Game Balls & Goats: Week 4 Falcons

The Patriots held on to beat the Atlanta Falcons Sunday night in the Georgia Dome. Who deserves credit (Game Balls) and who deserves blame (Goats)? We hand out ours here.


1) Tom Brady – It would seem irrelevant to keep issuing game balls to the quarterback of the team, but in Brady's case, that's not so.  Brady is without his top 5 targets from 2012, and his current group continues to have the dropsy's.  This time, Brady's new favorite, KT didn't have that issue. Brady finished with 316 passing yards a pair of TDs and a 119.8 rating (his best of the season).

2) Aqib Talib – Revis who?  Aqib Talib nearly single-handedly won saved the game for the Patriots. With Atlanta's top weapon Julia Jones catching just 50% of the passes thrown his direction, Talib then drew coverage on Roddy White on the Falcons desperation 4th-goal attempt.  Talib moved into position, reached through White's outstretched arms, and punched the ball away, without drawing an interference call.

3) Julian Edelman & Kenbrell Thompkins –  The Patriots' WR duo each managed to record over 100 yards on the day receiving with Thompkins (11 targets, 6 receptions, 127 yards) managing an amazingly acrobatic TD catch. Edelman (9 targets, 7 receptions 118 yards) caught nearly everything thrown his direction.  

Honorable Mentions:

Patriots Offensive line – not only did the Patriots o-line pass protect for Brady's best outing of the year, they pounded the Falcons D-line running the ball 10 times in a row to put the Pats in position for a 1-yd TD throw.  

Matthew Mulligan – ‘Who?' you ask.  The Patriots 4th string TE caught his first TD.

LeGarrette Blount – 9 carries for 64 yards a whopping 7.1ypc average.  Pounded Atlanta, and scored a TD.


1) The Injury bug – the bug bit again, grabbing Vince Wilfork's Achilles, to end the season of another Patriots top player.

2) Replay booth – What is the story with the NFL when the TV audience can get every replay angle, but the refs on the field cannot?  Sorry Bill Belichick they said, you cannot challenge a potential incomplete pass due to the lack of replay.  Then a botched spot that killed a Patriots drive at the 2 min mark, wasn't overturned?  Bad spot or bad replay? Both at fault.

3) Home Field Advantage -  The Falcons had every reason to have a home field advantage, but the crowd was quiet, or just barely noticeable at points in the game. Brady and co were never affected by the din, and operated efficiently without fear of poor communication.  Crowd was noticeably absent the whole game until the end when they had to be quiet because the Falcons had the ball.

Dishonorable Mentions:

The Power Rankers who had Atlanta ahead of the Patriots the first few weeks of the season.  Really? Tsk. Tsk.

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