2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Patriots keep Falcons guessing, win again

By GEORGE HENRY - Associated Press
    2013-09-30 02:47

ATLANTA (AP) - Tom Brady never doubted the Patriots would find their offensive rhythm.

Coach Bill Belichick never doubted that New England could switch its coverages enough to confuse Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan.

Either way, the Patriots showed the moxie they needed to build a 17-point lead midway through the fourth quarter before closing out Atlanta with a 30-23 victory Sunday night.

New England returned home as one of three 4-0 teams in the AFC, though Miami could become the fourth with a victory Monday at New Orleans.

Unlike the Falcons, who have sunk to 1-3 while struggling to overcome the losses of running back Steven Jackson, linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, cornerback Asante Samuel and defensive end Kroy Biermann, the Patriots keep winning.

Two-time Pro Bowl tight end Rob Gronkowski has yet to make his season debut because of back and forearm injuries. Receiver Danny Amendola and running back Shane Vereen have been out since Week 1

At the Georgia Dome, the Patriots lost Vince Wilfork, their five-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle, to an ankle injury on Atlanta's opening drive.

Patriots receiver Aaron Dobson left the game midway through the third quarter after colliding with Falcons free safety Thomas DeCoud in the end zone.

But none of these setbacks slowed down New England.

Five reasons why the Patriots defeated the Falcons:

SILENCING THE CROWD: Over 70,000 fans filled the dome, where Ryan began the game 34-5 as a starter and where late comeback victories were a staple of the success he enjoyed in his first five years.

The place was still packed when Matt Bryant's 45-yard field goal cut New England's lead to 20-13 with less than 12 minutes remaining, but the Patriots quickly killed the crowd's spirit.

Brady connected with Justin Edelman for a 44-yard completion on third down and hit Kenbrell Thompkins with an 18-yard TD pass. Ryan tried to answer with a deep pass to Julio Jones, but Aqib Talib picked him off and Stephen Gostkowski followed with a 49-yard field goal.

That was all Atlanta fans needed to exit the building and leave Ryan to try mounting a comeback with the dome not even one-third full.

KEEP IT BALANCED: In the first half, Brady kept the Atlanta defense guessing by handing off 15 times for a 4.3-yard average on the ground and passed just nine times for 96 total yards.

In the second half, Brady was airing it out, hitting Edelman for three passes that covered 95 yards, Thompkins for three that covered 62 and Josh Boyce for one for 24.

And running back LeGarrette Blount took a handoff early in the fourth and gouged the Atlanta defense for a 47-yard touchdown.

PLAYMAKING CORNER: Talib might be the hottest defensive back in the NFL.

He had three interceptions before the game, and his fourth pick came against one of the league's elite receivers in Jones.

Talib simply outjumped Jones for the ball. Jones has battled ankle and knee soreness this season, but it's rare that any defender beats him like that.

And on the Falcons' last chance to tie with 41 seconds remaining, Talib dove to bat a potential 10-yard TD pass out of the hands of Roddy White.

RYAN COULD ONLY GUESS: With White far from full strength because of a high ankle sprain this season and Jackson's hamstring injury holding back Atlanta's running game, Ryan struggled to identify double-teams that New England used occasionally on Jones and 13-time Pro Bowl tight end Tony Gonzalez.

Gonzalez set a career-high with 149 yards receiving and made two acrobatic touchdown catches. Jones was targeted 13 times and finished with six catches for 108 yards.

But those numbers were empty, just like Ryan's career-high 421 yards passing.

``We wanted to switch it up on them,'' Talib said. ``Sometimes we double covered them. Sometimes we single covered them. We wanted to switch it up and keep them off balance a little bit.''

LET PLAYMAKERS EMERGE: Brady has been delighted with the emergence of Thompkins, whose hard work in practice and in the film room is paying dividends on the field.

``It's really rare to see that with a young player to step in with confidence like that he has. He played great tonight,'' Brady said. ``We're missing quite a few guys, so hopefully when we get them back, we'll be more efficient.''

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Arian FosterSep 23 12:43p

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (hamstring), who is day-to-day with a hamstring injury, is unsure if he'll be able to return in Week 4 against the Buffalo Bills. RB [ More ]

Deonte ThompsonSep 23 12:43p

The Baltimore Ravens re-signed WR Deonte Thompson Tuesday, Sept. 23. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

James HarrisonSep 23 12:43p

Pittsburgh Steelers LB Jarvis Jones (wrist) had surgery to fix his dislocated wrist Tuesday, Sept. 23, and he'll miss at least eight weeks. LB Arthur Moats is expected to [ More ]

Brandon MarshallSep 23 12:33p

Chicago Bears WR Brandon Marshall (ankle) was held to just one catch for six yards in the team's Week 3 win over the New York Jets Monday, Sept. 22. [ More ]

Martellus BennettSep 23 12:33p

Chicago Bears TE Martellus Bennett had five catches for 54 yards and two touchdowns in the Week 3 win against the New York Jets Monday, Sept. 22. He leads [ More ]

Mike TolbertSep 23 12:33p

Carolina Panthers FB Mike Tolbert (leg) was placed on Active/Reserve/Injured list Tuesday, Sept. 23.

D.J. SmithSep 23 12:33p

The Carolina Panthers signed D.J. Smith (Texans) to the active roster Tuesday, Sept. 23.

