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.
|BCCI rejects ´baseless´ claims over Kohli-Paine ´banter´|
|BREAKING NEWS: Ibrahimovic re-signs with LA Galaxy for 2019|
|Mourinho sacked: Solari not worried for Real Madrid job|
|Mourinho sacked: 895 days and more than £700,000 in five-star luxury|
|ES Tunis 1 Guadalajara 1 (6-5 on penalties): Dhaouadi holds nerve to settle ill-tempered affair|
|Murphy lands permanent Tigers role|
|Mourinho sacked: Real Madrid´s Marcelo lauds ´great coach´ after United exit|
|Unadkat, Varun the top buys at IPL auction|
|Emery prepared to give youth a chance in north London derby|
|Tottenham extend Vertonghen contract until 2020|
|Panthers safety Reid receives seventh random drug test of 2018|
|Kovac relishing Klopp challenge in Champions League|
|Bancroft to return, teenager Lamichhane to fly the flag for Nepal in Big Bash|
|Liverpool still have plenty of work to do - Klopp|
|Messi ´never imagined´ his success after winning record fifth Golden Shoe|
|WATCH: Timberwolves´ Gibson tries to block shot with his trainer|
|Mourinho sacked: Klopp praises departed Manchester United boss|
|Mourinho sacked: Jose the best Manchester United manager since Ferguson - Gerrard|
|Mourinho sacked: Ferdinand calls for ´fresh ideas´ at Man United|
|Mourinho sacked: The mystique has gone as United spell ends in divorce|
|´He´s an interest not only for us but for many´ - Zola praises rumoured Chelsea target Wilson|
|Mourinho sacked: Pochettino focused on Spurs amid Manchester United rumours|
|Mendis eyes double-century for departing Samaraweera|
|Mourinho sacked: Zola expects Jose to be in another job ´soon´|
|Mourinho sacked: Five reasons it went wrong at Manchester United|
|Mourinho sacked: Jose´s Manchester United record in Opta stats|
|Mourinho sacked: Pogba, Ronaldo and Jose´s biggest bust-ups|
|Mourinho sacked: Blanc, Solskjaer - the men who could steady the United ship short-term|
|Mourinho sacked: The football world reacts|
|Mourinho sacked: What former United stars said after Liverpool loss|
|Mourinho sacked: Where next for the axed Manchester United boss?|
|UEFA to investigate alleged racist incidents at Vidi-Chelsea|
|Australia unchanged for rest of India series|
|Mourinho sacked: Pogba´s tweet a dig at departing Man United boss?|
|Newton left frustrated by shoulder injury as Panthers lose again|
|Mourinho sacked: Pochettino & Zidane lead potential Man Utd replacements|
|Mourinho sacked: Neville urges Man United to go for Pochettino|
|Boylen pleased to see Bulls react to red rag in Thunder fracas|
|Icardi and Inter ´very far´ apart in contract negotiations|
|Mourinho leaves Manchester United|
|Curry humbled by latest milestone|
|Robertson: ´Unbelievable´ Alisson will bounce back from error|
|Curry scores 15,000th regular-season point in Warriors win|
|Rams star Gurley ´day-to-day´ with knee inflammation|
|Saints poised to clinch NFC top seed after topping Panthers|
|Mathews, Mendis centuries frustrate New Zealand|
|Kohli: Relentless Australia deserved victory|
|Relief for Paine and Australia after ending Test drought|
|Australia level series with dominant win over India|
|Libertadores holders River learn group as CONMEBOL boss calls for end to violence|
|Chargers RB Gordon planning to return against Ravens|
|Kobe Bryant visit motivated Browns´ Jabrill Peppers|
|De Bruyne: Fatigue not behind injury woes|
|´That´s not my concern´ - Broncos coach Joseph on job security|
|Lowry on Leonard´s free agency: I just want him to be happy|
|Yankees give Sabathia $500K bonus despite ejection|
|Ronaldo confirmed Juventus interest in January – Mendes|
|Lakers guard Rondo to begin rehab stint in G League|
|Saiz to leave Leeds United for Getafe|
|Whyte thinks Joshua rematch is ´only a matter of time´|
|Greenwood stars as Man United end Chelsea´s FA Youth Cup dominance|
|Panthers tight end Olsen expects ´full recovery´ after surgery|
|Derby County 0 Nottingham Forest 0: Lampard´s men fourth after tense stalemate|
|Clermont lose former All Black Toeava for six months|
|MLS unveils revamped playoff format for 2019 season|
|Ferrari to celebrate Schumacher´s 50th birthday with museum exhibition|
|Rabiot set for PSG exit after cancelling contract talks|
|Pepe departs financially troubled Besiktas|
|Philadelphia Flyers fire coach Dave Hakstol|
|Eagles to start Foles v Texans|