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.
|Sanchez-Mkhitaryan deal close, says Wenger|
|Retiring veteran Benneteau dumps Goffin out|
|Meunier blasts ´disgraceful´ PSG fans after Neymar boos|
|Pique demands better at Camp Nou after Espanyol ´insults´|
|Djokovic outlasts Monfils in Melbourne heat|
|Wizards get in scuffle in blowout loss to Hornets|
|Schweinsteiger re-signs with Chicago Fire for 2018|
|Rockets´ Ariza, Green suspended|
|Sharapova happy with improvement|
|Muguruza stunned as upsets continue at Australian Open|
|Juve trying everything to sign Can, says Marotta|
|He´s scared of me – Ferrell reveals Federer fears|
|Konta crashes out in shock Aus Open defeat to lucky loser|
|Brady limited in practice due to hand injury|
|Sharapova overcomes Sevastova in Melbourne|
|Rooney convinced me to join Everton – Walcott|
|Simeone: Sevilla deserved their win|
|Conte calls for VAR improvements|
|Neymar not angered by PSG whistles - Silva|
|FA Cup Review: Wigan dump Bournemouth out, nine-man Chelsea scrape through|
|Banvit beat Bayreuth to stay top as Gaziantep end losing streak|
|England won´t block Jones from Lions role|
|Valverde rues Barca profligacy in Espanyol defeat|
|Chelsea 1 Norwich City 1 (aet, 5-3 pens): Hazard and Caballero seal Blues progression|
|No generosity from Neymar as Cavani waits to make PSG history|
|Neymar sets Ligue 1 landmark with staggering individual display|
|Espanyol 1 Barcelona 0: Melendo ends unbeaten run|
|Paris Saint-Germain 8 Dijon 0: Neymar hits four as Cavani levels Ibrahimovic record|
|Atletico fan in ´serious condition´ after being stabbed before Sevilla game|
|Stokes ´can´t wait´ for England return after ECB clearance|
|Kawhi Leonard´s rehab shut down as quad problem lingers|
|Folger out of MotoGP season due to illness|
|Stokes should not take my place - Bairstow|
|Atletico Madrid 1 Sevilla 2: Montella´s men stage dramatic first-leg comeback|
|Steelers will not retain offensive coordinator Todd Haley|
|Lukaku will score 30 goals for Man Utd this season, predicts Yorke|
|Brady named writers´ NFL MVP|
|Du Plessis wants action on slow pitches|
|Johnson back to his best after Augusta accident|
|Liverpool loan Grujic to Cardiff|
|Centurion hero Ngidi aiming high|
|Mbappe: More to come from Neymar & Cavani partnership|
|Messi the greatest ever despite no World Cup win, insists Di Maria|
|Uncapped Larmour named in Ireland´s Six Nations squad|
|Villa determined to earn place in Spain´s World Cup squad|
|Walcott swaps Arsenal for Everton|
|Kohli bristles at selection questions|
|England forward Haskell handed four-week suspension|
|You even learn from Guardiola at home - Otamendi lauds Pep impact|
|Three-week ban for Bastareaud for alleged homophobic slur|
|IOC to consider joint Korean ice hockey team|
|Sri Lanka ODI woes drag on with Zimbabwe defeat|
|Batsmen let India down against South Africa - Kohli|
|Five fun facts as LeBron James chases 30K career points|
|Bastareaud named in France squad ahead of disciplinary hearing|
|Otamendi pens Man City deal to 2022|
|Neymar leads tributes to retiring Ronaldinho|
|Ronaldo must focus on playing - Zidane sidesteps exit talk|
|Dimitrov, Tsonga survive gruelling battles as Nadal cruises through|
|Carey ton sends Strikers back top of BBL|
|Zidane still an idol for James despite ´sad´ Madrid exit|
|Stoger will stay at Dortmund if ´everything fits´|
|Nadal backs move for financial parity but silent on boycott talk|
|Stokes available for England selection, set for NZ return|
|Bordeaux´s Malcom facing disciplinary action over social media video|
|Debutant Ngidi hurries SA to series win as India crumble in Centurion|
|Eddie Jones signs new England contract|
|Ronaldinho retires – The greatest Brazilians to play for Barcelona|
|England setting the benchmark in ODIs, says Warner|
|Federer would be unreal at any sport - Shapovalov|