After a down year following the departure of Tom Brady to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Bill Belichick’s New England Patriots Patriots once again look like one of the best teams in the NFL.
Their latest display of dominance came during Thursday Night Football, thrashing the lowly Atlanta Falcons 25-0 at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Rookie quarterback Mac Jones threw the only offensive touchdown of the game in the first quarter while the Patriots’ defense throttled Matt Ryan and the Falcons.
Atlanta quarterback Ryan was sacked four times and intercepted twice, and after being pulled from the game late with the lead unassailable, the Patriots defense intercepted backup’s Josh Rosen and Feleipe Franks once apiece.
After the game, which was the Patriots’ fifth-straight victory, Jones praised the whole team’s performance.
“It was a good team win and the defense stepped up and played really well,” the 23-year-old told the media.
“The goal is to score one more point than the other team and we were lucky enough to do that. It’s really hard to win in the NFL and you can’t take anything for granted. You just have to watch the film and get better, but at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is scoring one more point than the other team.”
The win continues the historic start to life in the NFL for Jones.
Ever since being drafted No. 15 in this year’s draft, he has grown from week to week, and in Thursday’s victory, became just the third quarterback in NFL history to win his first five starts on the road, the others being Dak Prescott and Ben Roethlisberger.
Jones was one of five quarterbacks drafted in an exciting crop of signal callers in 2021. While his Patriots are 7-4 this season, the rest combined record is 5-24 entering Week 11.
It is the first time Atlanta have been shut out at home since losing 33-0 to the Los Angeles Rams back in 1988.
The win brings the Patriots ever closer to the top of the AFC standings as they aim to qualify for the playoffs, while the Falcons fall to 4-6 following their second straight humbling loss.
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After the win, Belichick called it a “short week but good week.”
“Good effort by everyone. Coaches, staff players, obviously on a short week,” he said. “Falcons really played very competitively tonight, and good to come away with a win.
“We got some big plays defensively. Nick (Folk) made some kicks and we did enough offensively to score enough points to get ahead and win. Hopefully, we can just play a little bit more consistently. We had obviously way too many penalties. Kill us in the return game, killed us offensively.
“We got to do a better job there. But it’s good to get to come down here and get a win and get a couple of days here this weekend to kind of catch our breath and then be ready to go.”