This was to be the Falcons redemption song. Their payback for being on the wrong side of history in last year’s Super Bowl. And the Patriots looked like they were ripe for the picking; the offense was starting to struggle after their hot start, and the Pats defense had been historically porous thus far in the season.
*Fade to highlights: Chris Berman “but **that’s** why....they play the game”*
The ominous weather seemed to foretell what was about to come. A thick fog slowly settled over Gillette, reminiscent of an opening scene of a horror movie. For both the Falcons and the NBC broadcast crew, this would prove to be the case.
The first quarter was a quiet one for both sides, but it seemed that the Falcons were going to pull out all the stops to set the tone for the night, converting a 4th and 7 from near midfield. Unfortunately (for Atlanta) the risk-taking ended with more of a whimper than a bang, as their FG attempt was blocked.
The Patriots promptly marched down the field on the ensuing drive to score the game’s first points on a “pass” from Brady to Cooks. The Patriots would score 10 more points on their next 2 drives, taking a 17-0 lead into the halftime break.
As the fog rolled in, NBC made the decision to use the flyover camera for the broadcast as the regular broadcast cameras were rendered useless for actually seeing the game action. This delighted many Madden fans who had been asking for this view, and was popular enough that NBC tried it again later in the season.
This gave viewers great perspective on big pass plays as well as a close-up of a 4th down stop on the goal line by Kyle Van Noy. Which was for the best, really, as Atlanta failed to put up a fight in the second half, scoring only a garbage time TD after the game was all but decided.