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Patriots stock report: Aqib Talib a key vs. Falcons, throughout 4-0 start

Posted by Erik Frenz  September 30, 2013 01:52 AM

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Was there ever any doubt?

It looked like the Patriots would run away with a win on Sunday night, and by the time the Patriots had turned in their 30-23 victory, most of America had probably tuned into their DVR of "Breaking Bad."

Breaking bad sounds like what a lot of Patriots fans would have been doing had a certain player not broken up a fourth-down heave into the end zone in the game's final seconds.

There's good and bad to be gleaned from any game, regardless of the outcome, so here's a look at the stock of some of the Patriots players after a tough Sunday night win.

Stock up:

Kenbrell Thompkins: Thompkins had two drops, but made several acrobatic catches, including a leaping catch over two defenders on a double-reverse-fake and a diving catch into the end zone for one of Brady's two touchdowns on the night. The chemistry experiment on offense looked like it might blow up in the Patriots face, but they've managed to find the necessary balance and with everyone taking a step forward, the results quickly manifested on the field.

Aqib Talib: He was flagged for pass interference in defense of wide receiver Roddy White, but made several big plays, including the two biggest plays of the night -- an interception in coverage of wide receiver Julio Jones, and a pass break-up against White on a last-gasp fourth-down pass into the end zone. Talib has allowed just one touchdown into his coverage while intercepting four passes this season. He was brought back on a one-year deal this past offseason, and if his sticky man coverage continues, he will be rewarded handsomely where ever he plays in 2014.

Joe Vellano: Stepped in for an injured Vince Wilfork and played a significant role in the defensive game plan from that point. Anchored a defensive line that plugged the lanes up the middle, and yielded just 3.9 yards per carry to the Falcons running backs.

Stock down:

Zach Sudfeld: Was targeted on an onside kick that bounced out of his grasp in the fourth quarter. It's been a rough September for Sudfeld, who has no catches this season thus far after emerging as a potential breakout rookie this summer.

Anyone trying to cover Tony Gonzalez: There's a good reason Gonzalez is considered one of the best tight ends to ever play the game, and it has a lot to do with the kinds of catches he was making against the Patriots defense. It didn't matter if it was a cornerback, a linebacker or a safety, Gonzalez was making them all look foolish and finished with 12 catches for 149 yards, the first time those marks have been reached since Week 1 of the 2010 season.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
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About the author

Erik Frenz delivers analysis of the biggest news with the Patriots, including insight into the AFC East and New England's biggest rivals from a Patriots perspective. Erik is an interactive writer who engages his audience in his posts’ comments sections and on Twitter. Readers are encouraged to share their thoughts and ask questions. More »


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