Patriots brace for noisy Georgia Dome vs. Falcons

Patriots brace for noisy Georgia Dome vs. Falcons
September 25, 2013, 3:00 pm
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FOXBORO -- They’re not renowned down in Atlanta for being over-the-top NFL fans. But when things go well in the Georgia Dome, they do get throaty.
Tom Brady expects that, Sunday night against the Falcons, the noise level could be an impediment to offensive success.

“Those domes get pretty loud because you know, there’s just no place for that sound to go,” Brady explained. “If they get going, it gets loud. We’ve played there a few times so I think we have a little bit of understanding of what it’s about. They’re a good offensive football team so there are usually a lot of reasons for them to be excited. Their skill players and the way Matt [Ryan] plays, it’s going to test us all the way around in all three phases so hopefully we’re ready for it.”

In a perfect world, Brady said, he and his offense will be able to serve the Georgians a large bowl of shut the flock up.

“Momentum changes so quickly and it can go the other way too,” he pointed out. “If they don’t play a good game, it goes the other way. We’ve had a few of those situations here. I remember, like the Jet playoff game a few years ago (2010), where we just didn’t play well and it just feels like 70,000 people are totally deflated. That’s the goal, is to try to set the tone in that area. The way you do it is ultimately executing on a down-by-down basis.”

Attaining that consistency is the main struggle the Patriots have faced this season. The Patriots are converting third downs at 39 percent. Good for a normal team. For an offense accustomed to being near 50 percent conversions, a big comedown. A three-and-out following a score can set the stage for a run on points against Atlanta.

“It’s going to be a challenge for our defense; it’s a challenge for our offense,” said Brady. “I think we have to play our best game, there’s no doubt about it. You can’t (go three-and-out). If you (repeat) what happened last week with us, we had three three-and-outs to start the game, it could be 21-0. That’s the way (the Falcons) play. We have to be able to start fast. We have to put points on the board, we have to get people in the end zone. Obviously the critical plays like turnovers, critical third downs, scoring opportunities in the red area are all going to be crucial to winning the game.”

The Patriots know that verbal communication is doomed this week.  

“We work on it quite a bit,” Brady said, referring to dealing with the noise. “It’s different than playing at home, no question, but it’s not much different than practice. Their speed and what they do and the tempo which they play is different. For us, we try to duplicate it as best we can in practice. I saw nonverbal communication, you’re using signals and silent counts and all those things. You just have to try to practice it. Typically as the season goes on, you get better at it. Yeah, it challenges the communication.”