Don’t let New England’s win fool you – the Pats are far from fixed

Patriots 26, Falcons 10.

The Patriots are back right? They rolled over a good Falcons team today and they’re back. They’re ready to take control of the AFC East again and stomp everyone in their way.

Uh, not quite.

The Patriots definitely deserved to win Sunday because they were the better team. But the Falcons should be embarrassed by their effort, because they were outplayed and outcoached in every phase of the game. Simply put, Atlanta wasn’t ready to go into New England today and earn a victory.

This game is a perfect example of how stats sometimes lie. Tom Brady threw for 277 yards and a touchdown on 25 of 42 passing, but if he were more efficient, his numbers should have been dazzling. The Falcons were brutal defensively. They generated zero pressure, allowed Brady to sit back in the pocket for minutes at a time and were completely unimaginable in their play calling.

Brady had all day to throw and yet he could only muster 277 yards. Don’t be fooled by his stats – he wasn’t that impressive today as he consistently overthrew open receivers and benefited from the horrendous play of Atlanta cornerback Chris Houston and one of his offensive lineman holding on a fourth quarter touchdown pass to Chris Baker to seal the game. (Seriously, John Abraham was molested as the New England O-line bear-hugged him and the refs did nothing.)

What was impressive was the way New England moved the ball on the ground. The Pats churned out 168 rushing yards and controlled the game on the ground by eating up the clock and keeping the chains moving. The Pats won because of their running game – not because of the pedestrian play of Brady, although the mass media will probably have you believe otherwise.

Defensively, the Pats played much better today than they did the previous two weeks. But they benefited by Michael Turner fumbling in New England territory and also by a pass interference call on Michael Jenkins in the third quarter, a play that could have given Atlanta a 17-16 lead. The call could have gone either way because Jenkins was jostling back and forth with the Patriot defender, but the refs sided with the Patriots, which they seemed to do all day. (See the molest/hold on Abraham, as well as a crap roughing the passer call against Jamaal Anderson in the first half, which helped the Pats net a field goal.)

I think we learned two things from this game: The Falcons aren’t an elite team yet and the Patriots are far from fixed. Neither team was impressive, even though some pundits will have you believe that New England’s problems were solved with this victory. Had Atlanta been prepared, this game would have been closer.

That said, a win is a win and the Pats played better today then they have the past two weeks.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

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