A late good evening, everyone! I hope everyone had a great Sunday. It is now Monday so most of you will read this recap when you wake up. But props to anyone who’s reading this now! For anyone who saw it, congratulations. You and I both watched probably one of the most intense Sunday Night Football games ever.
As mentioned before here, the New England Patriots had a tough test on the road against a very dangerous Atlanta Falcons team. We didn’t know whether the offense would score some points. In addition, we wanted to see how the defense performed against a better team. While there were holes on both offense and defense, the Patriots prevailed, and that 4-0 record is all that matters right now!
The Falcons got the ball to start the game and literally drove it all the way down the field. Not a great start from the defense and Vince Wilfork left the game with a leg injury. He would not return and his status is still very much a concern. Still, the defense held the Falcons to a 23 yard field goal from Matt Bryant. The Patriots responded in the 2nd quarter with several running plays that gave them position at Atlanta’s 1 yard line. But eventually, Tom Brady decided to pass and he found Matthew Mulligan through a slew of defenders. The TD pass is now Brady’s 52nd consecutive pass. He can ironically tie Brees’ record of 54 in 2 weeks when New England plays New Orleans and can break it when the Pats take on the Jets in New Jersey. Since I live in New Jersey, I would really like to see Brady break the record live – keeping my fingers crossed!
The Falcons responded with a strong drive that helped them land deep inside the Patriots’ redzone. However, they went for it on 4th down and failed. On the ensuing New England possession, Brady bombed the ball for Kenbrell Thompkins, who made an unbelievable catch (50 yards). Unfortunately, the catch couldn’t give the Patriots enough momentum to score a touchdown but Stephen Gostkowski tacked on a 48 yard field goal to give New England a 10-3 lead. Atlanta responded right before the half though, with Matt Ryan throwing a touchdown pass to tight end Tony Gonzalez. Though tied at 10, I wasn’t bitterly disappointment at the Patriots’ effort.
The 3rd quarter featured Julian Edelman catching his first pass from Brady but nothing much happened on the drive. The Falcons didn’t a response either. Although one Patriots possession was pretty awesome to see. Edelman came up clutch with some great catches but they could only get 3 points from a 22 yard field goal from Gostkowski. Joe Vellano, who replaced Wilfork, made a huge sack on the next Falcons possession, so he’s definitely got the talent. I’d love to see him play more.
When the Patriots got the ball back in the fourth quarter, they started off deep in their own territory. After getting a flag to go their way and a clutch 3rd down conversion, the unthinkable happened. Brady handed the ball off to LeGarrette Blount, who shredded the Falcons defense and ran it all the way (47 yards) for a touchdown. The Falcons could only respond with a 45 yard field goal from Bryant. How did the Patriots respond? You guessed it! Brady found Thompkins, who dove for the touchdown. Aqib Talib picked off Ryan on the ensuing Falcons possession. Soon after, Gostkowski hit a 49 yard field goal (what is it with Gostkowski hitting long field goals these days?) to make it 30-13 Patriots. Surely the rout was on…right?
Well the Falcons drove all the way down and Ryan found Gonzalez again for a touchdown. 30-20 with 4:23 to go but still no problem…or so you would think. Atlanta surprised the Patriots with an onside kick. Zach Sudfeld messed up by not controlling the ball and the Falcons took over. Luckily they only got a 25 yard field goal from Bryant. But a 17 point lead soon decreased to 7, with under 3 minutes to go. The Patriots secured the onside kick but fumbled on a 4th and 1 so the Falcons took over.
On the first play, Ryan threw it deep and found Julio Jones. Great play but now every Pats fan was fearing for the worst. Would the Falcons tie? NOPE! On 4th and goal, Ryan’s pass to Roddy White in the endzone was broken up by guess who?
His clutch play gave the Patriots the ball and they kneeled it for the 30-23 win. Close but great win for the Patriots! They will travel to Cincinnati to take on the Bengals next week and I am confident that they will play a strong game. I am worried about the injuries to this roster, though. Will Danny Amendola and Rob Gronkowski be 100% for the game? How about Wilfork? Don’t forget Aaron Dobson and Alfonzo Dennard also left the game with injuries. Keep your fingers crossed, Pats fans, and let’s go Patriots!