Falcons vs. Packers 2014 final score: 3 things we learned from Green Bay’s 43-37 win
The Green Bay Packers held on to best the Atlanta Falcons on Monday, 43-37.
The Green Bay Packers took down the Atlanta Falcons on Monday Night Football, 43-37. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers and running back Eddie Lacy had big games for the Packers, leading them to a big win. It was Rodgers’ 100th career start, and he managed to set a significant passing record during the game.
Green Bay put up scores on every offensive possession in the first half, though the Falcons did manage to gain some ground with multiple scores on the second half. The gap actually started to close significantly, as the Falcons scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Eventually, they trailed by just six points with under three minutes to go in the fourth. Green Bay scored just enough to keep themselves ahead though, holding on for the victory.
With the win, they move to 10-3 on the season and maintain a one-game lead in the very competitive NFC North. With a loss, the Falcons are now 5-8, and still tied for the NFC South lead with the New Orleans Saints.
But Monday’s game did not look to a game between two playoff teams. The NFC South will likely have a representative with a losing record if the Saints and Falcons both lose another game. Green Bay is now eyeing a Week 17 game against the Detroit Lions, who are just a game back in the division.
It was an eventful first half for the Packers, but an uneventful half for their punter. The Packers managed to score on every possession of the first half, though to be fair to the Falcons, they did manage to hold the Packers to a field goal on one of the drives. But the Falcons couldn’t keep up offensively, and Green Bay took a dominant 31-7 lead into the half.
The Packers went 81 yards on seven plays (James Starks touchdown), 80 yards on 13 plays (Eddie Lacy touchdown), 63 yards on 12 plays (Mason Crosby field goal), 15 yards in four plays (Lacy touchdown reception, came after a Matt Ryan interception) and 53 yards in eight plays (Jordy Nelson touchdown reception).
Atlanta’s first offensive possession is the only one that went well, with them going 72 yards in nine plays, capped off by a Steven Jackson 4-yard touchdown. While that tied the game at 7-7, they didn’t find that kind of success for the rest of the half.
The Falcons finally showed some life in the second half, putting up a touchdown and a field goal in the third quarter. That made it a 14-point game, though the Packers did manage a 33-yard field goal near the end of the quarter to make it 34-17 heading into the fourth. Atlanta didn’t let up there, as Matt Ryan found wide receiver Julio Jones for a 22-yard touchdown to make it a 10-point game with plenty of time remaining inf the fourth.
But Rodgers and the Packers responded in a big way, as the prolific quarterback hit Nelson for a 60-yard touchdown pass. That made it a 16-point game after the Falcons managed to block the extra point attempt by Crosby. Ryan wound up finding Roddy White for a touchdown with six minutes to go, but the Falcons failed the two-point conversion attempt, making it a 10-point game.
Green Bay wound up kicking a field goal, though they didn’t manage to kill a whole lot of clock, allowing the Falcons to drive downfield once again. Atlanta put up its third touchdown of the fourth quarter, making it a one-score game, but a couple big plays from the Packers allowed them to get in scoring position and effectively clear the clock.
Three things we learned:
1) Aaron Rodgers’ offensive line is ridiculous
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers is among the best players in the league for certain, and has an argument for the title of best active quarterback on top of that. He can make any throw, he rarely makes bad decisions and he always has the Packers competitive. That said, it seems like not enough recognition is given to his offensive line, which gives him a ridiculous amount of time to throw the football on most plays.
During the game, the broadcast focused on this, putting a timer on Rodgers’ time in a clean pocket and he was routinely getting more than three seconds before he even has to worry about potential pressure. Of course, it helps that his throws are ridiculously on point regardless of the situation, but his offensive line certainly made his job easier on Monday.
2) Tackling Eddie Lacy is hard
Lacy may wind up coming up short of his yardage totals from his rookie season, but the second-year back has been solid this year and has put together some impressive outings. He had another one of those games on Monday against the Falcons, putting up over 70 yards on the ground with another 30 in the air, and two touchdowns in total. In addition to his multiple scores and solid stats, Lacy had one of the more impressive runs of the week, making multiple Falcons players miss and leaving a trail of defenders in his wake:
3) Julio Jones is still as good as ever
The Falcons gave up a lot to move up and draft Julio Jones in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft. But it was seen as a great deal given the offensive talent already on the team. And it was a good deal, as Jones and Roddy White formed the most feared wide receiver duo in the league. But White has struggled this year, and the Falcons offense looks just as bad as the rest of the team.
But Jones has been good throughout, even better than he’s ever been. Jones is having his best season yet, with 82 receptions for 1,169 yards and five touchdowns coming into Monday’s game. He had a huge game against the Packers, and was the lone bright spot on Atlanta’s offense, finishing with 11 receptions for 259 yards and a touchdown. He also had this touchdown to make it a 10-point game in the fourth: