Rush defense: The Falcons defensive front shut down running back LeGarrette Blount and stripped a fumble from him. The Falcons held the Patriots' running backs to 33 yards on 13 carries in the first half. With the run game shut down, the Patriots relied on their passing attack, which turned the game around. They finished with 104 rushing yards in 25 tries. Grade B.
Special teams: Falcons kickoff specialist/punter Matt Bosher boomed his kickoffs and placed two 55-yard punts inside the Pats' 20. New England's Shea McClellin was called for illegal formation when he tried to jump over long snapper Josh Harris on an extra point attempt. After the penalty, Matt Bryant made the kick to put the Falcons up 14-0. Guarding a 28-9 lead, Falcons linebacker LaRoy Reynolds recovered an onsides kick in the third quarter. Grade B.
Coaching: Coach Dan Quinn and his coordinators had masterful plans to attack the Patriots. The offense ran the ball outside and once the offense line settled down, Ryan was able to move the ball while running some tempo. The Falcons defense shut down the run and pummeled Brady, who was clearly rattled in the first half. But once he got into a groove, he attacked nickel back Brian Poole and relied on White to cut up the Falcons' young defense. Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan has some questionable play calls in the fourth quarter and Quinn should have waited to throw the challenge flag on a late catch by Julian Edelman. The call was upheld and he cost the offense its final timeout. Grade C-minus.