Our 9-16 loss to division rival New York was hard. It was particularly hard because we couldn't shut Head Coach Rex Ryan's endless yapping. However, as Belichick might say, "That's in the past. We got a game this coming Sunday." BTW, can you guess what season we last matched up against Atlanta without looking it up? If you know the NFL scheduling rules, it's a piece of cake. I'll wait... Hint: We play each team in an NFC division every 4 years.
Our last matchup was October 9th, 2005 and it was a 31-28 victory for our Patriots. Tom Brady threw 23/27, 350 yards, and 3 touchdowns. The Falcons QB at the time, Matt Schaub, threw 18/34, 298 yards and 3 touchdowns as well. Even though Corey Dillon had 106 yards in 23 carries, Patrick Pass pounded in the first TD of the game with a 6 yard blast into the end zone.
Atlanta managed 3 TD's in the air, 2 Field Goals, and a 2 point conversion for 28 while the Patriots had 3 in the air, 1 on the ground, and, as was so often the case, an Adam Vinatieri 29 yarder with 20 seconds left to win the game by 3. To say this was a close game is putting it mildly.
Atlanta's a different team these days. Boston College alum, Matt Ryan, is tossing the pigskin for the Falcons. You remember Matt, don't you? A 6 year, $72 million contract with $34.75 million in guarantees raised a few eyebrows. Thinking that sum of cash was outrageous for a rookie, I hoped, to some degree, this BC grad would crash and burn. He didn't. The 11-5 Falcons nearly claimed the NFC South, but fell short when Carolina finished with a 12-4 record. Atlanta fell to the Arizona Cardinals in the first round of the NFC playoffs, 30-24.
A 2-0 Falcons, sharing the same record with division rival the New Orleans Saints, need this win to continue their reign at the top of the NFC South. Interestingly enough, Nawlins matches up against OUR division rival, the 1-1 Buffalo Bills. The ideal situation for us would be a win against Atlanta and a Saints beatdown of the Bills. Unfortunately, New Orleans would sit at the top of the NFC South and Atlanta would drop to second. You can see there's motivation for the Falcons to take it to our Patriots.
More to come tomorrow as I go through the Falcons' season up to this point.