Demise of Patriots Put on Hold. Again.

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.

Red Sox

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.

Bruins/Celtics

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.

  • Chris

    I wonder if the Atlanta Urinal & Constipation ran Borges’ column today. He seemed to put the onus squarely on the Falcons for not playing well. In other words, his ‘world view’ is that the Falcons are better, all things being equal. But they never are equal, are they Ronnie?

    • L3s

      Right Chris, and never mind the fact that Borges was right, that every team that’s beaten the Patriots in the last 2 1/4 seasons has pressured the hell out of Brady and beat the crap out of the team. And never mind that Atlanta RARELY sent anyone after Brady yesterday and he picked them apart–which is what, I believe, Borges wrote today.
      Never let the facts get in the way of a good rant, right Chris?

    • Boston Dan

      I thought that article was perfectly reasonable, especially from Borges.

      It ends with:

      “If you want to search for answers, they were the better team.”

      They were, and the Falcons’ passive approach helped make it that way.”

      Do you think Brady has looked sharp so far, Chris?

      Galloway and Edelman have had their issues, but from my couch, Brady seems to be missing high quite a bit.

      • Classless

        Ok, so you take the stand that Atlanta beat itself. Then, if that’s the case, they aren’t worthy of the Top 5 ranking they were being accorded all week. Ryan isn’t a top QB yet and, no, I wouldn’t want him over Brady. Good teams don’t beat themselves and Atlanta simply is overrated.

  • Boston Dan

    “Jonathan Comey in his Monday Morning Fullback column looks at Josh McDaniels’ fast start in Denver.”

    Comey still has a lot to learn. He’s waffling big time in that article.

    Jon, were the Broncos first three opponents weak and does that matter or not? Make up your mind. Logic tells us that the Broncos 3-0 record most likely is a fluke. They might contend with the Chargers for the weak division title for a while, only because the Chargers are already so beat up, but I hope Jon didn’t mean that he thinks the Broncos are already Super Bowl contenders.

    They beat the Bengals, by far the best of their first three opponents with a the flukiest of all touchdowns in week one!!!

    The Browns are awful and the Raiders are even worse. Jamarcus Russell is the worst QB I’ve ever seen.

    And by the way the AFC is looking pretty lame so far in general.

    As far teams that have looked from decent to very good I see the Jets, Pats, Ravens, Bengals, Colts, Chargers and Broncos competing for six playoffs spots. Is that what Comey meant by contending?

    In the NFC, I see ten teams that will make the playoff race interesting.

    • Boston Dan

      by the way, that list of AFC teams isn’t in order of quality.

      • Classless

        maybe Denver is fraudulent, but 3 wins in the NFL are tough to get.

  • Romdos

    Did anyone catch Gasper referring to a promotion yesterday on the Pats pregame show? I’m interested to see how boston.com is reorganizing in the face of the competition from espn

  • Tony

    Did Borges consider that maybe the Falcons didn’t bring as much pressure on Brady because the Pats were running quite effectively yesterday? Maybe their game plan WAS to pressure him, but the Pats’ more balanced approach on offense yesterday put the kibosh on that? I guess we’ll never know, but it’s hardly a surprise that Borges went out of his way to downplay New England’s best two-way performance of the young season, is it?

    • Bruce, NV

      No surprise at all, Tony. None at all.

      • Butch

        When Belichick went for on 4th down from his OWN 24 yard line and made it? I bet Borges cried like a schoolgirl. In fact it wouldn’t surprise me if before the play Borges was in the press box chanting, “DEE-FENSE!…DEE-FENSE! …….Just for the hell of it, could you imagine what things would be like around here if the Pats were stopped,the Falcons took over and scored and ended up winning the game?……Great Mother of God, I shudder to think about it. It would have been a wet dream come true for some members of the media……thank god they picked it up……

        • Jackson

          There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that some local media members (Borges, Felger, Massarotti, et al)root against the Patriots every week.

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