It looked like the Patriots had a second straight blowout, but a late push from the Falcons made this game very interesting after many of the Falcons faithful had filtered out of the stadium.
This was an all-around effort with one true star: Aqib Talib. The Patriots cornerback was all over the field, knocking passes away and intercepting another fourth-quarter pass.
Check out the five stars of the game below.
Aqib Talib: The Patriots cornerback had another fantastic game, helping to hold Julio Jones and Roddy White to nine catches and 136 yards (though many of those yards came against other defenders). Talib had four passes defended and an interception.
Talib didn’t shadow Jones, but he had him for most of the game. Jones is a fantastic receiver, but Talib is playing at an All-Pro level early in the season against some top receivers. Talib made the big play at the end of the game, knocking the ball way from White.
Kenbrell Thompkins: Thompkins had two drops, but those mean less when he can also pull in six catches for 127 yards and a touchdown. The score came on a beautiful diving catch in the left side of the end zone.
Thompkins was consistently getting open, being targeted 11 times. Many of those incompletions were poor throws from his quarterback, though. Thompkins has grown a lot since his disastrous first two NFL games.
Tom Brady: He wasn’t perfect, but look at what he’s working with. Brady was 20-for-31 with 316 yards and two touchdowns.
He spread the ball around but really keyed in on Thompkins and Julian Edelman. It was Brady’s best game of the season by far, as he made some “vintage” throws.
Rob Ninkovich: He didn’t record any sacks, but the veteran defensive end was in the backfield consistently, pressuring Matt Ryan. He was even out in coverage a couple of times, helping out on the tight ends and running backs.
Ninkovich hasn’t looked too impressive on the standard stat line, but he’s constantly in the backfield and is constantly holding his ground on the left edge. The Falcons were held to 58 yards on 15 carries.
LeGarrette Blount: It was really only one 47-yard run, but without it, the Patriots might not have come away with this win. Blount will average three yards a carry, but he’s incredible at ripping off runs like he had in this game.
The running game in general was much better. Stevan Ridley had 11 carries for 53 yards, Blount had nine carries for 64 yards and Brandon Bolden had six carries for 17 yards.