Packers rally, beat Falcons 25-14 : Packers Insider

Packers rally, beat Falcons 25-14

October 9, 2011 by  
Filed under News

By D. Orlando Ledbetter, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

~Green Bay, the defending Super Bowl champs, bounced back from a two-touchdown deficit Sunday night to beat the Falcons 25-14 in a nationally televised game at the Georgia Dome.

The Falcons dominated early before the offense stalled. The Packers shook it off and quarterback Aaron Rodgers delivered 70- and 29-yard touchdown passes.

Great coaching adjustments by McCarthy and Capers, combined with another near-flawless game from QB Aaron Rodgers, and the Packers won by 11 in Atlanta.

The Falcons scored on their first two possessions, but couldn’t keep it going.  They punted on their next five possessions before being intercepted on the sixth. The defense gave up the big plays to Rodgers, who finished with 396 yards passing.

The Packers improved to 5-0, while the Falcons, the defending NFC South champions, dropped to 2-3. Last season, the Packers routed the Falcons 48-21 in the divisional round of the playoffs.

All of Atlanta’s losses have been in conference to Chicago, Tampa Bay and Green Bay.

The Falcons have two more conference games against Carolina and at Detroit before hitting their bye week.

To slow down the Packers’ explosive passing game, the Falcons tried to keep the ball out of the hands of Rodgers. And when Rodgers was on the field, the defense went after the reigning Super Bowl most valuable player.

Early on, the Falcons were successful on both fronts. They controlled the clock and got sacks from linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, defensive end Lawrence Sidbury and defensive tackle Corey Peters. They did this without defensive end John Abraham, who was out with a hip injury.

For the second consecutive game, the Falcons scored a touchdown off their opening-game script. They stayed with their running attack during a 14-play, 80-yard drive that was capped by Matt Ryan’s 4-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Roddy White in the back of the end zone. The drive took 6:45 off the clock. Fifty yards came from seven running plays, including 17 yards by wide receiver Julio Jones on a reverse.

The Packers turned the ball over on their first possession when cornerback Brent Grimes slammed into running back Ryan Grant and caused a fumble. Defensive tackle Vance Walker recovered at Atlanta’s 40-yard line.

The Falcons went into their no-huddle offense, though they weren’t in a hurry; it appeared they wanted to dictate the personnel matchups to the Packers.

The Falcons used a screen pass to Jason Snelling to gain 17 yards and had a 16-yard pass to Jones to drive down the field. Michael Turner capped the 10-play, 60-yard drive with a 1-yard scoring run with 12:29 left in the second quarter to give the Falcons a 14-0 lead.

On the ensuing possession, the Packers were set to score when they reached the Falcons’ 4-yard line. Yet after running back James Starks was stopped at the 2-yard line, Rodgers was dropped for an 11-yard loss by Weatherspoon, and Rodgers then was sacked by Sidbury.

Green Bay kicker Mason Crosby was summoned and converted a 32-yard field goal to make it 14-3 with 5:29 left in the second quarter.

The Falcons were held to three-and-out on their next possession, in part because of a holding call on right tackle Tyson Clabo. The penalty negated a 47-yard pass play from Ryan to Harry Douglas that would have placed the ball at Green Bay’s 33-yard line.

After punting, the Packers drove inside the Falcons’ 10-yard again before getting pushed back. Green Bay settled for 35-yard field goal from Crosby, cutting the Falcons’ lead to 14-6.

After an exchange of punts in the third quarter, the Packers’ Crosby tied a franchise record with a 56-yard field goal, pulling Green Bay within 14-9.

The Falcons’ offense sputtered again, after it moved away from the running attack, and was forced to punt. Green Bay struck quickly, Rodgers finding a streaking James Jones on a 70-yard touchdown pass to give his team a 15-14 lead. Jones got behind free safety Thomas DeCoud with strong safety James Sanders blitzing.

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