ATLANTA (AP) — Led by a protection that’s downright nasty, the New England Patriots are immediately taking part in with the swagger of their Tom Brady years.

Mac Jones threw a 19-yard scoring cross to Nelson Agholor for the sport’s solely offensive landing and Kyle Van Noy and the New England protection took care of the remainder, blanking the Atlanta Falcons 25-0 on Thursday night time for the Patriots’ fifth straight victory.

New England Patriots security Adrian Phillips (21) and New England Patriots cornerback Jalen Mills (2) have fun stopping the Atlanta Falcons through the second half of an NFL soccer sport, Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

New England (7-4) has allowed simply 13 factors in its final three video games.

“We’re catching our stride,” stated linebacker Matthew Judon, who picked up one other sack to push his complete for the season to a career-best 10.5. “We’re playing with a lot of confidence.”

New England (7-4) wasn’t as dominating as 4 days earlier, when the Patriots blew out the Browns 45-7, however it was a radical beatdown of a feeble Falcons crew that hasn’t scored a landing in practically 9 quarters.

New England has its longest profitable streak since an 8-0 begin to the 2019 season, which turned out to be Brady’s closing 12 months with the Patriots.

“I feel like we’ve got one of the best defenses in the league,” stated cornerback J.C. Jackson, who had one of many 4 picks by the Patriots.

Atlanta (4-6) was shut out for the primary time since a 38-0 loss to Carolina on Dec. 13, 2015.

Matt Ryan was sacked 4 occasions and intercepted twice, enduing one other depressing efficiency — this one in prime time — after posting the bottom passer ranking of his profession in a 43-3 rout by the Dallas Cowboys final Sunday.

“It’s been a tough five days offensively,” Ryan stated. “We haven’t thrown the ball well enough, we haven’t run the ball well enough.”

The Patriots drove 76 yards in seven performs for a landing early within the second quarter.

Damien Harris did a lot of the soiled work, operating 4 occasions for 34 yards and grabbing a 9-yard cross, earlier than Agholor bought open over the center towards busted protection, hauled within the throw from Jones and scooted to the tip zone.

Jones accomplished 22 of 26 for 207 yards.

“It was a good team win,” the rookie quarterback stated. “The defense stepped up and played really well.”

Van Noy had two sacks and capped his good defensive efficiency with a 35-yard interception return for a landing off Falcons backup QB Josh Rosen.

Nick Folk booted subject targets of 32, 44, 53 and 33 yards.

Atlanta’s solely probability to make a sport of it got here after A.J. Terrell’s 35-yard interception return sparked a drive that reached the New England 16 within the closing minute of the third quarter.

On fourth and 1, the Falcons handed the ball to Qadree Ollison, who had been promoted from the apply squad simply earlier than the sport. He was swallowed up by the Patriots for no acquire.

Atlanta merely had no offensive punch with hybrid star Cordarrelle Patterson unable to go due to an ankle damage.

The Patriots devoted a lot of their consideration to rookie tight finish Kyle Pitts, limiting the first-round decide to a few catches for 29 yards.

Of course, any assembly between these two groups is bound to carry again recollections of the best comeback — and collapse — in Super Bowl historical past. In 2017, the Falcons squandered a 28-3 lead late within the third quarter and misplaced to the Brady-led Patriots 34-28 in additional time.

The Falcons ought to’ve recognized they had been in a for a protracted night time when a lunar eclipse occurring after the sport was set to final three hours — and 28 minutes.

Yep, one other reminder of 3-28.

The Patriots social media crew couldn’t resist just a little poke, sending out a tweet earlier than the sport that stated, “We weren’t going to mention it but … You can’t make this stuff up.”


The Patriots didn’t let up, even after the Falcons basically put up the white flag by pulling Ryan.

Van Noy dropped again into protection to choose off a cross that was supposed for Russell Gage, returning it for the TD that completed off the scoring.

The Falcons then despatched in third-string quarterback Feleipe Franks, who acquired the identical therapy from the New England protection.

On his solely play, Franks was intercepted by Adrian Phillips.

