The New England Patriots dominated the Atlanta Falcons to claim a 23-7 win in the Super Bowl rematch on Sunday.
The much-anticipated clash was somewhat similar to their last meeting, in Super Bowl LI. One team jumped out to a huge lead, dominating the other.
Only this time, the Patriots were the team leading. And unlike the Falcons, who blew a 28-3 lead in the Super Bowl as the Pats mounted the biggest comeback win in the game's history, the Patriots held on.
Most of the night, the Falcons' chances of winning seemed about as hazy as the fog that rolled into Gillette Stadium during the game.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Patriots seized control. Tom Brady connected on an 11-yard pass to Brandin Cooks for the first score, and after a Stephen Gostkowski field goal, Brady finished off the half with a two-yard TD toss to James White to give the Pats a 17-0 half-time lead.
It was White's first touchdown since his walk-off score in the Super Bowl.
The Falcons mounted a nice drive to open the second half, only to get nothing out of it when kicker Matt Bryant doinked a 36-yarder off the left upright. Gostkowski later added a field goal for the only scoring in the third quarter.
Then came the sequence that defined the Falcons' futility Sunday in Foxborough. The Falcons marched 70 yards in eight plays, and had third down and goal inside the Patriots' one-yard line. But the Pats stopped them on third and fourth down to take over on downs.
The Falcons finally got on the scoreboard with four minutes, nine seconds remaining with Matt Ryan's one-yard TD pass to Julio Jones capping an 11-play, 88 yard drive. That broke a Falcons scoring drought of more than 91 minutes, dating back to the second quarter of their loss last week to the Miami Dolphins.
Brady was his usual efficient self, hitting 21-of-29 passes for 249 yards and those two scores. Ryan connected on 23-of-33 passes for 233 yards.
For the Patriots (5-2), all appears well after a couple of stumbles to start the season. They have won three in a row. But the Falcons (3-3), who have now lost three straight, have some big questions. The league's highest-scoring offense a year ago, Atlanta have now scored 17 points or less in three straight games. New offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian is already under fire for the offense's lacklustre performance.
|Luis Garcia and Steve McManaman confident of Liverpool progress|
|Arsenal face BATE as Chelsea get Malmo in Europa League|
|Europa League last 32: Draw in full|
|Irwin urges Mourinho turnaround before PSG Champions League clash|
|Rush backs German Klopp to see off Bayern|
|Hope shines as West Indies blitz Bangladesh in Sylhet|
|United and PSG set for Champions League showdown|
|Ajax star De Ligt delighted to join Golden Boy alumni|
|Champions League last 16: Draw in full|
|Lyon strikes to put Australia on course for victory in Perth|
|Mourinho´s players below Manchester United standards, says Giggs|
|We´ve got to find a way to get better in a hurry - McVay challenges spluttering Rams|
|Van Dijk hails ´game-changer´ Shaqiri for downing Man United|
|LeBron praises magical Wall as Lakers fall flat on the road|
|Champions League last 16: Who could get who in Monday´s draw?|
|Pochettino urges fans to ´kill´ racism ahead of EFL Cup derby|
|Ajax star De Ligt wins Golden Boy award|
|Foles fuels Eagles´ upset win over Rams|
|Latham carries bat as New Zealand leave Sri Lanka reeling|
|Keep your cool, Virat – Paine and Kohli in another confrontation|
|Depleted Nuggets complete season sweep of Raptors|
|Fabinho was ´outstanding´, says Klopp|
|Patriots QB Brady on loss to Steelers: We aren´t playing well enough to win|
|Elliott says Cowboys´ shut-out loss to Colts was embarrassing|
|De Bruyne not worried about Liverpool title challenge|
|Sixers star Simmons makes history with triple-double|
|WATCH: Nowitzki receives standing ovation in first home game of season|
|Seattle´s playoff spot on hold after Seahawks suffer OT loss to 49ers|
|Cheika survives as Wallabies coach, Johnson appointed|
|Vikings remain in NFC playoff picture|
|Steelers stay ahead as Patriots lose AFC´s second seed|
|Lionel Messi is the best, says Amor|
|I´m still tired just looking at Robertson – Mourinho in awe of Liverpool intensity|
|Casillas takes swipe at Mourinho after United lose to Liverpool|
|Valverde relieved as Messi brilliance prevents another Levante nightmare|
|WATCH: Leno proposes to girlfriend after Bears clinch division title|
|Messi and Suarez the world´s best strike partnership, says Pique|
|Klopp: I cannot keep every Liverpool player happy|
|Messi and Suarez outscoring Real Madrid and Atletico in LaLiga|
|Levante 0 Barcelona 5: Marvellous Messi banishes ghosts of last season|
|Colts rout Cowboys to keep playoff hopes alive|
|Bears shake off Packers to win NFC North and return to playoffs|
|Mourinho explains Pogba omission and defends Lukaku´s Liverpool showing|
|Liverpool´s display against Manchester United one of the best, claims Klopp|
|Look away Jose! Damning stats expose Manchester United´s limp Liverpool loss|
|Time´s up, Mourinho: Manchester United can dither no longer|
|Manchester United´s players are not dishonest – Mourinho|
|Manchester United´s lack of ambition under Mourinho is scary – Keane|
|Mourinho: All Manchester United can achieve is fourth|
|Quagliarella should be protected by UNESCO, jokes Sampdoria coach|
|Manchester United surpass last season´s goals-against tally in first 17 games|
|Hasenhuttl revels in ´unbelievable´ victory over Arsenal|
|Liverpool 3 Manchester United 1: Shaqiri´s late show bails out Alisson as Reds return to the top|
|Edinburgh in control in Champions Cup, Racing win again|
|Emery ponders January signing after Bellerin injury|
|It is only a knock – Sarri plays down Hazard injury fears|
|Redskins QB Alex Smith released from hospital|
|Starc: If I listen to Warne, I may as well retire|
|Curry interviews retired NASA astronaut, apologises for moon comments|
|Hazard refusing to give up on Premier League title hopes|
|Ziyech & Blind score hat-tricks as Ajax claim 8-0 win|
|Canelo v Fielding: What next for three-weight champion Alvarez?|
|Southampton 3 Arsenal 2: Austin and Ings end Gunners´ long unbeaten run|
|Brighton and Hove Albion 1 Chelsea 2: Sensational Hazard proves the difference|
|Pogba on the bench as Clyne starts for Liverpool|
|Lipsky ends long barren spell in Malelane|
|Lakers´ Stephenson to repeat air guitar despite technical|
|Fletcher pushed Miller on to Broncos sack record|
|The Sarri effect: Hazard surpasses 2017-18 goal involvements in just 16 games|
|Van der Burgh retires on a high note with breaststroke double|