Everyone had their eyes set on Sunday Night Football for week 7, Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons were set to take on the reigning Super Bowl champion New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium Sunday night in a much anticipated Super Bowl Rematch.
New England Patriots Square Off Against Atlanta Falcons In Super Bowl Rematch
A New Patriots Defense vs. A Strong Falcons Offense
Ready to receive the opening kickoff, the Patriots special teams were under a cloud of smoke caused by fireworks and musket shots from the back of the end zone.
As the game progressed, the smoke cleared but did not seem to make it any easier for the Falcons offense led by reigning MVP quarterback Matt Ryan, despite playing a New England defense who has struggled to say the least.
However, the Patriots offense seemed to be clicking on all cylinders under the direction of quarterback Tom Brady. Brady finished the game completing 21 of his 29 pass attempts for 249 yards. He also threw two touchdown passes, one to Brandin Cooks and the other to James White. White scored the game-winning touchdown in overtime in Super Bowl LI.
Heading into the half, the Patriots led the Falcons by a score of 17-0. This was the first time all season that the Patriots defense looked to be an issue for an opposing offensive coordinator.
A blocked field goal by Cassius Marsh in the first quarter kept the Falcons from taking the lead early on in the game.
Kyle Van Noy had a big-time tackle in the backfield on a fourth and goal play from the one-yard line keeping Atlanta off the board yet again.
Matt Ryan was still able to put up very respectable numbers which demonstrate the level of skill he possesses. Ryan finished with 233 yards passing, connecting on 23 of 33 passes thrown along with a touchdown.
Ryan wasn’t the only bright spot for Atlanta. Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones is one of the best in football and rightfully so. The Patriots were able to keep him out of the end zone until late in the fourth quarter on a fade route from Ryan. This was the only scoring play for Atlanta the entire game as they fell to the Patriots 23-7 in a one-sided rematch.
This loss was the third in a row for the Falcons, all coming against AFC East opponents. The Falcons are currently third in the NFC South at 3-3 after the loss. They will be on the road against their final opponent in the AFC East, the 3-4 New York Jets.
The NFC is still open for several teams to grab a bye in the playoffs as Aaron Rodgers has gone down with a broken collarbone. Also, there has been no sign of a team above and beyond everyone else. The only team that looks dominant is the Philadelphia Eagles who currently sit at 6-1 this season. The Falcons need to return to their ways of the start of the season when they were 3-0.
For the Patriots, they needed this win to stay atop the AFC East at 5-2 with the Dolphins and Bills both nipping at their heels with 4-2 records. Not only did they need this win as a team, but they received a great performance from the defense that has been well below par thus far. This was the first game that the New England defense hasn’t allowed 300 passing yards. It was shocking that it came against a highly rated offense and quarterback. The Patriots and their defense hope to keep the momentum going in week 8. They will host the Los Angeles Chargers who have rattled off three wins in a row to get close to .500 at 3-4 on the year. Both the Patriots and the Falcons have the potential to get back to the Super Bowl yet again.