ATLANTA, GA — Anyone wondering how quarterback Tom Brady would respond to his four interception performance of last week hopefully got their answer on Sunday.
He responded just fine.
The Patriots beat the Atlanta Falcons 24-10 on Sunday after Brady threw three touchdown passes and finished with another interception free performance. It was his fifth game in his six starts where he’s been mistake free.
The win evened New England’s record at 4-4 on the 2001 season, leaving them still very much in contention considering how wide open the AFC East still is. Miami currently leads the division at 5-2 with Indianapolis in second at 4-3, and New York in third at 5-3. The Bills are last in the division with a record of 1-6.
The Falcons took a 7-0 lead following a 19-yard touchdown pass from Atlanta quarterback Chris Chandler to former Patriots wide receiver Shawn Jefferson, but New England outscored them 24-3 from that point on and completely dominated them on both sides of the football.
New England’s defense racked up 9 sacks, including six to starter Chris Chandler and three to back-up Michael Vick who entered the game after Chandler was knocked out with an injury. Willie McGinest accounted for two of them, while Lawyer Milloy, Roman Phifer, Anthony Pleasant, Mike Vrabel, Bobby Hamilton, and rookie Richard Seymour each added one of their own.
As for the offense the Patriots offensive line helped runningback Antowain Smith rack up 117-yards on the ground, 88-of which came in the second half while New England tried to take time off the clock. Wide receiver Troy Brown lead the receivers with 5-catches for 99-yards including a very strange 44-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter.
The Patriots tied the score at 7-7 early in the second quarter on a 16-play 75-yard drive that resulted in a touchdown pass to runningback Kevin Faulk who was matched up on a linebacker and made a great leaping catch in the endzone.
After Falcons quarterback Chris Chandler was picked off by Otis Smith at the Atlanta 43-yard line, Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri kicked a 48-yard field goal and made the score 10-7 with 4:26 remaining in the first half.
On their next possession the Patriots drove from their own 11-yard line all the way to the Atlanta 15 where Brady hit Marc Edwards for a 15-yard touchdown strike to increase the lead to 17-7.
The Falcons ran back a 27-yard kickoff return, giving kicker Jay Freely a chance to cut the lead to 7 at the end of the first half on a 58-yard field goal attempt. However the kick was short, and the Falcons went into the locker room down by 10.
New England came out in the second half and got their next touchdown on a strange play that left the fans in Atlanta shaking their heads. New England quarterback Tom Brady attempted to hit wide receiver David Patten on a deep pass play, but Falcons cornerback Ashley Ambrose knocked the ball away and it deflected off his knee right into the hands of Patriots receiver Troy Brown who took it into the endzone for what was a 44-yard touchdown. New England increased their lead at that point to 24-7.
The Patriots later knocked out Atlanta starting quarterback Chris Chandler, and after rookie Michael Vick entered the game, he threw a 50-yard pass to receiver Brian Finneran who helped set up a 20-yard field goal which was their final scoring drive of the game.
New England returns home to play the Bills next Sunday in Foxboro.
Posted Under: 2001 Patriots Season