Updated with more links below.
There had been a lot of doom forecast this week regarding the Patriots. Sports radios hosts and callers, as well as national football writers felt that the high-powered Atlanta Falcons offense was going to come into Foxborough and run roughshod over the Patriots defense. Tony Gonzalez in particular would be a problem for New England.
The much-maligned defensive unit held Gonzalez to one catch on the day, and limited the vaunted Falcons offense to 10 points in a 26-10 Patriots victory at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots offense had red zone issues once again, but was able to move the ball on the ground and in the air all afternoon.
Mike Reiss says that the Patriots still have plenty of room for improvement after this one. Ian R. Rapoport has the Patriots answering their critics in an emphatic, straight-forward fashion on a dreary, wet day. Christopher L. Gasper has the Patriots coming out on top despite an offense that is still a work in progress. Jennifer Toland says that it turns out that the panic from last week was unfounded. Mark Farinella says that flawed victories are still victories. Tim Whelan Jr. calls this one a vintage effort from the Patriots. Tim Weisberg says that this was a step in the right direction for the Patriots. Glen Farley has the Patriots using the running attack in the win. Steve Krause has the Patriots using the running game to right the ship.
Bob Ryan says that while the Patriots are still a work-in-progress and need to improve, they’ll take this one. Ron Borges says that a poor game plan, not anything special that the Patriots did, doomed the Falcons. Jim Donaldson says that it was like old times for the Patriots defense. Bill Burt says that Fred Taylor provided a spark that the Patriots had been lacking. Tom King says that playing keep-away with the Falcons gave the Patriots the edge. Michael Felger says that this was an old-school win for the Patriots.
You might want to check out Spawn of Dumb Girl by Dan Snapp on Patriots Daily. Just sayin’.
Jonathan Comey in his Monday Morning Fullback column looks at Josh McDaniels’ fast start in Denver. Christopher Price rolls through 10 things we learned about the Patriots yesterday. Chris Warner has the Gut Check after this one.
Karen Guregian has the unheralded Patriots defense getting the job done against the Falcons offense. Hector Longo has the Patriots defense making a statement with their play. Eric McHugh has Brandon McGowan becoming an impact playmaker on the Patriots defense. King has the defense stepping up in the win.
Monique Walker has Tom Brady still trying to find his touch, but getting the job done anyway. Kirk Minihane isn’t buying this “Brady’s back” talk that we’ll be hearing all week. I really don’t think we’ll be hearing much of that. Brady’s issues with accuracy were there for all to see. Guregian has Randy Moss coming up big in the passing game despite a sore back. Donaldson says that Moss was probably able to sleep well last night after his effort.
Dan Duggan has Fred Taylor getting the bulk of the carries in the running game, and finishing with 105 yards and a touchdown. Julian Benbow has Taylor making the most of his opportunity. Rich Garven has the Patriots balanced attack with Taylor proving effective. Robert Lee says that Taylor may have run himself right into the Patriots future plans. Peter Gobis has the time of possession numbers in favor of the Patriots. Carmine Frongillo has Taylor showing he can still be depended upon.
Duggan has the Patriots offensive line improving in their protection of Brady yesterday. Farinella notes that a more balanced day was the key for the Patriots. He adds that the ground game was able to make up for the lagging passing attack of Brady. Jeff Howe has the offense getting better, but still struggling in the red zone. Krause credits a a much-improved game plan for the Patriots success yesterday.
Dan Ventura has Matt Ryan unable to recapture his Boston College glory in his return to New England. Michael Vega has a cold second half doing in Ryan in his return. Joe Sullivan has the Patriots making sure that Gonzalez wasn’t going to beat them. Lee has the Falcons saying that they were “outcoached” and “outplayed” yesterday. Gobis says that the Patriots spoiled homecoming for Ryan.
Ventura has the Patriots finally making a Long-distance connection yesterday. Lee serves up some Game analysis. Reiss hands out three stars in the win and three not-so-stars. Longo has his Two-minute drill. The Patriot Ledger has some Chalk Talk after the game.
Rapoport’s notebook has the Patriots losing Vince Wilfork to an ankle injury in the second quarter. Gasper’s notebook has more on the injury to Wilfork. Toland’s notebook looks at the decision to go for it on fourth down while backed up deep on their own 24-yard line. Young’s Patriots journal has the Patriots playing some improv yesterday. Whelan’s notebook looks at Taylor’s efforts in the win. Weisberg’s notebook has the Patriots frustrated at their lack of red zone production. He also notes an interesting argument in the press box during the game. Farley’s notebook says that it was an impressive win, but still not a perfect one.
The Red Sox were swept in New York this weekend, but creeped closer to a playoff berth anyway, as the Rangers lost to the Rays yesterday. The Red Sox magic number sits at two currently.
Adam Kilgore has the Red Sox watching the Yankees celebrate their 100th win of the season and another AL East title yesterday. Michael Silverman has the Yankees giving the Red Sox plenty to think about. Daniel Barbarisi says that the Red Sox still have some unfinished business to attend to. Dom Amore has the Yankees cutting loose after the game.
Nick Cafardo celebrates the Yankees’ “extraordinary regular season.” Sean McAdam has the Yankees taking care of business with remarkable efficiency. Steve Buckley wants another Yankees/Red Sox ALCS clash. Joe McDonald says that all the Yankees offseason spending has paid dividends. Amy Nelson has the Red Sox hoping to have their own celebration soon.
Buckley has Victor Martinez bringing the Red Sox leadership as well as on-field production. Pedro Gomez has Martinez getting more time behind the plate as the playoffs approach. Alex Speier says that the Red Sox weren’t bothered at seeing the Yankees celebrate.
Kevin Paul Dupont has Claude Julien looking for the right line combinations. Rich Thompson has Michael Ryder making the case to fill the spot on the top line vacated by the trade of Phil Kessel. Joe Haggerty has Blake Wheeler back on the right track.
Steve Bulpett has a peek at the key issues facing the Celtics as they get ready to start training camp with media day today.
Kilgore’s notebook has Victor Martinez’s hitting streak coming to an end in a pinch hitting appearance yesterday. Silverman’s notebook has Paul Byrd looking sharp yesterday. The Projo Red Sox Journal has the Yankees getting to Daniel Bard again. Amore’s notebook has the Red Sox focused on getting the wild card clinched.