The New England Patriots withstood a fourth-quarter fumbled exchange by quarterback Tom Brady to hold on for Sunday’s night 30-23 victory over the Atlanta Falcons.
After the turnover, the Falcons marched deep into Patriots’ territory after Julio Jones caught a long pass from Matt Ryan.
But Ryan’s fourth-down pass from the New England 10 fell incomplete, allowing the Patriots (4-0) to remain undefeated.
The Falcons, last year’s host team in the NFC Championship Game, dropped to 1-3.
LaGarrette Blount broke off a 47-yard touchdown run to give the Patriots a 20-10 lead in the first minute of the fourth quarter.
Blount ran through the middle of the line of scrimmage and outraced safety William Moore and cornerback Desmond Trufant down the left sideline for the score.
The Patriots had gone ahead 13-10 with 5:29 left in the third on Stephen Gostkowski’s 22-yard field goal.
Brady was 9 of 14 passing for 83 yards in the third, but he lost another receiving target on the snap that preceded Gostkowski’s score.
Receiver Aaron Dobson was injured in the end zone while attempting to catch a touchdown pass.
Falcons cornerback Robert Alford appeared to hold Dobson on the route, and Brady threw the ball into the artificial turf in front of both players.