Eric BerrySep 23 12:33p

Kansas City Chiefs SS Eric Berry (ankle) is dealing with a high ankle sprain, according to a league source. Berry suffered the injury in Week 2 and sat out [ More ]

Kellen DavisSep 23 11:53a

The Baltimore Ravens are working out TEs Emmanuel Ogbuehi, Jake Murphy, Matt Mulligan and Kellen Davis. Dennis Pitta (hip) is headed to the Reserve/Injured list.

James HarrisonSep 23 10:23a

The Pittsburgh Steelers signed free-agent LB James Harrison (Bengals) to an undisclosed deal.

Eric DeckerSep 23 10:23a

New York Jets WR Eric Decker (hamstring) said he didn't re-injure his hamstring Monday, Sept. 22, but it just wouldn't loosen up. He said he pulled himself from the [ More ]

Denard RobinsonSep 23 09:33a

Jacksonville Jaguars RB Denard Robinson will start to receive more targets in the near future. He had eight carries for 33 yards in Week 3. 'I think that Denard [ More ]

Jonathan StewartSep 23 09:13a

Updating previous reports, Carolina Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart (knee) could miss a month due to his sprained knee, in the opinion of beat writer Joseph Person.

Sherrod MartinSep 23 09:03a

The Jacksonville Jaguars re-signed free-agent SS Sherrod Martin to an undisclosed deal.

Manti Te'oSep 23 08:33a

San Diego Chargers LB Manti Te'o (foot) will miss several weeks due to a fractured foot. He won't be placed on Injured Reserve, but he'll miss multiple weeks. The [ More ]

Bishop SankeySep 23 08:23a

Tennessee Titans RB Bishop Sankey's footwork is still an issue of concern to head coach Ken Whisenhunt, despite Sankey's 10-carry, 60-yard performance in Week 3.

Josh BynesSep 23 06:33a

Free-agent LB Josh Bynes (Ravens), who was cut from the team but brought to the practice squad at the start of September, will sign with the Detroit Lions within [ More ]

Marion GriceSep 23 06:23a

The Arizona Cardinals signed RB Marion Grice to a two-year contract Monday, Sept. 22, financial terms of which were not disclosed. Grice had been on the San Diego Chargers' practice squad.

Marcus EasleySep 23 06:23a

Updating a previous item, Buffalo Bills WR Marcus Easley (knee) suffered a sprained MCL and could be out 4-6 weeks. The team has not used its injured reserve/designated to [ More ]

DeAngelo HallSep 23 06:13a

Washington Redskins CB Bashaud Breeland, the team's fourth-round draft pick this year, could see more time on the field in the wake of the injury to CB DeAngelo Hall (Achilles').

Brandon MarshallSep 22 10:33p

Chicago Bears WR Brandon Marshall (ankle) was back on the field in the second half after leaving the team's Week 3 contest Monday, Sept. 22, with an ankle injury.

EJ ManuelSep 22 09:33p

Buffalo Bills QB EJ Manuel struggled with deeper passes in Week 3, completing just three of his 12 attempts. He didn't have a completion for more than 16 yards. [ More ]

Kam ChancellorSep 22 07:33p

Seattle Seahawks SS Kam Chancellor (knee) considered ankle surgery after Week 2, according to a source. Chancellor is dealing with bone spurs in his ankle, and he would have [ More ]

Alshon JefferySep 22 07:21p

Chicago Bears WRs Brandon Marshall (ankle) and Alshon Jeffery (ankle) are both active for the Week 3 game against the New York Jets. Both were questionable for the game.

Brandon MarshallSep 22 07:13p

Chicago Bears WRs Brandon Marshall (ankle) and Alshon Jeffery (ankle) are both active for the Week 3 game against the New York Jets. Both were questionable for the game.

Eric DeckerSep 22 07:13p

New York Jets WR Eric Decker (hamstring) is active for the team's Week 3 game against the Chicago Bears Monday, Sept. 22.

A.J. EddsSep 22 07:13p

The New York Jets have declared LB A.J. Edds, OG Ben Ijalana, OL Dakota Dozier, CB Dee Milliner, DE IK Enemkpali, DL T.J. Barnes, WR Walter Powell inactive for Week 3.

Ryan ShazierSep 22 07:02p

Pittsburgh Steelers LB Ryan Shazier's (knee) medial collateral ligament sprain isn't expected to be season-ending. Shazier was walking around with his right leg in a brace Monday, Sept. 22.

Keenan RobinsonSep 22 06:53p

Washington Redskins DE Chris Baker (ankle, hip), DE Kedric Golston (groin), DE Jason Hatcher (hamstring), LB Akeem Jordan (knee), DE Frank Kearse (ankle), OG Shawn Lauvao (knee), C Kory [ More ]

Ike TaylorSep 22 06:53p

Pittsburgh Steelers CB Ike Taylor (forearm) underwent surgery to fix his broken right forearm Monday, Sept. 22, and he is expected to be out six weeks.

Mike CatapanoSep 22 06:33p

The Kansas City Chiefs transferred DE Mike Catapano (undisclosed) from the Reserve/Non-Football Illness list to the Reserve/Injured list Monday, Sept. 22.

Eric DeckerSep 22 06:23p

New York Jets WR Eric Decker (hamstring) said he felt good while working out before the game and expects to play in Week 3.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group