a ball control type of game. Just as I wrote that Brady finds Gronkowski for 27 yards and sets them up just outside the red zone. Rex Burkhead was the RB of choice on this drive as they get down inside the 10 yard line but this time they aren’t able to hit paydirt. A Stephen Gostowski field goal makes it 10-0 Patriots.
With 4:42 remaining before halftime, Matt Ryan and The Falcons take field trying to stop the bleeding. An 11 yard run by freeman followed by a pass to Sanu gets them to the 49 yard line. A Tevin Coleman drop, a sack of Matt Ryan and a Julio Jones crossing route finds them in 4th down again as they look as if they’re going to go for it again we reach the 2 minute warning. Coming out of the 2 minute time out, Ryan overshot Sanu and gives Brady the ball back near midfield. 2 touches for James White, an Amendola catch then a nice pass to Brandin Cooks gets New England into the red zone with 36 seconds until the half. A Brady 6 yard pass to James White makes it 17-0 with 21 seconds remaining in the half. Atlanta runs 3 plays and we head to halftime with them trailing by 3 scores.
Dan Quinn and his team comes out hoping to put forth a better effort in the 2nd half than they did the first. It looks as if some Falcons rhythm has rolled In with the fog. Devonta Freeman and the running game was the formula as they were able to find lanes in the Patriots defense but to overthrows in the same area of the end zone brings Bryant out to try another Field goal. Bryant would hit the left goal post and miss the kick as Atlanta still sits in the 17-0 hole. After another Atlanta empty drive, Brady and his guys step on the field and it was business as usual. They marched down the field but a good stop by the Falcons defense from the 1 yard line forces another Gostowski kick making it 20-0. Freeman has been the lone bright spot for the Falcons, the offense hasn’t seemed to move without him having the ball. With under 2 minutes in the 3rd, Ryan hits Jones on back-to-back plays that has Atlanta in the red zone again when the 4th quarter starts. 20-0 New England.
The quarter opens on a fade route to Sanu that outs them inside the 1 on 3rd & goal. A Malcolm Butler tip away makes it 4th & goal from the 1, they try a jet sweep to Taylor Gabriel that was sniffed out and stopped. The Patriots take over on downs. Pinned back inside their own 5 yard line the Patriots make a few plays to get some breathing room and in the process shows Atlanta that they aren’t in New Englands class. Mike Gillislee was used on this drive to drain the clock and he did that, the possession would be capped by another field Goal pushing the lead to 23-0. Atlanta is finally able to score when Ryan found Jones to cap an 11 play drive, Falcons now trail 23-7. After a failed onside kick with 4 minutes remaining, New England comes out looking to put this one in the books. Dion Lewis got the bulk of the work as they continued to pounded the Falcons as we hit the 2 minute warning. 3 Brady kneels brings and end to this one.
The game that was built up as a shootout ended up being a beat down. The NFL MVP looked like anything but in this one. Ryan had happy feet and looked flustered all night. With New Orleans looking like a legitimate team, Atlanta looks to be in some trouble in the NFC South going forward.
STARS OF THE GAME
Tom Brady – 21/29 249 yards 2 TDs
James White – 9 touches 47 yards 1 TD
Brandin Cooks – 4 rec 65 yards 1 TD
Matt Ryan – 23/33 233 yards 1 TD
Devonta Freeman – 15 touches 90 total yards
Julio Jones – 9 rec 99 yards 1 TD
PATRIOTS 23 – FALCONS 7