Ryan L. Fox
Over 8 months ago, the New England Patriots made Super Bowl history. After being down 28-3, they pulled the ultimate comeback and won against the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 down in NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. For months, everybody roasted and made tons of ’28-3’ jokes at the expense of the Falcons for committing the biggest Super Bowl collapse ever.
Then there was an attempt at redemption when the schedules came out as it turned out the two teams would face off in Foxborough in Week 7 for a rematch. But then again…history has a tendency to repeat itself. Not so much the same scenario but the same kind of outcome.
Like back in February, the first quarter was without any sort of scoring. The closest that both teams came to scoring within the quarter was on the Falcons side. They drove all the way down to the Pats 19 and K Matt Bryant was ready to make a 37-yard field goal. However back up DE Cassius Marsh got a hand in the way and ended up blocking the kick, which of course got everybody in Gillette going.
The Pats took over on their own 27 and ended the first quarter with the ball in their possession. They opened the second quarter with the ball and continued to drive the ball. Then at Falcons 31 on 2nd and 6, QB Tom Brady lobbed a pass up into the end zone intending to connect with WR Phillip Dorsett. However Falcons CB Robert Alford ended up intercepting the pass and brought it out to the Atlanta 13, killing a Pats drive…except there was a flag on the play. Falcons DE Adrian Clayborn ended up drawing a roughing the passer penalty, giving the ball back to the Pats. Two plays later, Brady dumped a shovel pass off to WR Brandin Cooks for an 11-yard score to give the Pats an early 7-0 lead.
After tacking on a 29-yard field goal by Stephen Gostkowski and forcing the Falcons to turn the ball over on downs, the Pats drove down the field with less than 2 minutes remaining in the half. On 2nd and goal from the Falcons 2, Brady hooked up on a short pass with RB James White for a touchdown to extend the Pats’ lead to 17-0 before halftime.
Gostkowski added a 21-yard field goal in the third quarter and then a 38-yard field goal in the fourth quarter to push the lead up to 23-0. The Falcons finally got on the board late in the fourth quarter as QB Matt Ryan found WR Julio Jones in the end zone for a 1-yard TD pass to make it 23-7. Pats wide out Danny Amendola recovered the ensuing onside kick as the Pats decided to run the clock out, thus winning the Super Bowl LII rematch.
Top Performing Pats
QB Tom Brady: 21-for-29 for 249 yards, 2 TD
RB Dion Lewis: 13 rushes for 76 yards, 1 catch for 6 yards
WR Brandin Cooks: 4 catches for 65 yards, 1 TD
WR Chris Hogan: 4 catches for 71 yards
K Stephen Gostowski: 3-for-3 on FG, 2-for-2 on XP for a total of 11 points
CB Johnson Bademosi: 7 tackles (5 solo, 2 assist), 1 pass defended
DT Adam Butler: 3 tackles, (2 solo, 1 assist), 1.0 sack
Breaking the Streak
The big talk going into this game was how poor the Pats pass defense was. Since Week 1 against the Chiefs, the Pats have allowed opposing quarterbacks to throw for over 300 yards in each game. Going into this game, everybody was talking about how Falcons’ QB Matt Ryan was going to carve them up and the WR corp of Julio Jones, Mohammed Sanu, and Taylor Gabriel was going to carve them up.
Instead, it was really only Jones (9 catches for 99 yards for 1 TD on 13 targets) and Sanu (6 catches for 65 yards on 10 targets) that really did damage. Outside those two, no other Falcons received had more than 30 yards receiving. Not to mention that Ryan was held to a paltry 233 passing yards, the lowest he’s thrown this season so far. The biggest kicker in all of this was the Pats did it without top corners Stephon Gilmore (concussion) and Eric Rowe (groin).
Whether it was just by chance or by design, for one night the Pats passing defense ruled the skies.
Now I know that there is a lighthouse at Gillette Stadium, plus they use a fog horn to signify a big play by the home team or that it’s third down, but those are only just for show. However in last night’s game, you would have thought they were gonna get some real usage.
As the game progressed into the later hours of the evening, a thick fog began to settle into Gillette. It started to get thicker and thicker as the game went on, almost to the point where those watching on television could barely see the field. It was like the Fog Bowl all over again, only this time the fog was doing a public service and trying to shield viewers from seeing a poor product on the field.
If I’m a betting man, I bet that somewhere in a basement or a bunker (most likely a basement), some conspiracy theorist is coming up with a theory that the Patriots cheated by generated the fog to mess with the Falcons. Wish they would get lost in a fog instead.
Fox Fist Bump
Gotta give it to the Pats defense. No Gilmore, no Rowe, no problem. They held the Falcons to a total of 223 passing yards (the lowest amount this season), were able to limit the Falcons to just 20 first downs, and held them to a season-low 3-for-10 on third down conversions. Finally Matt Patricia’s defense is starting to gain some respectability as well as a little swagger if I must say.
Turd in the Punch Bowl
The Falcons were the biggest turd in the punch bowl.
For all the talk about moving on from Super Bowl LII and the ‘revenge’ they wanted to get, they didn’t show up at all to play. Matt Ryan couldn’t really find another target not named ‘Julio Jones’ to throw it to, the offense could only muster up 7 points, the defense couldn’t stop Brady (and when they did, they committed dumb penalties that kept Patriot drives going), and the special teams was abysmal (allowing one field goal to get blocked and shanking another one).
All the opponents the Pats faced this year so far gave them fights to the very end. The Falcons? They were like a boxing tomato can, showing up to get punched and then collect a paycheck afterwards. Garbage, absolutely garbage.
Play of the Game
Block That Kick
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