This was a tough one, if only because the Green Bay Packers could have won it if another play or two would have gone their way. Instead, the Packers do what they’re known to do in the regular season. They build their win total against average and bad teams and lose to good ones.
Although I’m still not convinced the Atlanta Falcons are a top-tier team.
Now, you can go ahead and blame injuries for the loss if you like, but I’m not going to do that. The Packers have enough depth this season to overcome injuries. What you can’t do — for a change — is blame the Packers’ offense. Despite missing two of their top players and disregarding the running game almost completely, the Packers’ offense still managed to put up 32 points.
And that should be good enough to win. Except when your defense plays badly…
As I noted on Sunday, the Packers’ defense did nothing to help win this game. Specifically, they produced no pass rush and no turnovers. That’s a recipe for disaster for the Packers’ defense, which is built around exactly those two things.
Let’s get on with it.
The Packers were determined not to let Julio Jones dominate this game and they succeeded there. Jones had just three catches for 29 yards in five targets. The Packers handled that exactly as we expected they would. LaDarius Gunter followed Jones all over the field. He often got safety help, primarily from Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. And that worked right up until the Falcons realized the middle of the field would be wide open because the safety was covering Jones over the top on the outside. I don’t really think much of Clinton-Dix anymore. He hasn’t made the impact we expected in his third season and he just isn’t a playmaker. Gunter, on the other hand, was perhaps the lone highlight for the Packers’ defense on this day.
That would be the Green Bay Packers’ receivers — or most of them anyway — because they average less than 10 yards per reception. The exception on this day was Jordy Nelson, who caught four for 94. A large portion of that came courtesy of a 58-yard reception, of course. However, rookie Geronimo Allison was the only other receiver to average more than 10 per catch and that was only slightly more, with 10.5 per on his two catches. Trevor Davis, who had his first NFL reception on Sunday, averaged 8.0 on three catches. Jeff Janis averaged 7.5 per on four. Those are your two fastest receivers, by the way. And how about the slowest receiver? Davante Adams averaged just 6.2 on his 12 receptions. While this all looks pretty poor, the Packers were clearly trying to substitute a running game with quick passes, many of which were receiver screens. So if you look at it that way — that essentially, Davante Adams was your running back, then it doesn’t look as bad.
This is a regular occurrence for the Packers. They limit the top players on the opposing team, but then give up huge plays to their backups. In Atlanta, it was primarily running back Terron Ward, who carried six times for 46 yards, a 7.7 average. This guy isn’t even the top backup. The Falcons’ second back, Tevin Coleman, didn’t play. Ward is the team’s third back. So naturally, the Packers keep Devonta Freeman in check (11 for 32, 3.2 per) and they let the damn third-string back run for big gains. I suppose we should be used to that by now.
I’ve never thought much of Matt Ryan, but he’s playing some good football this season. I haven’t thought much of Aaron Rodgers’ play since 2014. However, he seems to be playing better the past couple weeks. So we got quite the quarterback duel on Sunday. Rodgers played his best football of the season, finishing 28-of-38 for 246, four touchdowns and no interceptions. Ryan was just slightly better, going 28-of-35 for 288, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Their ratings — 125.5 for Rodgers and 129.5 for Ryan — were almost identical. The difference for Ryan was twofold. First, he can get the ball downfield, as evidenced by his 8.2 per attempt (Rodgers’ was 6.5). He can also finish, at least on this day. The game-winning drive is always something Rodgers has had an issue with, though. Most of Rodgers’ success comes when the Packers build a big lead and then hold on.
It’s almost as if the Green Bay Packers have been instructed not to return kicks this season. Well, they didn’t return any kickoffs, but we finally saw something happen on a punt return. That’s thanks to Trevor Davis breaking a 55-yarder that would set up his first NFL touchdown reception. That was quite refreshing to see. In fact, it looks like the special teams may be rounding into shape. In addition to Davis, punter Jacob Schum (Bum) averaged 54.3 on his three kicks. One of those was a touchback, but wouldn’t have been if Jeff Janis had any sort of awareness of the football. Maybe, just maybe, the special teams won’t be a hinderance to winning like they were earlier in the season.
My takeaway from yesterday’s game is that while it was a disappointing result, the arrow is pointing up. Injured players will return, and this team will only get better as the season continues. I think the Packers will be either 13-3 or 12-4 at the end of the regular season, and that should land them in the 1 or 2 seed for the playoffs. The only remaining game that I see as a potential loss is at Philadelphia. The Seahawks are overrated, and the Vikings will not win at Lambeau this year.
The Cowboys punter and the Falcons punter over kick their coverage units so I expected long returns on both of those teams and commented such before each game. If the jammers for the packer would do a better job of slowing down the opponents gunners we would see Davis return a lot more punts.
Is there any reason right now to have R.Rodgers or Perrillo on the field. Rodgers is not adding anything in the blocking or receiving departments.
I thought Fackrell was improving. Fackrell really stumbled badly in the run game yesterday. He let a lot of runs get by or around him. This brings up the question why wasn’t Peppers in the game more. You could see Peppers made Ryan more uncomfortable than any other rusher. Specifically when Peppers came up the middle or off the edge in Ryans line of sight.
Rookies on defense did not have a very good day. Rookies on offense did.
Rodgers had a game winning drive, unfortunately, the defense gave it up. As off as Rodgers has been this year, he was exceptionally good yesterday. 31 secs isn’t much time. Didn’t Nelson have a drop at the end
Typical poor clock management at the end of each half also!
Was at the game yesterday and must say Rodgers was pretty fucking awesome. Losing by 1 point against the top NFC offense at home is not that bad considering we are still out our top 3 CB’S along with Clay missing the game. Don’t worry guys our offense is back and we can be pretty optimistic about the second half of the season now that we can score some fucking points
It was great opportunity for next gen guys and sent message there will be competition….
Trevor Davis was definitely the standout
Counting on you to be right about remaining season Big Gay…
It was nice to see us use other wr besides Adam’s, Nelson, and Cobb. We are going to be running a lot of 5 wide sets the rest of the season. That Trevor Davis TD was pretty sweet, shoes great awareness. Also loved seeing Janis get some opportunities and scoring a TD too. If ARod can start trusting his young wr then this offense will be very hard to stop
Well, you’re right BG Clay, it was a pretty good performance considering it was essentially a wildcard wannabe hopeful visiting a probable division winner on their home field.
The Packer injuries were balanced by the Julio Jones injury — Jones is better than all the injured Packer players combined.
Well….all is not lost my Packer friends. Because it’s time to look forward to our next victim. The Colts, who one could argue have even a weaker defense than the Falcons. So i’m not sayin were gonna win, but damn it…We’re gonna bring it!!!!!
Having the cushiest NFL schedule does have it’s perks.
The Falcons are in such a weak division that they may actually make the playoffs. These pussies I just have no respect for. I hope we tear them like we did in, you guessed it, 2010. The fact that we lost to these low-lifes absolutely burns my eyes. Seriously, its like losing to JV team, FUCK the Falcons!
What’s With Backup Success? Maybe the other teams have better coaching staffs and better game plans to take advantage of Packers’ weaknesses, and there are lots of exploitable weaknesses.