New England Patriots: 5 observations from week 7 win over Falcons

FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 22: Tom Brady /
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FOXBORO, MA – OCTOBER 22: Malcolm Butler
FOXBORO, MA – OCTOBER 22: Malcolm Butler /

Finally, a fantastic defensive performance

Swiss cheese? More like a cheddar cheese, because the Patriots defense was sharp and had no holes last night. Man I crack myself up.

In all seriousness, the Patriots defense was solid last night, holding the Falcons to just 353 yards of total offense, which is considerably lower than their NFL worst 440 yards allowed per game. They also held Matt Ryan to just 233 yards passing, which is the fewest passing yards they’ve allowed all season.

On the ground, the Falcons gained 120 yards with Devonta Freeman leading the way with 71. If not for a few big gains towards the end of the game and some long gains from Matt Ryan, these totals could have been significantly lower.

The front seven looked strong, often breaking through the offensive line and making tackles near the line of scrimmage. Kyle Van Noy lead the team with 7 total tackles, including two tackles for loss. In addition, Adam Butler recorded the only sack of the night and the first of his young career. With two rushes making up over 25% of the Falcons rushing yards for the night, the stats don’t do justice to how little running room the Patriots gave the Falcons.

The secondary, which has been a liability all season, contained the Falcons’ receivers and didn’t allow any big gains. The longest gain of the night was 22 yards. Not too shabby.

The defense played particularly well on third downs, forcing many punts, field goals (which were missed), and two aggressive attempts at fourth down conversions. They forced the Falcons offense off the field and gave our offense time to work.

My only critique, and it’s more of a personal vendetta, is towards Cassius Marsh. Why is this guy still on the field? Sure, he blocked a field goal last night, but he also lost edge containment on an early 4th down, allowing Matt Ryan to scramble for over 10 yards. Maybe if he spent more time studying cross-blitzes and less time drawing crosses on his face he’d produce more on defense. At least make a single tackle… which he didn’t last night.

Overall, it was a great night for theNew England Patriots defense. It was only a matter of time before they got it together, now let’s see if they can keep it together. Oh, and let’s see if we can get Stephon Gilmore on the same page when he’s healthy.