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Best known for accumulating video game-like statistics in 2007, the Patriots offense is having trouble converting in the red zone in 2009. How can they solve that problem? Score before you get to the red zone, of course! Brady hit a clutch 36-yard touchdown down the right sideline to Chris Baker on 3rd and 6, giving the Patriots a 16-point lead in the fourth quarter on their way to a 26-10 win.
Brady finished 25-42 for 277 yards and that touchdown pass to Baker, along with zero interceptions. He was much more comfortable in the pocket, and he can thank his offensive line (specifically Matt Light, who did a nice job blocking John Abraham), who didn’t allow a sack for the second consecutive game. The O-Line also opened up holes for the running game, which was led by Fred Taylor’s 105 yards on 21 carries and a touchdown run.
On the other side of the ball, Matt Ryan was decent in his return to New England, completing 17 of 28 passes for 199 yards. He didn’t throw for a touchdown, and didn’t get intercepted either as the Patriots defense did a nice job in coverage.
The Patriots held Michael Turner in check all game, even without the injured Vince Wilfork, who left the game early with an ankle injury. Turner finished 56 yards and the lone Atlanta touchdown on 15 carries.
In the drives that stalled deep in Atlanta territory, Stephen Gostkowski helped the Pats clean up with four field goals from 21, 33, 22, and 33 yards respectively.
Stay tuned for SoB-Jeff’s extra analysis in “What We Learned” about the game, and check back for additional game analysis throughout the week.