By: Tom Cloutier
New England’s defense showed up in full force for the first time this season against Atlanta’s offense.
After allowing 34 unanswered points to the Patriots in Super Bowl LI, it took another three and a half quarters for the Falcons to find the end zone against New England. New England’s defense, which had allowed at least 300 passing yards to every quarterback it had faced this season, was able to hold Matt Ryan at bay giving up just 233 passing yards to the 2016 MVP.
Much like last year’s Super Bowl, it was even through the first quarter, with neither team putting any points on the board. This time, however, it was New England who jumped out to a commanding lead scoring 17 points before halftime and later tacking on two field goals by the time Atlanta finally ended their scoring drought against New England with a garbage time touchdown.
The New England secondary looked sharper than it had all year, not faltering against tough match-ups with Julio Jones and Mohammed Sanu. The Patriot’s defensive line still shows signs of struggling as they allowed Matt Ryan to scramble effectively for much of the game. Ryan even rushed three times for 37 yards when he was unable to find a receiver downfield thanks to impressive pass coverage by New England.
New England has long since put the embarrassing first half of Super Bowl LI behind them, but Atlanta, playing in front of a stadium packed with flags and signs referencing their blown 28-3 Super Bowl lead, have yet to approach redemption.
Image Source: (Bleacher Report)