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Falcons vs. Packers Recap: Atlanta loses 43-37 to Green Bay despite second half surge

The Atlanta Falcons put up 30 second half points but couldn't seal the deal against the Green Bay Packers.

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Despite a Herculean second half effort, the Atlanta Falcons came up short against the Green Bay Packers, losing 43-37 in Lambeau Field.

The loss knocks Atlanta down to 5-8, yet they remain in first place in the NFC South. The loss also ensures no team in the division will finish with a record above .500.

Green Bay took the opening kickoff 81 yards in seven plays, taking just under four minutes off the clock to put the first points on the board with a three-yard run by James Starks. And the Packers wouldn't relinquish the lead.

Atlanta put together an impressive response of its own, capping off the nine-play, 72-yard drive with a four-yard touchdown run by Steven Jackson. That's the only time the Falcons would put any points on the scoreboard in the first half.

The Packers rattled off 24 unanswered points to take a commanding 31-7 lead into the half. Things looked grim on the Falcons' front.

But in the second half, the Matt Ryan to Julio Jones connection came alive.

On the opening play in the third quarter, Ryan found Jones on a 79-yard catch-and-run to set Atlanta up for an easy score. Four plays later, Eric Weems caught the touchdown pass to inch the Falcons a little bit closer.

Both teams traded field goals before Ryan connected with Jones on a 22-yard score to make it a 34-24 game.

A 60-yard touchdown from Aaron Rodgers to Jordy Nelson in the fourth quarter looked to be the back breaker, but Atlanta put up two more touchdowns - one-yard and two-yard scores to Roddy White and Harry Douglas, respectively - to make things interesting.

The Falcons had a chance with three timeouts and 2:11 left in the game. But the onside kick failed and Atlanta was unable to get the ball back from Green Bay.

After setting a career-high in receiving yards with 189 last week against the Arizona Cardinals, Jones decided he wasn't done. He set another career-high on primetime with 259 yards before exiting in the fourth quarter with an apparent hip injury. The 259 receiving yards set a new franchise record and were also the most against the Packers in a single game.

Ryan, aside from an ill-advised interception, had a stellar night, too. He passed for 375 yards and four touchdowns on 24 of 39 attempts.

Heading into the game, Rodgers hadn't thrown an interception at Lambeau Field since December 2, 2012. That streak lives on after tonight as the quarterback added three more touchdowns and 327 yards to his passing totals.

The Falcons head back to the Georgia Dome to host the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. It's hard not to have heightened expectations in that game after tonight's (second half) performance.


Here's a bit of a silver lining: the Falcons didn't give up easily. This game could've very well been a mauling after Atlanta was down 31-7 at halftime. But they clawed back and put together an impressive effort in the second half.

The Falcons are in first place in the NFC South for the fourth week in a row, thanks to the Carolina Panthers taking apart the New Orleans Saints. At this point, it's repeated ad nauseam on how bad the division is, but it's still a sight to behold.