Heading into the weekend, the New England Patriots thought they were going to have their top two offensive targets back for Sunday Night Football against the Atlanta Falcons. As it turned out, neither Danny Amendola nor Rob Gronkowski traveled with the team for the game and Tom Brady was left with his recent slim pickings.
Patriots fans may have been worried about their chances to stay unbeaten, but one guy that did not blink an eye?
Tom Brady, of course.
Brady targeted a variety of different options all night long, utilizing Julian Edelman and rookie Kenbrell Thompkins in big ways. He had some help from the run game, too, as LeGarrette Blount had himself a bit of a revitalizing game and ripped off an impressive 47-yard touchdown in the second half to give the Patriots — at the time — their biggest lead yet.
Early on after the Falcons went up 3-0, Brady found an unfamiliar face in tight end Matthew Mulligan for a one-yard score. Mulligan had 14 career receptions and only one touchdown in his career prior to that catch.
Thompkins and Edelman, though, were the stars Sunday night. Those two had a combined 13 catches for 245 yards against Atlanta. Thompkins is one that has really come on and could wind up being a big-time weapon down the road — and thankfully for New England, because they need another one.
The game went down to the wire, and even though Brady failed to secure the game on a 4th-and-1 by fumbling the ball, his defense came up big and ultimately the Patriots came away with a win. Brady was brilliant for the majority of the game, using everyone at his disposal. Not that they don’t want Amendola and Gronkowski back, but New England looked good nonetheless with what they had.