Pats, Falcons put together competitive first half

Pats, Falcons put together competitive first half
September 29, 2013, 10:15 pm
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ATLANTA -- Well now, this looks like a football game. A few first-half takeaways from Atlanta:
* The ankle injury suffered by Vince Wilfork doesn’t look like it’s going to be a minor thing. He wasn’t able to put any weight on it when he tested it on the sidelines before heading to the locker room. The Patriots are very thin on the defensive line and are going to be asking a lot of Tommy Kelly, Chris Jones and Joe Vellano the rest of the way.
* The noise has so far been a wash. Brandon Bolden, who left with a knee injury, didn’t get reset after moving to hear a communication from Brady. The Falcons had a neutral zone infraction on the same drive. Defensive communication issues led to the Patriots calling timeout on the final Falcons drive.
* The Patriots are doing a lot more blitzing in this game, apparently wary of the fact that a Matt Ryan with time will do them significant damage.
* So far, the NFL’s leading receivers by receptions coming into this game -- Julio Jones and Julian Edelman -- have two receptions for 6 yards between them. Both went to Jones. Edelman wasn’t targeted.
* Tony Gonzalez is picking up the slack, though. He’s got seven catches for 90 yards and a touchdown. As I mentioned in my pregame “things to watch” thingy, the Patriots aren’t outstanding in coverage at the linebacker level and that’s where Gonzalez is making hay.
* Tom Brady had just nine first-half attempts and five completions.
* The Patriots have run 15 of their 24 plays. Atlanta’s got 36 first half snaps.