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CORE 360, Issue 18 Find out more on MagCloud)

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Past Sins Haunt Falcons in Loss to Pats

Julio Jones runs with the ball after the catch.
Patriots LeGarrette Blount rips through the Falcons defense for a 47 yd TD

New England stayed among the ranks of the undefeated with a game saving defensive stand to hold off Atlanta 30-23 in the Georgia Dome.

Uncorrected mistakes have a way of coming back to haunt you. The Falcons last four downs against the Patriots Sunday night looked eerily similar to their last four downs against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game last January. From the missed opportunity for Matt Ryan to hit a wide open Harry Douglas in stride out in the flat to the underneath throw to Jacquizz Rodgers that failed to pick up a first down, the Falcons once again came up short of the end zone. (In the NFC Championship game the pass short of the 1st went to Jason Snelling).

All season long the critique against the Falcons has been consistency for an entire 60 minutes. Atlanta has outscored its opponents 57-36 in the first half but has been outscored 68-37 in the second half.

Three opportunities inside the redzone produced a mere 6 points for the Falcons (2 FGs). In the second quarter, the Falcons offense sputtered, wheezed and came to a halt turning the ball over on downs at the Pats 7.

Efficiency in the red zone is crucial. “Well, our red zone efficiency was not what we needed it to be, again, in this ballgame,” said Falcons Head Coach Mike Smith. “We’re just not executing like we need to in the red zone.”

When New England went up 30-13 in the fourth; quite a few fans wearing red and black threw in the towel and headed for the doors. By the time many of them made it to their cars or the MARTA train platform, the Falcons had begun to make their move.

Matt Ryan moved the ball quickly down the field with air strikes to Harry Douglas, Roddy White and Julio Jones. Before 2 minutes had elapsed off the game clock Tony Gonzalez had his second touchdown reception of the night.

Trailing still by 10, Coach Smith called for and recovered the on-side kick. An acrobatic 20 yard catch by Julio Jones put the Falcons in the red zone once again. They made it as far as the Pats 7 yard line before settling for the field goal that set up the dramatics later on.

New England’s defense made the plays it needed on the final drive. After Ryan’s first two passes intended for Douglas and Gonzalez missed, Patriots defenders Devin McCourty and Don’t’a Hightower stopped the three yard dump to Rodgers 7 yards shy of the first down marker. Aqib Talib did the rest. Talib timed his jump just right knocking the 4th down pass away from Roddy White in the end zone.

The Falcons move to 1-3 on the season despite a 421 yard performance from Matt Ryan. New England’s Draft day trade for former Tampa Bay bruising back LeGarrette Blount paid big dividends.




New England Patriots 30 - Atlanta Falcons 23
Slideshow

Photos - Jake McDonald, CORE 360 Magazine
  • The New England Patriots wait in the tunnel for the introduction.

  • Osi Umenyiora calmly walks through the flames onto the field during introductions.

  • Tony Gonzalez makes a catch between two Patriots defenders.

  • Patriots defender Alfonzo Dennard pushes Falcons WR Roddy White out of bounds after the catch.

  • Matt Bosher knocks one through the uprights for the Falcons.

  • Kembrell Thompkins can't hold onto the pass from Tom Brady.

  • Patriots DB Aqib Talib breaks up the pass intended for Julio Jones.

  • Falcons DB Robert Alford upends Patriots RB Stevan Ridley.

  • Patriots tackle Sebastian Vollmer leads RB Brandon Bolden around the right side.

  • Patriots TE Matthew Mulligan hauls in a touchdown pass from Tom Brady.

  • Patriots TE Matthew Mulligan celebrates after hauling in a touchdown pass from Tom Brady.

  • Falcons QB Matt Ryan sets his feet to pass against the Patriots defense.

  • Falcons TE Tony Gonzalez clamps down on the pass from Matt Ryan.

  • Patriots LB Dont'a Hightower twists around the head of Tony Gonzalez by the facemask after the Falcons TE makes a reception.

  • Patriots WR Kembrell Tompkins makes the leaping grab over Falcons S William Moore.

  • Falcons RB Jason Snelling is upended and sent airborn at the line of scrimmage.

  • Falcons LB Joplo Bartu gets the business from Patriots tackle Sebastian Vollmer.

  • Patriots WR Kembrell Tompkins makes a grab in front of the Falcons rookie DB Desmond Trufant.

  • Patriots WR Julian Edelman makes a leaping catch in front of Falcons DB Robert McClain

  • Patriots WR Julian Edelman heads upfield chased by rookie DB Robert Alford.

  • A gang of Falcons defenders chase after Patriots RB LeGarrette Blount.

  • Falcons DE Jonathan Massaquoi tackles Patriots RB Stevan Ridley for a loss.

  • Falcons DB Desmond Trufant chases after Patriots RB LeGarrette Blount. Blount scored on the 47 ard run.

  • Falcons RB Jacquizz Rodgers tries to spin out of the hit from Patriots DB Aqib Talib

  • Patriots WR Kembrell Tompkins makes a grab in front of the Falcons William Moore and Robert Alford.

  • Falcons DB Robert McClain takes down Julian Edelman.

  • Patriots WR Kembrell Tompkins dives into the end zone for a touchdown.

  • Falcons QB Matt Ryan is intercepted by Patriots DB Aqib Talib.

  • Falcons DB Robert Alford pulls at the arm of Patriots WR Josh Boyce.

  • Falcons DB Robert Alford wraps up Patriots WR Kembrell Tompkins.

  • Falcons TE Tony Gonzalez makes a spectacular catch on the touchdown pass from Matt Ryan.

  • Falcons WR Roddy White looks the pass in to his hands in front of Patriots DB Aqib Talib.

  • Falcons TE Tony Gonzalez picks up 9 yards on the pass from Matt Ryan.

  • Falcons WR Harry Douglas shoots out the stiff arm to Patriots DB Kyle Arrington.

  • Atlanta WR Julio Jones grabs some air to make the catch over Alfonzo Dennard.

  • Patriots DB Kyle Arrington wrestles Falcons WR Julio Jones to the 16 yard line after a 20 yard reception.

  • Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichek

  • Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichek talks to QBs Tom Brady and Ryan Mallett

  • Patriots DB Aqib Talib breaks up the touchdown pass intended for Roddy White to end the game.

  • Falcons Head Coach Mike Smith congratulates Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick after the game.

  • Patriots QB Tom Brady shakes hands with Falcons TE Tony Gonzalez after the game.

  • Patriots QB Tom Brady jogs off the field.




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