The Patriots team that showed up for Sunday night's nationally televised game against the Atlanta Falcons proved that they are willing to play some smash-mouth football. With a balanced offense that could pass and run, All-Pro lineman Logan Mankins seemed pretty excited about the team's ability to pound the ball up the field:
|Photo By Streeter Lecka|
"Last night it was going good," said Mankins. "We knew going into that game that we were more physical and we should run the ball. Josh [McDaniels] did a good job of calling the runs and we were excited about it. We wanted to run the ball every single play of the game. The backs ran good. It was good to see some big chunks in the running game last night with LeGarrette [Blount] getting a long one and getting a touchdown out of it. So, that was great and I think the better we run the ball, the better we are going to play."
The Pats' first scoring drive was a result of ten straight running plays and finally a 1-yard touchdown pass to newcomer Matt Mulligan. Mankins first spoke of how the team's ability to use brute force to move the ball yard by yard was a blast for the offensive line:
"Yeah, that was a fun drive for us," said Patriots offensive lineman Logan Mankins in a conference call on Monday. "We really didn’t do any pass blocking, so that was great. We were on the sideline, and I was like ‘I don’t even know if I can pass block tonight,’ because we didn’t really have to do it yet. It’s always great when you just pound the rock, impose your will, and that is going to break the spirit of the defense if you can keep running it and they can’t stop you."
Impose their will they did, as the team's successful running game resulted in 134 rushing yards, with LeGarrette Blount leading the pack (64 yards and 1 TD). This then set up a very successful play-action passing game for quarterback Tom Brady and his young receivers. The more balanced offense complemented by a strong defense make this team very reminiscent of the Patriots of old, which won three Super Bowls.