The Broncos' defense allowed more points (23), total yards (372), passing yards (250) and yards per play (6.0) than in any other game this season. Matt Ryan's 98.4 passer rating was more than 25 points higher than the past six quarterbacks to face the Broncos (Tom Brady, Cam Newton (twice), Andrew Luck, Andy Dalton and Jameis Winston).
Not only did Gronk exploit the matchup with Denver linebackers that January day, but New England running back James White got open often and earned 16 (!) targets, but only caught five passes. (Ask anyone from Boston, and they'll tell you that the Patriots, not Denver, would be Super Bowl champs if White didn't have butterfingers.)
Putting Denver's linebackers in precarious positions is easier said than done. The Falcons, like the Pats before, own unique personnel to exploit the matchups. On Sunday, Shanahan deployed the perfect game plan to penetrate a previously impervious defense.
That game script was out there, but most teams don't have a Coleman-Freeman tandem that can take advantage.