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Thursday Night Football: Patriots defense leads way in 25-0 shutout of Falcons

Mike Florio and Chris Simms get ready for a busy Week 11 in the NFL by picking out the matchups they're most looking forward to.

The New England Patriots defense continues to dominate opponents and pitched a shutout against the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday night.

Kyle Van Noy picked off backup quarterback Josh Rosen and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown to put an exclamation point on the defensive effort for the Patriots in the 25-0 win over Atlanta.

The Patriots defense has not allowed any points in their last 19 possessions dating back to the opening drive of last week’s game against the Cleveland Browns. They’ve allowed just 13 points total over the last three games in victories over the Carolina Panthers, Cleveland Browns and Falcons. The Panthers scored six points on a pair of field goals. The Browns scored a lone touchdown from Austin Hooper on their opening drive last week and the Falcons were skunked on Thursday night.

Mac Jones completed 22 of 26 passes for 207 yards and a 19-yard touchdown pass to Nelson Agholor, and Nick Folk converted four field goals to lead the Patriots’ offensive effort.

It’s the first shutout for the Patriots since a 45-0 win over the Los Angeles Chargers last season. For the Falcons, it’s their first time being shutout since a 38-0 loss to the Panthers in 2015. It’s the first time they’ve been shutout at home since a 33-0 Los Angeles Rams victory in 1988.

The Patriots intercepted four passes off Falcons quarterbacks in the fourth quarter.

Devin McCourty and J.C. Jackson each hauled in interceptions off Matt Ryan that led to a pair of Folk field goals to extend the lead to 19-0. Van Noy’s pick-six off Rosen made it a 25-0 game and then Adrian Phillips intercepted third-string quarterback Feleipe Franks on the final possession of the game for Atlanta.

Folk’s 32-yard field goal got the Patriots on the board in the first quarter before Jones and Agholor connected for the only touchdown of the night to give New England a 10-0 lead.

The Falcons then had one of several promising drives come up empty.

After reaching the Patriots’ 14-yard line, Ryan took a 13-yard sack to push the Falcons into a lengthy field goal try. Younghoe Koo converted from 45 yards only to have an illegal formation penalty negate the kick. Koo would then miss from 50 yards to keep the zero on the board.

Folk added a 44-yard field goal to take a 13-0 lead into halftime.

After Jones was intercepted by A.J. Terrell in the third quarter, the Falcons 20-yard line only to have a pair of runs stuffed on third- and fourth-and-1 for a turnover on downs. The Falcons then threw interceptions on each of their final four possessions of the game.

Ryan completed 19 of 28 passes for 153 yards with two interceptions for Atlanta. The Falcons managed just 165 yards of total offense on the night. It’s the fewest yards gained by Atlanta since having just 131 yards of offense in a 26-16 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in 2018.

The Falcons have not scored a touchdown in two games as they lost 43-3 to the Dallas Cowboys last week. Their last touchdown was a 6-yard touchdown from Olamide Zaccheaus on a pass from Matt Ryan in the fourth quarter of their Week Nine win over the New Orleans Saints.