FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - The New England Patriots finally got their offense rolling with a balanced attack as Tom Brady threw for 277 yards and Fred Taylor ran for 105 in a 26-10 win over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.
One week after the Patriots were held without a touchdown in a 16-9 loss to the New York Jets, Brady threw a 36-yard touchdown pass to Chris Baker and Taylor ran for an 8-yard score.
On a drizzly day, there was no need for a comeback like the one Brady led in the opener when he made up for an inconsistent offense by throwing two touchdown passes in the final 2:06 for a 25-24 win over the Buffalo Bills.
]()But the Patriots (2-1) had plenty of trouble in the red zone where they settled for four field goals by Stephen Gostkowski. Brady completed just 3 of 10 passes inside the Atlanta 20, but Gostkowski connected from 21, 33, 22 and 33 yards.
The last field goal made it 19-10 on the first play of the fourth quarter before Brady hit Baker on the right side of the end zone midway through the period.
The Patriots defense held tight end Tony Gonzalez without a catch until the first minute of the fourth quarter. Michael Turner gained just 56 yards on 15 carries.
Atlanta (2-1) scored on two of its first three possessions with a 26-yard field goal by Jason Elam and a 2-yard run by Turner, who averaged 106 yards rushing last year and 85 in two games this year.
The Patriots controlled Matt Ryan, last year's NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, who had completed 68 percent of his passes with five touchdowns in his first two games. He went 17 for 28 for 199 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions Sunday on his return to the area where he starred at Boston College.
Brady completed 25 of 42 passes for 277 yards and no interceptions and faced much less pressure than he did in his first two games.
]()The Patriots took advantage of a shanked 29-yard punt by Michael Koenen that gave them the ball at their 49 and led to a 10-3 lead. The drive ended with an 8-yard touchdown run by Taylor, who carried the ball for 41 yards on the last four plays.
The Falcons tied it 10-10 on Turner's 2-yard run on the next series midway through the second quarter. Atlanta kept the ball after an on-field ruling that the Patriots had recovered a fumble and returned it for a touchdown was overturned. Replays showed clearly that Ryan's arm was going forward and the play was ruled an incomplete pass.
The Falcons did lose a fumble on their next possession. James Sanders picked up the loose ball after a 4-yard run by Turner, giving New England the ball at the Atlanta 27. But after Brady threw three straight incompletions, the Patriots managed just a go-ahead 33-yard field goal by Gostkowski 20 seconds before halftime.
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