New England Patriots at Atlanta Falcons 9/29/13 NFL Score, Recap, News and Notes
Final Score: New England Patriots 30, Atlanta Falcons 23
September 29, 2013
The early indications for the Week 4 edition of “Sunday Night Football” were that it would be a pass-heavy shootout from two of the league’s premiere offensive units. The Patriots came into Atlanta on Sunday with a shaky 3-0 record, set to prove themselves against the suddenly vulnerable Falcons, who had fallen to a surprise 1-2 after many pundits pegged them as a Super Bowl favorite out of the NFC this season.
Let’s take a closer look at the statistics and trends from this one as we determine exactly what happened throughout the course of the game. We’ll also check on each team’s Week 5 matchup and try to see what the future has in store.
What Happened: We expected a pass-heavy shootout in this one--and we got it, but not until later in the game. The Patriots had a 13-10 lead heading into the fourth quarter before opening the floodgates and building that lead to 30-13. The Falcons then stormed back with a furious passing assault, coming within inches of completing an improbable comeback.
Atlanta QB Matt Ryan’s last-chance fourth-down pass to Roddy White was deflected in the end zone with 36 seconds left in the game, and New England was able to seal the win 30-23.
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
The Stars: Patriots QB Tom Brady had his offense humming--even without big-name stars Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola. He tossed a nice 20-for-31 line for 316 yards and two touchdowns. The main beneficiary was the undrafted Kenbrell Thomkins, who has stepped up big-time over the past couple of games. He finished with six grabs for 127 yards and a TD. Julian Edelman also proved to be a reliable target, helping out with seven receptions and 118 yards.
LeGarrette Blount and Stevan Ridley helped out in the running game, posting 117 yards on 20 carries between them.
Defensively, Aqib Talib had an interception and a key pass deflection in the closing seconds to finish off the game in New England’s favor.
On the other side, Ryan came away with a pretty good game statistically: 34-of-54 for 421 and two touchdowns. The big dogs in the Atlanta receiving game were Tony Gonzalez (149 yards, two touchdowns) and Julio Jones (108 yards).
We’ll give a special mention to both kickers: Stephen Gostkowski and Matt Bryant both nailed three field goals and were perfect on the night.
The Goats: The Falcons’ running game--which was never really a point of strength for them--is hurting without Stephen Jackson. Jacquizz Rodgers and Jason Snelling both combined for just 58 yards on 15 carries. Atlanta doesn’t even seem like they’re trying to run the ball.
The glaring issue here, however, is the Falcons’ inefficiency inside the red zone. In six trips past the Patriots’ 20-yard line, they came away with just one touchdown, continuing an ugly trend of not being able to finish off drives.
Injuries: Besides the ailing Steven Jackson, the Falcons have some concerns on defense. CB Asante Samuel missed the game, and LBs Akeem Dent and Paul Worrilow both left with injuries.
The banged-up Patriots are a little more so now, as WR Aaron Dobson was forced out with a neck injury. Of even greater concern is DT Vince Wilfork, who injured his foot in the first quarter. According to reports, it’s a torn Achilles, which would most likely end the big man’s season.
Outlook: The Patriots will head out on the road again for another good one in Cincinatti next week. They’re coming off a loss to the Browns.
Atlanta will stay at home and try to avoid their third loss in a row. They’ll host the Jets, who suffered a mistake-filled blowout loss to the Titans this week.
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