The New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons capped off the last NFL Sunday of the month on Sept. 29. When the Patriots eventually opened up a 30-13 lead, it looked like an anticlimactic finish, as those who passed up the game to watch the Breaking Bad finale missed little. But once that finale ended, the Falcons nearly forged an even more furious finish, until they reverted to old habits and went down by 30-23 anyway.
The Patriots had a 17-point lead halfway through the fourth, which didn’t make them too worried when the Falcons got a touchdown. But when Atlanta recovered the onside kick and got into the red zone, there was real cause for concern. However, the Falcons couldn’t get into the end zone and had to settle for a field goal, then failed to recover a second onside kick.
All Tom Brady needed was one first down to finish things off. Yet when Bill Belichick made one of his customary fourth-down gambles, Brady fumbled the snap and gave the Falcons one more chance. Once Matt Ryan completed a bomb to Julio Jones and got Atlanta back in the red zone, overtime appeared imminent.
But just like in last year’s NFC title game and this year’s opener in New Orleans, Atlanta couldn’t punch the ball in at the last minute. Although New England stumbled, it ultimately made the stand it needed to get the statement win it had lacked this season. Nevertheless, beating a now 1-3 Falcons club might not mean as much as it would have a month ago.
Regardless, the finish made the Patriots-Falcons showdown the game of the day, even if Atlanta’s comeback fell short. Here is a list of the best and worst games of Week 5 on Sept. 29, which included a few surprises, some more unbeaten teams getting tested, and a few more embarrassments for the worst of the worst.