The most up-to-date content on the planet
this just in
 RSS
WEEI » This Just In » Blount, Talib help Pats hold on against Falcons
Sun, 09/29/2013 - 11:02pm  

Blount, Talib help Pats hold on against Falcons

The Patriots burst out to a 30-13 lead and held on down the stretch to come away with a 30-23 win over the Falcons Sunday night in Atlanta.

The late flurry from the Falcons might overshadow a superior defensive effort for the first three-plus quarters from New England, which managed to hold Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Roddy White in check for most of the night. Their work helped the Patriots build a 17-point second half lead, but New England had to sweat it out down the stretch. However, when Aqib Talib knocked away a pass for White in the end zone with less than a minute to go, the victory was secure.

On the other side of the ball, Tom Brady went 20-for-31 for 316 yards and two touchdowns. Meanwhile, Matt Ryan was 34-for-54 for 421 yards with two touchdowns and one pick.

New England moved to 4-0 with the win, the third time the Patriots have started a season with four straight wins out of the gate under Bill Belichick. The other two years — 2004 and 2007 — ended with New England making a trip to the Super Bowl.

Here are a few quick notes on the game:

WHAT WENT RIGHT

• The Patriots were able to contain Jones most of the night, thanks almost entirely to the work of Talib. It was exclusive, but Talib played a sizable role in leaving one of the league’s best receivers completely ineffective through much of the evening. Jones had two catches for six yards in the first half, and Talib came away with his fourth pick of the year on a ball midway through the fourth quarter. Jones ended up with 13 catches for 108 yards — with 49 of them coming on a great play late in the fourth quarter — but wasn’t much of a factor throughout the evening.

• The New England running game was tremendous, as the Patriots were able to consistently move the chains and get good yardage throughout the first half. On New England’s first touchdown drive of the night — a series that encompassed the end of the first quarter and start of the second quarter — 10 of the 12 plays were runs, with Stevan Ridley and Brandon Bolden picking up some good, between-the-tackles yardage on the 75-yard drive. (The series ended with a pass from Brady to Matthew Mulligan to give the Patriots a 7-3 lead — the first touchdown pass to a tight end this season for New England.) New England was able to keep that going in the second half when LeGarrette Blount tacked on a 46-yard touchdown run at the start of the fourth quarter to give the Patriots a 10-point lead. Blount had 64 rushing yards and Ridley added 53.

• The offensive highlight of the night came in the second quarter on a Brady pass to Kenbrell Thompkins that went for 49 yards down the sideline, a heave from Brady that saw Thompkins go up and fight for the ball against the Atlanta defenders who were in coverage. It was the longest pass play of the season for the Patriots, besting the 39-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Dobson in Week 2 against the Jets. That series ended with a 48-yard field goal from Stephen Gostkowski that made it 10-3 with 2:57 remaining in the first half. All in all, while Dobson saw his night cut short with a neck injury — more on that later — Thompkins had a big night, finishing with 11 catches for 127 yards and a touchdown in the win.

WHAT WENT WRONG

• While the Patriots — and Talib — did an excellent job shutting down Jones, they weren’t so lucky when it came to slowing down Tony Gonzalez. The veteran tight end had seven catches in the early going, including the second-quarter touchdown grab that tied the game at 10 just before the half. He finished the night with 14 catches for 149 yards and two touchdowns. He’s no longer the week-to-week offensive threat he once was, but Gonzalez proved that he can still bring it with the best of them when his quarterback needs his help.

• New England made a point of playing three complete games over their first three contests, shutting out their opponents in the fourth quarter over all three of their first three games. The Patriots were sluggish on offense and defense in the final frame against the Falcons, as Brady fumbled a key fourth-down snap and the defense yielded 13 fourth-quarter points. Not the sort of way you want to finish.

• The Patriots suffered a serious injury when defensive lineman Vince Wilfork was carted off in the first quarter after he went down with a right ankle injury. New England went with Joe Vellano in his place for much of the rest of the evening. If the All-Pro is out for any extended stretch, it would be a big blow to a New England defense that is led by the veteran Wilfork. The Patriots also lost running back Brandon Bolden with a knee injury in the first half, but he returned for the second half. And New England lost Dobson late in the third quarter when he got cracked in the end zone when diving for a ball that would have been a touchdown — the rookie receiver appeared to get hit, and left the field for the locker room shortly after the play went down. (It was later announced that he was questionable to return.)




Audio On Demand

Adam Schefter, ESPN, with…

Adam Schefter, ESPN, with all the news surrounding Super Bowl XLIX 1-30-15

Adam Schefter, ESPN, joins Lou, Christian and Tim to talk about all the news surrounding Super Bowl XLIX

Ted Johnson previews Super Bowl XLVI, 1-30-15

Three-time Super Bowl champion Ted Johnson joins Lou, Christian and Tim to preview Super Bowl XLVI

Willie McGinest previews Super Bowl XLIX, 1-30-15

Three-time Super Bowl champion Willie McGinest joins Lou, Christian and Tim to preview Super Bowl XLVI

We Love Anthony Daivs - N…

We Love Anthony Daivs - NBA Mid-Season Awards

Ben and Sam discuss ways to improve the NBA All-Star weekend, hand out of hardware, and give their Finals predictions

Jackie MacMullen, ESPN Boston, talks about the Rondo trade 12-19-14

Jackie MacMullen, ESPN Boston, talks with MFB about Rondo being traded to the Dallas Mavericks, and how this will have an effect on the Celtics rebuild process

We Hate Dwayne Wade - Marcus Smart injury 11-12-14

How have the Celtics looked after a couple weeks? Could they be a playoff team? These questions and more...

