The Falcons began the game by marching straight down the field, but were stopped in the red zone and had to settle for three points.
A couple of drives later, the Patriots had their own scoring drive, going 75 yards in 12 plays. The drive included a total of ten runs, and was capped off by a one yard Tom Brady to Matthew Mulligan throw on third and goal. It was Mulligan's first catch of his Patriots career.
The key play of the first half may have been a 4th and two from within the 10 that the Falcons couldn't convert due to a Matt Ryan overthrow.
The Patriots would tack on a field goal late in the first half off the turnover on downs, keyed by a beautiful 49 yard Tom Brady to Kenbrell Thompkins hook-up. Brady underthrew Thompkins, but the undrafted rookie was able to elevate over Falcons safety William Moore and come down with the catch.
Atlanta was able to tie up the game late with a long drive of their own. The Falcons went eight plays and eighty yards, finishing things off with a 21 yard Matt Ryan to Tony Gonzalez score. The Patriots did a nice job shadowing Julio Jones and limiting him in the first half (2 catches, 6 yards), but Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has done a nice job spreading the football around. The Patriots have had a particularly difficult time containing the veteran and future Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez.
Of course, the big story of the first half was the right ankle injury suffered by defensive tackle Vince Wilfork in the first quarter. We'll have more updates on that story as they become available.
New England will receive the ball to begin the second half.