The Aftermath: Patriots vs Falcons

Sammy Morris

Sammy Morris delivering a blow to Falcons safety Erik Coleman.

A topsy-turvy week following a good preseason showing against the defending champion Saints was followed by a trip down south to visit the Atlanta Falcons.  Some familiar faces were absent, but one was conspicuously present in the 28-10 victory.

Wes Welker was featured prominently on the opening drive for the Patriots, catching two balls and plenty of hits.  The quickness and separation were still there, and Tom Brady targeted him without thinking twice – definitely a positive step.

Fred Taylor and Sammy Morris were the featured backs tonight in the first and second halves, respectively. The veteran ball-carriers were able to impose their will on the Falcons defense, each springing a long touchdown run along delivering constant punishment to would-be tacklers.

Although it was nice to see the veterans perform well, it was truly a night for the youngsters.

Rookie tight ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski each caught touchdown passes, Hernandez’ coming from Tom Brady with the Falcons starters still playing. Gronkowski fanned badly on one block, but showed that he is truly a complete player. Four or five opponents were needed to bring him down with regularity.

Belichick on his stable of tight ends: “Alge is clearly the most experienced. …Rob and Aaron both have shown flashes of good things. They’ve got a ways to go but I think they’re working hard in making progress.”

The starting offensive line played decently, although they gave up an ugly sack on Tom Brady. The backups, however, were far more sloppy. Multiple false starts and missed assignments alternated with punishing run-blocking.

On the defensive side of the ball, Brandon Spikes continues to impress with his solid tackling – which has been a theme for the Patriots defense this preseason.

Devin McCourty and Pat Chung had good nights in the secondary, with Jonathan Wilhite intercepting a poorly thrown ball by Falcon backup John Parker Wilson.  Kyle Arrington delivered the hit of the night, leveling his receiver at the markers as he was catching the ball.

Ron Brace, in action for the first time this season, was pretty impressive.  His forced fumble was nice, but we were surprised that he was able to occupy some blockers in the running game and collapse the pocket on passing downs.

Zoltan Mesko consistently boomed 45+ yard punts, with little to no return by the Falcons.  Although it is never good to see your punter take the field, Mesko truly makes the situation a bit more palatable.

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2 Responses to “The Aftermath: Patriots vs Falcons”

  1. rob says:

    Young guys from last 2 drafts appear to be progessing nicely as team transisitons away from the harrisons & seymours to chung, spikes, et al.

    Hernandez could be steal of draft. REALLY surprised he lasted until 4th round. Should have been a 2nd round pick.

  2. Liam says:

    I know its only the preseason and these games are meaningless, but suddenly I’m feeling a lot better about the season. Some of BB’s picks from the last few years are starting to develop. Especially pleased with Brace’s performance, I think he owes this team. Pass rush is still the worry. Hopefully Cunningham can develop during the season. I get the feeling that when BB sees a DE/OLB he likes, the guy is kinda special. This offence has the potential to be scary good.

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