It’s been a week since Sunday night’s win in Atlanta, and Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan still probably couldn’t tell you exactly where New England’s safeties were coming from.
Vintage Bill Belichick. Confusion led to delirium, which will ultimately lead to success.
That kind of win has been a long time coming, years actually.
Welcome back, Bill.
Don’t look at the numbers for a minute. If you do, Sunday night really wasn’t spectacular.
The Patriots gave up 23 points, surrendering a pair of 100-plus yard receivers and 421 passing yards.
“We came out, started strong, made some big red area stops,” said linebacker Jerod Mayo.
After reviewing the film, though, I was astounded at how many completions Ryan had, throwing at well-covered and often double-covered receivers. Right to the end, he asked Tony Gonzalez and Julio Jones to answer his prayers. After a while, it appeared Ryan sought out double teams as if he had something to prove.
That’s the mental battle, and when he’s into it, nobody is better at that than Bill Belichick.
Finally, Belichick trusts this group. At least he has with Vince Wilfork in there for the first quarter of the season.
Sunday night, was the ultimate in defense — using just six or seven in run defense and getting it done. That allowed the secondary to focus solely on coverage.
The Belichick defense, through coordinator Matt Patricia, who has been ultra-conservative for the past three seasons, gambled that Ryan wouldn’t be patient enough to wait or check down to fourth option Harry Douglas.
The Pats goaded Ryan into trying to find the single coverage on one of the top three -- Jones, Gonzalez or Roddy White.
Meanwhile, Belichick turned five loose in the rush.
The game plan never allowed Atlanta to get comfortable.