Tom Brady will no doubt find motivation in the fact that some are looking at the next two weeks, when Atlanta (2--0) and Baltimore (2--0) visit the suddenly vulnerable 1--1 Patriots, as a possible changing of the guard. It's not just about two upstart teams trying to leapfrog New England in the NFL power rankings; it's also about the two quarterbacks taken in the first round of the 2008 draft—Atlanta's Matt Ryan (below) and Baltimore's Joe Flacco, both 24—trying to outplay the 32-year-old Brady on his home turf. Since returning from a knee injury, Brady has been getting blitzed more than ever, and he hasn't shown that he still can make defenses pay. The Pats haven't protected Brady well, so he'll be tested by the John Abraham--led Falcons rush.
This is an article from the Sept. 28, 2009 issue
Falcons 24, Patriots 16.