At the beginning of the season, Tom Brady was ripping the hairs off his head in frustration while barking at his less-than-amazing rookie receivers. However, after a 30-23 victory against the Atlanta Falcons, the New England Patriots are 4-0 and looking like themselves again.
Here are the five biggest takeaways from the Patriots week 4 win.
Establishing a Run Game
With the likes of Peyton Manning lighting teams up these days, it seems as though the best defense is to keep your offense on the field. This is only possible with a strong run game.
New England’s running backs, Steven Ridley, Brandon Bolden, and LeGarette Blount, ran the ball hard early on and set the tone for the rest of the game. On the second drive of the game the trio ran the ball ten consecutive times for 51 yards leading to a 1-yard touchdown pass.
In the fourth quarter Blount gave the Patriots their first rushing TD of the season when he ripped through the middle for a 47 yard TD. If the Patriots can get teams to respect their running game, it will open up more play action opportunities for Brady.
Pats Defense Came Through in the Clutch
The Patriots defense came up big and stood their ground in the final minutes. On the final drive the Patriots harassed Tony Gonzalez with two defenders giving the Falcons tight end no breathing room. Gonzalez had been unstoppable in the game with 12 receptions for 149 yards including 2 TDs, but Matt Ryan was forced to look elsewhere late in the game.
Corner back Aqib Talib also came up big when he swatted down Ryan's game tying pass to Roddy White on fourth down. The Patriots defense denied five out of six red zone chances by the Falcons.
Kenbrell Thompkins' Breakout Game
While wide receiver Thompkins is not calling his performance a breakout game, it was considerably better than his first three outings. In fact, his total of 6 catches for 127 receiving yards in Week 4’s game is nearly as much as his first three games combined.
The undrafted free agent, Thompkins, finally shook off his nerves and remained poised during the game. While there is still plenty of room for improvement, shown by his two dropped balls, the rookie is beginning to show signs of prospect. We will see how his role is effected once WR Danny Amendola is back in the lineup.
Things Will Only Get Better
On that previous note, New England can take comfort in that they are undefeated even with a depleted offense. Once Rob Gronkowski and Amendola jump back into lineup, they will provide an immediate boost to Patriots' offense.
Tom Brady is Happy Again
At the start of the season, Brady looked so miserable that he belonged in a "you want to get away?" commercial from Southwest Airlines. Now Brady is singing a much different tune and even praised his rookie receivers after Week 4's victory.
Brady synced up with receivers and completed over 60 percent of his passes and threw for 316 yards. Although the star quarterback committed a costly fumble late in the game that gave the Falcons a chance to even the score, he was all smiles after the game and even showed his mom some love on national television.
If the Patriots can keep their quarterback happy it usually translates into wins.
So keep throwing up those peace signs Brady!