FOXBORO, Mass. — Some next-day notes from the New England Patriots’ 23-7 win over the Atlanta Falcons:
— After not seeing the field for three consecutive weeks, veteran Patriots linebacker David Harris played a significant role on defense Sunday for the first time this season.
Harris started at middle linebacker, played 19 defensive snaps and finished with three tackles against the Falcons while also logging three snaps on special teams.
“As always, I think David works hard and is very well prepared and did all of the right things that we would want him to do from an assignment standpoint,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who has praised the 33-year-old throughout this season, said Monday in a conference call.
“He gave us some good plays, was in on a few plays. Again, handled the communication in the front well. We?ll see if we can build on it. We?ve got a lot of good play from a number of guys, and he?s certainly part of that group.”
Before this weekend, Harris had played just seven snaps in a Patriots uniform and had recorded only one tackle. His increase in playing time coincided with starting linebacker Elandon Roberts being inactive with an ankle injury.
“We know what he’s capable of as far as what he’s done in this league for a long time,” defensive end Trey Flowers said of Harris. “For him to be able to be prepared whenever his name is called and go out there and make some plays, it was good.”
Harris spent the previous 10 seasons with the New York Jets before signing with the Patriots this past summer.
— One rising star for the Patriots over the past two weeks has been Johnson Bademosi, who’s emerged as a more-than-capable cornerback after being limited to special teams duty early in the season.
Bademosi, who now has started two games in place of the injured Stephon Gilmore and Eric Rowe, has yet to let up a big play, allowing five catches on six targets for 54 yards against the Jets and Falcons. He broke up one pass Sunday and also finished tied for the team lead with seven tackles.
“He’s been one of the elite players in this league for a long time in the kicking game,” Patriots special teams captain Matthew Slater said. “His approach to the game, and some of his things — I may have stolen a thing or two from him over the years.
“But the one thing about Johnson that you’re really getting a chance to see now that he’s playing more defensively is his competitive spirit. I think that’s one thing that’s always made him a unique player in this league. (He’s) not afraid to compete, not afraid to line up against anybody and go out there and lay it on the line.”
— The fog that engulfed Gillette Stadium during the second half of Sunday’s game forced the Patriots’ video team to get creative.
“The second half was tough,” Slater said. “Kudos to our film guys — they started filming the Jumbotron in the stadium, which I thought was brilliant, so that we could actually see some of that stuff. But man, it was brutal towards the end of the game. You couldn’t see anything.”
Belichick also addressed the fog during his conference call, saying the “whiteout” conditions made it next to impossible to rewatch parts of the game.
— Cassius Marsh blocked one Falcons field-goal attempt, and Jonathan Jones nearly got his hands on another. Jones was a split second too late as he applied pressure off the edge, but Matt Bryant pushed the attempt wide left regardless, clanging it off the upright.
“Jonathan has done a great job since he got here of applying pressure off the edge on PATs and field goals,” Slater said. “And I think when you turn on the film and you see No. 31 darting across the screen, it’s definitely going to be in your head as a kicker and as a protection unit. I think he’s been applying good pressure all year. (Sunday) night, we really saw that come to fruition, and it was big for us.”
Thumbnail photo via Stew Milne/USA TODAY Sports Images