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ATLANTA, GEORGIA - NOVEMBER 18: Kyle Van Noy #53 of the New England Patriots and Dont'a Hightower #54 of the New England Patriots react after a thrown interception by Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons in the fourth quarter at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on November 18, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

The Patriots didn’t need to be perfect on Thursday night. Just escape Atlanta with a win, however you gotta do it. Welp, defensively, the Patriots were pretty much perfect anyway.

New England pitched a shutout against Matt Ryan and the hapless Falcons offense on “Thursday Night Football,” on the road, on a short week. The front-seven, especially, wreaked havoc across the board all night. But the secondary made plays when the opportunities arose, too. They carried this one, on a slower night for the offense than we saw in the last game.

You can live with a dip by the offense if you’re a Patriots fan. You’re inevitably going to have ups and downs with a rookie quarterback. The key is can the defense shoulder the load, as they were supposed to do all season? They most certainly did in Atlanta.

So, with that, let’s get to the Ups & Downs from the Patriots’ fifth straight win…

Net Ups & Downs will come after a mini-bye for the Patriots, who will be back at it on Sunday of Thanksgiving week in what will be a massive matchup against the AFC-best Tennessee Titans.

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Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @mattydsays. You can also email him at mdolloff@985thesportshub.com.