Tom Brady, New England Patriots return to form in Atlanta

It's tough to win on the road, especially if you're playing against a team that was returning home and had won 14 consecutive games following a loss.


Greatest on the road ...

Tom Brady, New England Patriots

In a showdown against the NFL's two winningest teams in the regular season since 2008, it was Brady who got his topsy-turvy start to the 2013 season on proper track. He did so in the Georgia Dome against an Atlanta Falcons team that was coming off a loss (that's significant because the Falcons were 14-0 after coming off a loss).

Brady had struggled through the first three weeks of the season to get in sync with a new set of receivers. Despite Brady's slow start, the Patriots have managed to start the season 3-0. In a prime-time showdown against the Falcons, Brady returned to pre-2013 form, throwing for 316 yards and two touchdowns. The Patriots defeated the Falcons, 30-23, after holding off a frenzied fourth-quarter rally.

This is the Patriots' first 4-0 start since 2007, when the team won 18 consecutive games before ultimately falling to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII. Brady's Week 4 performance puts him in contention to make some history soon. Brady has thrown a touchdown pass in 52 consecutive games, and is now two games shy of tying Drew Brees' record of 54 set from 2009-2012. That once-thought-to-be-unbreakable record (Johnny Unitas had held the record for more than five decades before Brees broke it last season), could be broken again by the time the 2013 World Series opens. Brady now also has 341 touchdown passes, one short of tying Pro Football Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton.

Also considered:

Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers had lost two consecutive games and entered a "Thursday Night Football" showdown with the St. Louis Rams missing a number of key contributors on defense. En route to earning a decisive 35-11 win over the Rams, the 49ers turned back to clock to their ground-and-pound romping-stomping steamrolling style of 2011. San Francisco rushed the ball 40 times for 219 yards (and saw its defense hold St. Louis to just 18 yards on 19 carries). In the center of this bruising ground effort was Gore, who had his first 100-yard rushing game of the season (he finished with 153 yards and a touchdown).

The 100-yard game for Gore was the 14th in his career against the Rams, which is the most for any player against the Rams in their history.


Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

There wasn't much in the way of stat sheet style to Wilson's game Sunday (12-for-23 passing with 123 yards and a pick; 77 yards rushing), but his play was pivotal to the Seahawks improving to 4-0 for the first time in franchise history. The Seahawks worked overtime to get there, earning a 23-20 win over the Houston Texans after falling behind 20-3 by halftime.

On the drive that drew the Seahawks to within a touchdown of the Texans, Wilson completed a third-and-7 pass to Doug Baldwin, another third-and-7 pass to Baldwin, and a third-and-13 pass to Golden Tate that set up a fourth-and-3 scramble that came right before a Marshawn Lynch touchdown run that capped a 98-yard drive that turned the tide of the game.

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Follow Jim Reineking on Twitter @jimreineking.

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