“Rise Up” is both the marketing slogan and the rallying cry that the Falcons use.
It was the Patriots’ defense that was forced to rise up twice in the fourth quarter to protect what looked like a certain victory.
The first time came after a botched onside kick recovery by rookie tight end Zach Sudfeld gave the ball back to the Falcons at their 48 down 10 with 4:22 to go. Atlanta advanced to the New England 7, but the defense forced a short field goal.
The Patriots recovered the next Atlanta onside kick, but Brady fumbled on fourth and 1 from the Atlanta 37, giving the ball back to the Falcons with 1:50 to go. But the defense dug in its heels to avoid a monumental collapse.
After years of the defense relying on Brady, the tables have been turned, balance has been restored.
The defense is the real thing with no artificial ingredients to its success.