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Falcons vs. Patriots: Atlanta hosts New England in Super Bowl LI rematch

Nov 14, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Atlanta Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts makes a reception in the first quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 14, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Atlanta Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts makes a reception in the first quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Falcons vs. Patriots: Week 11 NFL preview

No time to reflect. Preparation for Week 11 on fast forward. It’s the blessing and the curse of the short week.

The Falcons are in active recovery mode following a drubbing in Dallas, a 40-point loss to the Cowboys in which the Falcons scored three points and converted one third down for a first down.

“You want to move on as quick as possible,” a stone-faced Smith said in his brief media huddle on Monday afternoon at Flowery Branch. “We were outcoached. We were outplayed.”

It’s typical for coaches to return home from a Sunday game and plot through the night with a goal of gameplan completion for the quick turnaround with just three days between kickoffs. Atlanta didn’t hold a full or normal on-field practice and will go lighter than usual all week.

There was little joy in Smith’s office judging by his outward demeanor on Monday.

Atlanta’s loss was painful in multiple ways. Perhaps the most pressing matter emanating in Smith’s closed-door planning meetings before facing the New England Patriots on Thursday is the status of utility weapon Cordarrelle Patterson.

He’s undergoing tests for a sprained ankle and not likely to be on the field for the Falcons, who are still without top wide receiver Calvin Ridley (personal).

Patterson, 30, was injured early in the Falcons’ blowout loss and collected just 39 yards from scrimmage before exiting. Patterson has 303 rushing yards, 473 receiving yards and seven total touchdowns this season.

Smith said he again directly addressed one other matter coming out of Sunday’s loss: the defensive line shoving Cowboys’ interior offensive linemen in the victory formation after kneel-downs under the two-minute mark.

“Look, they kicked our butt. Take it fair and square,” Smith said.

Matt Ryan had a disastrous statistical line against former Atlanta head coach Dan Quinn on Sunday: 21.4 quarterback rating, nine completions.

New England improved to 6-4 on Sunday with a dominant win over the Cleveland Browns. The Patriots and renowned defensive mastermind Bill Belichick were again a step ahead of an opposing quarterback.

During his weekly radio show on Monday morning, Belichick said he had already taken notice of rookie tight end Kyle Pitts. He called the versatile weapon “a problem” for the Patriots.

“Very hard to match up against,” Belichick said. “I was reading through some of the Atlanta comments and you hear them comparing him to a cross between Tony Gonzalez and Julio Jones, and I’d say that’s about right. That’s what it looks like. He’s one of the superstars of the NFL already.

“I’m sure he’ll break all the rookie tight end receiving records. I think he’s on pace to, but he’ll be right there. This guy’s got a tremendous career in front of him. He can play every position. He plays end of the line of scrimmage, he can play in the slot, he can play outside. He’s got a great skillset. He’s competitive, he’ll block. He’s good after the catch. He’s a matchup nightmare.”

–Field Level Media