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(Sunday, September 27th)
Final Score: New England 26, Atlanta 10
Foxboro, MA (Sports Network) - Fred Taylor rushed for 105 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries as New England upended Atlanta, 26-10, at Gillette Stadium.
"Fred's run hard for us all year," admitted Patriots head coach Bill Belichick of the former Jacksonville Jaguar. "I thought our offensive line really did a much better job of coming off the ball than we have the last couple of weeks."
Tom Brady threw for 277 yards and a score on 25-of-42 completions for the Patriots (2-1), who got four field goals from kicker Stephen Gostkowski in the victory.
Randy Moss contributed 116 receiving yards on 10 catches and Chris Baker added a TD reception for New England, which erased a bitter defeat last Sunday against the New York Jets.
In his first game back in the region since the Falcons took him with the third overall pick in the 2008 draft, former Boston College signal-caller Matt Ryan threw for 199 yards on 17-of-28 passing for the Falcons (2-1), who had begun the season with victories over Miami and Carolina.
"I had never been down here. I have watched from a distance during my time at BC," Ryan admitted. "When you go somewhere, you have to produce, and you have to lineup against whomever you are playing against. So, it doesn't make a difference. You have to go out and execute."
Michael Turner rushed for 56 yards and a touchdown and Michael Jenkins logged 78 yards on five catches in the setback.
Atlanta's opening possession yielded a 26-yard field goal from Jason Elam, and New England responded on the following series by going 81 yards in 15 plays, lasting more than 8 1/2 minutes and ending with Gostkowski's 21-yard make.
Early in the second quarter, a shanked punt and illegal touch penalty set up the Pats on their own 49. Six plays later, Taylor swerved his way up the middle for an eight-yard score and a 10-3 contest.
On the next Atlanta series, Ryan's seven-yard completion to Roddy White on 4th-and-3 from the Pats' 34 was the key to a 59-yard drive. Turner completed the burst three plays later with a two-yard plunge that knotted the game at 10-10 a little more than six minutes into the second.
Gostkowski drilled a 33-yarder with 20 seconds left in the half, then hit from 22 yards out with nine minutes to play in the third quarter for a 16-10 New England edge.
A 33-yarder from Gostkowski seconds into the fourth quarter boosted the Pats advantage to nine, and a 36-yard Brady scoring pass to Baker with 7:47 to play gave the home team a 26-10 lead.
New England's defense forced a three-and-out, then Brady and the Pats offense converted one third down and a fourth down while holding the ball for the final 6:52 to wrap up the contest.
New England has won each of the last three matchups and evened the all-time series at 6-6...The Pats converted all three of their fourth-down tries in the game...The Patriots saw wide receiver Wes Welker inactive for the second consecutive week and running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis also on the sidelines...Patriots running back Laurence Maroney suffered a thigh injury late in the first half and did not return...Pats defensive tackle Vince Wilfork suffered an ankle injury also late in the first half and did not return as a precaution...New England racked up 445 yards total offense to 257 for Atlanta.
09/27 20:34:49 ET
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