The New England Patriots shuttled southward to meet-and-greet the Atlanta Falcons. Televised on Fox, the predatory birds’ second pre-season game began with the home team receiving the kick-off. Matt Ryan quarterbacked during the Falcons’ first possession. Matt Bryant kicked a forty-six yard field goal six minutes into the quarter. Atlanta 2 and New England 0. Tom Brady donned his QB shoes next for the Patriots. He and his teammates made football look easy. Wide receiver Randy Moss nearly made a touchdown catch but Falcons cornerback Chevis Jackson and safety Erik Coleman rendered that pass incomplete. A few plays later, running back Fred Taylor ran the ball twenty-eight yards for a TD. New England 7 and Atlanta 3.
The top of the second quarter demonstrated a more focused Falcons offense. Matt Bryant attempted a forty-seven yard FG at the end of the possession. Kroy Biermann sacked Brady, which preceded a wide right forty-one yard Stephen Gostowski FG. A personal foul on Chevis Jackson gave the Patriots an automatic first down. Though Biermann made another defensive play, Brady connected with rookie Patriot tight end Aaron Hernandez for a TD. New England 14 and Atlanta 3. John Parker Wilson went in as QB upon return from commercial break (with five minutes left in the second quarter). Patriots rookie cornerback Jonathan Wilhite intercepted John Parker Wilson’s pass meant for wide receiver Eric Weems. Brian Hoyer set to QB duties for the Patriots.
Hoyer and Parker Wilson continued as QBs for their respective teams in the third quarter. Seven minutes into the second half, Patriots running back Sammy Morris carried the ball twenty yards into the end zone. New England 21 and Atlanta 3. The third sprang to the fourth with the Patriots recovering a fumbled Falcons ball. The fourth quarter burst out with a TD by tight end Rob Gronkowski. New England 28 and Atlanta 3. After getting sacked towards the bottom of the fourth quarter, John Parker Wilson threw a TD pass to wide receiver Troy Bergeron. Chris Redman took to the field for the final minute and a half of the game. New England 28 and Atlanta 10. Final score. Sure, I’d have liked the Falcons to win, but losing to the Patriots by fewer than twenty points in the pre-season isn’t that bad, is it?
Observations & Miscellania:
1. Pre-game footage included a brief shot of Tom Brady walking into the Georgia Dome and wearing a suit. His hair has grown past his ears; he looks like a hockey player.
2. Matt Ryan is glowing. Is it confidence? Bone structure? Il est beau.
3. Joe Buck and Troy Aikman narrated this evening’s game. Joe wore a light pink-lavender tie, an off-white button-down shirt, and a black blazer. Troy wore a dark blue and light blue tie with stripes, a cornflowery button-down shirt, and a dark blue blazer.
4. The Fox score and quarter graphic looks different and is ill-placed. It was unassuming last season and sat in the upper left corner. Now, it’s rounder, bigger, more colorful and is in the upper left portion of the screen–roughly two inches into the screen (from the edge of the set). The Fox logo is in the upper right of the screen.
5. Did Troy Aikman refer to Tom Brady as “dreamy” immediately before the telecast cut to a commercial following Matt Bryant’s first quarter field goal?
6. Can’t sleep? No problem. You might be smarter than your sleep-before-midnight brethren.
8. Upon returning for the second half, cameras caught former Falcons coach Jim Mora signing dollar bills for fans in the stands.
9. Mike Pereira joined Joe Buck and Troy Aikman in the booth during the third quarter.
11. Number 28 on the Patriots side was chewing gum in a sidelines huddle.
12. Slow-motion footage of the Falcons sidelines after Bergeron’s TD had Matt Ryan and Chris Redman both congratulating John Parker Wilson (Ryan patted him on the back).
13. Tom Brady hugged Matt Ryan when the game was over. They both patted each other’s left breast…you know, the area between the arm pit and the chest.
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