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The Atlanta Falcons are no stranger to Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots. Bringing up their stunning Super Bowl loss is inevitable. Now that we have that out of the way, this is a new Patriots team (without Tom Brady) that Matt Ryan and the Falcons faced on Thursday night.
Rookie QB Mac Jones was finally able to shed the training wheels and New England’s defense has returned to true, dominant form in their five-game winning streak. The Falcons have had a beleaguered last few years since that big loss. This has led critics to point out selecting TE Kyle Pitts over the numerous young quarterbacks available, including Jones, in the 2021 draft.
To make matters worse for Atlanta, their wide receiver-turned-running back Cordarrelle Patterson was inactive with an ankle injury. He has emerged as a do-all type of player that has bailed Ryan and the Falcons out of serious trouble so far this season. They had to rely on Mike Davis, who has been mostly ineffective, perennial backup Wayne Gallman, Qadree Ollison, and Keith Smith in his place. Atlanta is also continuing their 2021 campaign without WR Calvin Ridley who remains absent from football to work on his mental health.
Belichick Continues to Remove Opposing Teams’ Biggest Threat
This game wasn’t just about eliminating Pitts. The Patriots laid a beat down on the Falcons through all four quarters. Ryan was harassed the entire game with 19 completions on 28 attempts for 153 yards and threw two interceptions. He had only nine completions on 13 attempts for 61 yards at halftime.
After the game was a runaway, both Josh Rosen and Feleipe Franks filled in and promptly threw two more interceptions on four combined attempts.
The run game was not only game-scripted out of the picture but New England’s defense padded their stats by holding them to only 40 total rushing yards. Ollison saw the bulk of the work…