Five More Thoughts: Falcons 34, Packers 23
The good news is it’s week 2. Nobody wins anything in week 2. The bad news is the Green Bay Packers were routed by the Atlanta Falcons again. This time, 34-23 in the Falcons’ new butthole-shaped stadium.
The Packers had a lot of issues going into and during the game, largely injury-related. Hey, what’s new? However, the bigger picture says this. The Falcons will be competing for home field advantage in the playoffs. We touted the win over Seattle in week 1 for the same reason — good for playoff seeding. This one was not good for the Packers’ chances of getting that coveted No. 1 seed.
A loss to Cincinnati at home next week would have been better for the Packers than a loss to Atlanta in the grand scheme of things.
Which brings me to the five.
Turf vs. Grass
The Falcons went out in week 1 and laid an egg in Chicago. They barely beat the Bears and really could have lost that game. The high-powered offense was nowhere to found. That led us to believe this Atlanta team wasn’t the same as last year’s Atlanta team. Then they face the Packers on turf and holy crap! This team was built with speed in mind. They’re a different team when they’re on turf, which showcases their speed. They’re the same plodders as everyone else on grass. So to my earlier point, if the Packers have to go back to Atlanta in the playoffs, they will be the slower team by a wide margin and thus, overmatched. On grass, i.e. in Green Bay, the Packers have a decent shot to beat the Falcons and probably do.
Kevin King’s Time is Now
Quinten Rollins was terrible on Sunday night. Damarious Randall wasn’t much better. The Packers finally said to hell with it and brought in rookie Kevin King. Although he allowed Julio Jones to run wide open on one of his first plays, quarterback Matt Ryan threw to the other side, so no harm. King didn’t allow a completion through at least his first four targets. At the very least, it’s time to get Rollins out of the lineup, move Randall to the slot and let King man one of the outside positions. Frankly, I’d like to see Josh Hawkins get a shot. Randall is not playing at a high level. Maybe he’ll be better in the slot, but if he isn’t, what will it hurt to let Hawkins have a try? Hell, it’s not like Davon House is setting the world on fire either. Let’s see these young guys.
What the Hell, Martellus Bennett?
There may have been guys who had worse nights, but tight end Martellus Bennett was surely near the top of that list. He was targeted 11 times, but had only five receptions. At least three of those targets were flat-out drops. Not exactly what the Packers are paying for, Marty.
Welcome Back, Clay!
I always hear the Welcome Back, Kotter song playing in my head when I write welcome back, so-and-so. Well, the Packers got one of the sweathogs back on Sunday. In week 1 it was Mike Daniels and Nick Perry that provided the pass rush. In week 2, Clay Matthews looked like the old Clay Matthews (a guy that has been M.I.A. for a while). Five tackles, two for loss, 1.5 sacks and three QB hits. Matthews was essentially the entire Packers’ pass rush. That’s bad news because the team needs more than that to protect their suspect secondary, but at least we know Matthews can still bring it.
Still A Lot to Like on Offense
Despite the blowout, there’s still a lot to like about the Packers’ offense. And perhaps this game would have been quite a bit different if the Packers had David Bakhtiari out there. Frankly, I thought Kyle Murphy was a fine fill-in for the second week in a row. Bakhtiari was certainly missed, however. That aside, the Packers got a nice game from Davante Adams (8 for 99, 1 TD). Randall Cobb looked great for the second week in a row (6 for 60) and should have had more production, but his 36-yard reception was wiped out by a B.S. penalty. Although his yards per carry haven’t been great (3.5 per this week), Ty Montgomery is still playing really well. He’s creating yards on the ground (10 for 35, 1 TD) and he’s a huge weapon in the passing game (6 for 75, 1 TD). If the Packers can get healthy, they can just outscore everyone.