The Falcons turned the primary crew since Nov. 12, 2000, to have three QBs picked off in the identical sport. It final occurred when San Diego’s Jim Harbaugh, Ryan Leaf and Moses Moreno threw interceptions in a 17-7 loss to the Dolphins.


A horrible sequence within the second quarter epitomized Atlanta’s offensive woes.

On third and fewer than a yard on the New England 14, Ryan was thrown down by Van Noy for a 13-yard loss.

The Falcons nonetheless appeared to salvage some factors when Younghoe Koo kicked a 45-yard subject purpose, solely to have it wiped off the board by an unlawful formation penalty on lineman Jason Springs.

Forced to kick once more, Koo’s 50-yarder veered extensive left of the upright.

Patriots: Host the AFC-leading Tennessee Titans (8-2) Nov. 26 in what’s shaping as much as be one of many greatest video games of the 12 months.

Falcons: Travel to Jacksonville on Nov. 26 to face the woeful Jaguars (2-7).

The New England Patriots have received 5 video games in a row after their 25-0 resolution over the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday night time at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and it’s with an old-school formulation that sparks recollections of their early-2000s championship groups.

Led by a hard-hitting protection, an offense with rookie quarterback Mac Jones that depends on the shorter, quick-rhythm passing sport, and stable particular groups, they’re a bodily crew that performs complementary soccer. It’s a model of full-team soccer that has taken them far within the playoffs previously.

“I don’t want to brag too much,” cornerback J.C. Jackson said, “but I feel like we got one of the best defenses in the league right now.”

In reality, this was the location the place they beat the Los Angeles Rams 13-3 in Super Bowl LIII — a most up-to-date reminder {that a} powerful D paired with these complementary ingredient can lead them the place they wish to go.

“That’s something that you always have in the back of your mind, as a quarterback, you know you have a really good defense,” said quarterback Mac Jones. “You can try to get a feel for the way the game is being played based on the way they’re playing too.”

The Patriots’ subsequent 4 video games characterize arguably the toughest a part of their schedule — at house towards the AFC-leading Tennessee Titans (8-2), then back-to-back highway video games towards the Buffalo Bills (6-3) and Indianapolis Colts (5-5) earlier than a house date towards the Bills. They’ll have a bye after the primary Bills sport.

Judon’s profession excessive: Outside linebacker Matthew Judon’s second-quarter sack gave him 10.5 this season, setting a profession excessive. His earlier excessive was 9.5, with the Ravens in 2019. He’s the primary Patriots participant with double-digit sacks in a season since Chandler Jones in 2015. The 10.5 sacks are additionally essentially the most by a Patriots participant in his first season with the crew, with the prior excessive of 10 shared by Andre Carter (2011), Mark Anderson (2011) and Garin Veris (1985). An enormous-money free-agent signing — 4 years, $56 million, with $32 million assured — Judon’s contract has been a cut price.

Mac’s fast launch: The Patriots relied on the brief, quick-rhythm passing sport with rookie quarterback Jones, whose effectivity continues to impress. In the primary half, for instance, he averaged 4.5 air yards on his throws, going 13-of-13 on targets inside 10 yards of the road of scrimmage. He additionally averaged 2.30 seconds from snap to launch, per NFL Next Gen Stats. That contributed to the Falcons having bother producing constant strain. The first cross that Jones tried with greater than 20 air yards — which got here within the third quarter — was intercepted.

Run, run, run: The Patriots ran the ball 11 occasions within the first quarter, their most first-quarter rushes since Week 13 of final season. It was an early assertion that they supposed to impose their physicality on the Falcons, and lean on the mixture of Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson — rotating every again on a series-by-series foundation. Harris returned after lacking Sunday’s win over the Browns as a result of a concussion sustained in Week 9.

Eye-popping NextGen stat: Jones’ second-quarter landing cross to Nelson Agholor had 10.5 yards of separation, essentially the most of any of Jones’ 14 profession passing touchdowns this season. Also, it was essentially the most separation on a Patriots passing landing over the previous two seasons.


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