John Farrell with Mut and…

John Farrell with Mut and Bradford, 1-24-15

The Red Sox have taken over Foxwoods and Red Sox Manager John Farrell sat down with Mut and Bradford to talk about the roster and how the 2015 season is looking.

Joe Kelly and Pablo Sandoval make predictions for 2015, 1-24-15

Red Sox pitcher Joe Kelly and 3B Pablo Sandoval sat down with Mut and Bradford. Joe Kelly had a few interesting proclamations. First he said that 95% of pitchers use some sort of grip enhancer, and then he said he was going to win the Cy Young. Pablo leaned over and promised 10 HR's, explaining to Joe that the trick is to set the bar low.

Hot Stove Show 01-15-15

Mut and Rob are in on the Hot Stove Show this week and they're taking calls and talking about the Red Sox pitching as we are 5 weeks away from pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training.

Pierre McGuire discusses …

Pierre McGuire discusses Rule-Breaking in the NHL 1-22-15

Pierre McGuire talks about ways hockey players skirt the rules in the NHL and the development of Dougie Hamilton.

Pierre McGuire, NBC Sports: "Bruins are an unbelievably team to play against" 1-15-15

Pierre McGuire joins Lou, Christian and Tim to discuss the resurgent Bruins, the emergence of David Pastrnak, and former Boston College stand-out Johnny Gaudreau looking to trademark the name 'Johnny Hockey.'

Jack Edwards with Dale and Holley

We get our state of the B report from NESN's Jack Edwards, right in the midst of a 4 game winning streak and hot return for David Pastrnak.

D&C's Super Bowl Coverage…

D&C's Super Bowl Coverage Montage 1-30-15

Wrapping up the show's week on radio row.

Mad Dog Russo chats with Gerry and Kirk 1-30-15

Show favorite Mad Dog Russo joins the guys to look at Sunday's game and the response he has seen to deflategate.

Bob Kravitz checks in on deflategate 1-30-15

Kravitz calls in to put a wrap on the deflategate this week's coverage. He details some of the twitter attacks he has received from Patriots fans.

Super Bowl Predictions fr…

Super Bowl Predictions from Radio Row 1-30-15

Christian ran around Radio Row getting predictions form anyone he could find, which included being Green-Flied by Warren Sapp

Merloni Investments, Super Bowl XLIX Edition 1-30-15

Local Wiseguy Louie Merloni gives us the lines for Super Bowl XLIX

Adam Schefter, ESPN, with all the news surrounding Super Bowl XLIX 1-30-15

Adam Schefter, ESPN, joins Lou, Christian and Tim to talk about all the news surrounding Super Bowl XLIX

Four at Four: Pro Footbal…

Four at Four: Pro Football Hall of Fame edition

For today's four at four we elect our own inductees to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Did Ty Law make it?

Mike Tirico joins the show to preview the Super Bowl

Monday Night Football host Mike Tirico stops by to preview the Super Bowl and give us his analysis of Russell Wilson.

Herm Edwards Previews the Super Bowl

Former player and coach Herm Edwards stops by to preview the Super Bowl and explain how to slow down Russell Wilson.

Steve DeOssie joins Mike …

Steve DeOssie joins Mike Mutnansky

DeOssie joins Mut from Arizona to talk about how big the hype has been for this year's Super Bowl in comparison to other Super Bowl games in the past and how Seattle's defense matches up against New England's offense.

Jimmy Garoppolo could be the difference maker for the Patriots

Mikey, Mut, and Lenny discuss how the Patriots can stop Russell Wilson, and Jimmy Garoppolo is brought up as a potential weapon for the Patriots in practice to give the defense a Wilson-esque look from the QB position.

Dean Blandino says the refs didn't do their job 100%

Mikey, Mut, Lenny and Dave Russo talk about Danny Amendola stepping up this season, and the comments made by Dean Blandino about the inspection done to the game balls before the AFC Championship game.

WrestleCast - Royal Rumbl…

WrestleCast - Royal Rumble Preview Part 2

Chris and comedian Mike Mulloy recap the final Raw before the Rumble and preview the Rumble itself.

Unsportsmanlike Podcast - Are sports better in the stadium or on TV?

Would you rather watch important games in the stadium or on TV? Also we discuss our worst experiences at stadiums.

We Love Anthony Daivs - NBA Mid-Season Awards

Ben and Sam discuss ways to improve the NBA All-Star weekend, hand out some hardware, and give their Finals predictions.

ESPN Sport Science John B…

ESPN Sport Science John Brenkus Talks Deflate Gate 1-28-14

Dale and Michael talk to John Brenkus about the tests he did in relation to deflate gate and the conclusions he came to.

More from this show

Kirk's showdown with the …

Kirk's showdown with the competition 01-29-15

Gerry and Kirk breakdown Kirk's confrontation with the competition.

More from this show

Joe Beningo brings the Ne…

Joe Beningo brings the New York perspective on Patriots-Seahawks 1-28-15

New York radio personality Joe Beningo sits down with D&C to discuss all the topics surrounding this year's big game.

More from this show

Pro Football Talk's Mike …

Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio breaks down the latest on deflategate 1-28-15

Florio talks about the latest surrounding the Patriots' handling of footballs. He also reveals that other NFL head coaches are running their own tests on footballs.

More from this show

Gregg Doyel thinks the Pa…

Gregg Doyel thinks the Patriots are comparable to the 1919 White Sox 1-29-15

Doyel knows the Patriots fixed the AFC title game and they now belong in the same sentence as the 1919 White Sox.

More from this show

Weei Writers