Patriots Hold off Falcons 30-23

Mike DussaultSenior Analyst ISeptember 29, 2013

ATLANTA - AUGUST 19:  Safety Eric Brock
Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

The New England Patriots needed a fourth-down stop at the end of the game to hold on for a 30-23 win over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday night.

The Falcons took an early 3-0 lead after an impressive first drive that saw them run the no-huddle.

Matt Ryan's first drive looked good, but they could not find the end zone from inside the Patriots' 10-yard line. Penalties stalled the Falcons second drive.

The Patriots found some success on the ground with their running backs in the second quarter, with Tom Brady capping off a long drive with a touchdown pass to Matthew Mulligan. That gave the Pats a 7-3 lead.

The defensive struggle continued, with the Pats stopping the Falcons on fourth down, deep inside their own territory. Tom Brady then took the team on a field goal-scoring drive, on the back of a 49-yard completion to Kenbrell Thompkins.

The Falcons put together a deadly drive just before the half, with Matt Ryan capping it off with a touchdown pass to Tony Gonzalez to tie the game at 10.

The second half started with both teams struggling to move the ball. New England put together a solid drive with their second possession but ran out of gas at the Falcons' four-yard line. They settled for a field goal to take a three-point lead.

LeGarrette Blount's 47-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter put the Pats up by 10. After an Atlanta field goal the Pats extended their lead to 27-13 on a great touchdown catch from Kenbrell Thompkins. Julian Edelman set the Pats up witha  44-yard catch and run on third down to get the Pats into Atlanta territory.

Tony Gonalez added a late touchdown for the Falcons, his second of the night. After a recovered onside kick by the Falcons, they tacked on three more points to pull within a touchdown.

Tom Brady fumbled a 4th-down snap to give the Falcons a last possession with a chance to tie the game. After a long completion to Julio Jones took the Falcons inside the Patriots' red zone, the Pats' defense came up with a fourth-down stop to hang on for the win.