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Patriots coach Bill Belichick dictated most of the terms of Sunday night’s 30-23 win over the Falcons — emphasis on “most.”
On offense, the Patriots were going to outmuscle the Falcons’ undersized and undermanned front seven and run the ball straight at them. They ran the ball 10 straight times on one first-half drive, finished with a perfect 31/31 run/pass split and compiled 132 rushing yards and a 4.3-yard average.
And on defense, Belichick went all out to slow down two players: receiver Julio Jones and tight end Tony Gonzalez.
Jones’s impact was limited but Gonzalez was a different story. Gonzalez caught 12 passes for a career-high 149 yards and two touchdowns, and was simply unstoppable