Patriots take Falcons down a notch

Getty Images/J.Rogash

Getty Images/J.Rogash

The Falcons were handed their first loss of the year by the New England Patriots with a 26-10 defeat in their first road game of the season. For the most part the Falcons were neither spectacular on either side of the ball. They kept it close for the first half, but could not get things rolling in the second half.

Matt Ryan led the team completing 17 of 28 passes for 199 yards. Michael Turner had 56 yards on the ground on 15 carries with a touchdown, but had a costly second quarter fumble. Michael Jenkins led receivers with 5 catches for 78 yards. Roddy White added 4 catches for 24 yards and Jason Snelling had 3 for 41 yards. Tony Gonzalez was limited to 1 catch for 16 yards, which he did not make until the open minutes of the fourth quarter. Turner’s fumble came with four minutes remaining in the first half, just after the Falcons had made a stop on the Patriots offense and were driving into Patriots territory. The Pats subsequently got the ball back and drove down the field to get a last minute field goal to go into the half with a  13-10 lead. Starting the second half, the Patriots scored on another field goal. Then the Falcons were able to take the lead but an offensive pass interference negated a 36-yard Michael Jenkins touchdown catch, which then forced them to punt a few plays later. The Patriots then drove down the field to get another field goal giving them a 19-10 lead and they never looked back. The Falcons offense did not convert a third down in the second half, having converted 2 of 5 in the first half, and even converting a fourth down as well.

Defensively, the Falcons gave up a lot of yards, including 277 in the air and 168 on the ground, but were able to hold the Patriots several times in the redzone. The Patriots only scored a touchdown once in their four trips inside the red zone, settling for three field goals. Curtis Lofton led defenders with 19 tackles, by far a carer high. Kroy Biermann (6 tackles), Erik Coleman (9 tackles), Chauncey Davis (5 tackles), Thomas DeCoud (5 tackles, 1 pass defended), Chris Houston (6 tackles), Trey Lewis (6 tackles), Stephen Nicholas (7 tackles), Mike Peterson (11 tackles, 2 for loss), and Brian Williams (8 tackles, 1 pass defended) had noteworthy games. The Falcons were unable to force a turnover for the first time this season, and were unable to provide significant pressure to Tom Brady as they did not record a single sack.

Jason Elam hit his lone field goal attempt of 26 yards. Michael Koenen had 5 punts for an average of 38.8 yards with 1 placed inside the 20-yard line. Eric Weems had 5 kickoff returns for an average of 27.8 yards. Weems also added two stops on special teams.

The Falcons will hope to regroup with an upcoming bye week, allowing some of their players to get healthy. They will again go on the road following the bye to take on the San Francisco 49ers, who are off to a surprising 2-1 start this season.

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Aaron Freeman
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