BOSTON Teams

Mike Reiss ESPN Staff Writer 

Tom Brady says the day couldn't have been much better — carving pumpkins with his kids in the afternoon and having his parents on the field before a win over the Falcons.

Mike Reiss ESPN Staff Writer 

With the Patriots turning in their best defensive performance of the season against the Falcons, there is now hope that the team can play the type of complementary game necessary to be a championship team. Up to this point, there had been big questions about the D and whether it could hold up its end of the bargain. No longer.

Mike Reiss ESPN Staff Writer 

Injury updates: Chris Hogan has returned to the game, while LB Dont'a Hightower (shoulder) is questionable to return.

Mike Reiss ESPN Staff Writer 

Two injury updates: Starting DT Malcom Brown has an ankle injury and his return is questionable, while WR Chris Hogan has headed to the medical tent after landing hard following his 31-yard catch-and-run.

Mike Reiss ESPN Staff Writer 

Bill Belichick often talks about the goal of playing complementary football, with the offense, defense and special teams working together, and they probably played their best 30 minutes of complementary ball to jump out to a 17-0 halftime lead over the Falcons. Now comes the next challenge: Can the Patriots play their most complete game of the year, going the full 60 minutes? The Falcons get the ball to start the second half.

Mike Reiss ESPN Staff Writer 

Patriots RB snap tracker (halftime): James White 21, Dion Lewis 10, Rex Burkhead 9, Mike Gillislee 5. FB James Develin has been on for 6.

Brian Burke ESPN Analytics 

I'm happy to report Dan Quinn's aggressiveness on 4th down tonight is analytically sound. Both gambles (7 yards to go in the 1st quarter and 6 to go in the 2nd) made strategic sense based on ESPN's win probability model. But the advantage gained over punting was relatively slight in both cases.

Mike Reiss ESPN Staff Writer 

On NBC's broadcast, sideline reporter Michele Tafoya said left tackle Nate Solder's son began chemotherapy treatments two weeks ago.

Mike Reiss ESPN Staff Writer 

One thing that stood out on Brandin Cooks' 11-yard touchdown was his patience in following TE Rob Gronkowski's block into the end zone. Cooks grasped on to the back of Gronkowski's jersey, got low, and sliced his way over the goal-line. It was a well designed play by WRs coach Chad O'Shea, who we learned in "Do Your Job 2" is in charge of the red-zone offense.

Mike Reiss ESPN Staff Writer 

In a scoreless first quarter, the Patriots' offense is struggling to move the ball as the Falcons' speed on defense is creating disruption. The Patriots' defense and special teams has kept the game close by playing some of its best football of the season. There is a great energy in the stadium contributing to the big-game environment.

Mike Reiss ESPN Staff Writer 

On the Rob Gronkowski offensive pass interference penalty, the talk with him and coaches in recent years has been a focus on keeping his arm in and not extending it to create separation. Looked like too much extension on the play.

Mike Reiss ESPN Staff Writer 

Fantasy football owners take note: The Patriots ran 11 plays on their opening drive and Dion Lewis was the running back on seven of them. James White had the other four.

Mike Reiss ESPN Staff Writer 

Tom Brady's parents, Tom Sr. and Galynn, are in attendance. They were on the field pre-game as part of NFL's Crucial Catch campaign.

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Montreal 2-3 New England: Rowe sinks Impact (2:33)

Mike Reiss ESPN Staff Writer 

Here are the 200 members of the military who are at Gillette Stadium because players and coaches donated their tickets to them as a show of their appreciation. Long snapper Joe Cardona, who is on active duty in the Navy, spearheaded the effort.

Mike Reiss ESPN Staff Writer 

Patriots and Falcons fans mix during pre-game warmups.