The Falcons started the night with an easy touchdown drive, but swiftly lost two important players in Ryan Schraeder and Courtney Upshaw. It was an open question whether those losses would help unravel the team’s early lead, and for a moment, it looked like they might.
Fortunately, despite some late game nervousness, Atlanta was able to win by double digits in their first home game in Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Whatever injury issues the Packers had, the Falcons impressed tonight, and they’re now 2-0 with a handful of easy games and a bye week coming up. They’re in an excellent position, and that was objectively a fun as hell win to watch.
Re-live the magic below.
The first Falcons drive featured a lot more aggression and creativity than we saw against Chicago, with Matt Ryan hitting Julio twice, Devonta Freeman running well, and a flip to Freeman and sweep to Turbo to get the Falcons inside the five yard line. Then Devonta Freeman got excellent blocking and powered into the end zone for the game’s first points. Matt Bryant hit the extra point, which is more or less automatic, and things looked easy early.
Falcons 7 - Packers 0
The Packers followed things up with a pretty frustrating drive, with Green Bay twice making it to third and moderate yardage before converting on Aaron Rodgers completions. Then the team really got rolling, converting a third down thanks to a costly pass interference on Keanu Neal, a nice pass to Ty Montgomery that brought them within the five yard line, and then a Ty Montgomery run for a touchdown. Too easy for Green Bay, unfortunately.
Falcons 7 - Packers 7
The next Falcons’ series was an abject disaster. Matt Ryan threw one ball to nobody (because he had nobody open), threw the next one out of bounds in the direction of a covered Mohamed Sanu, and then got sacked on third down. Punt for Matt Bosher.
Then the Packers! They quickly had to punt thanks to an offsides penalty and not much on offense. The Falcons put themselves deep in their own territory thanks to two holding calls on the punt, but Matt Ryan was able to connect with Mohamed Sanu for a 24 yard pickup to get the Falcons moving. Thus ended the first quarter.
The Falcons looked great through the air as the drive rolled on, with Ryan hitting Julio Jones, Justin Hardy and Mohamed Sanu to get the Falcons close to the end zone. That’s when Devonta Freeman showed great patience and vision and punched in his second touchdown of the night, putting the Falcons up for the second time.
Falcons 14 - Packers 7
The Packers looked to answer, but couldn’t do it. A De’Vondre Campbell sack, a false start, and a close missed pass meant Green Bay had to punt it away. They managed to pin the Falcons on their own 10 yard line, at least.
Atlanta drove down the field easily thanks to Julio Jones, who ate up yardage, and a brilliant 35 yard gallop by Tevin Coleman. Thanks to a third down sack, though, they had to settle for three points. Matt Bryant had little trouble hitting a 51 yarder as the quarter wound down.
Falcons 17 - Packers 7
The Packers gamely tried to move the ball, but aside from a costly hold from Robert Alford on a third down, they just couldn’t do it. The Falcons almost picked Aaron Rodgers twice on the drive before the Packers punted it away.
Atlanta had a very quick three and out thanks to a short Devonta Freeman run and two straight missed connections between Matt Ryan and Julio Jones. Punt time!
The Packers faltered thanks to flags before Aaron Rodgers threw a pick to Desmond Trufant, who made a beautiful play on the ball.
The Falcons took swift advantage, moving downfield thanks to some timely throws by Matt Ryan and culminating in a short touchdown throw to Tevin Coleman. Now up three scores, Atlanta looked awfully good once more.
Falcons 24 - Packers 7
Green Bay didn’t get to do much and we were at halftime. Pretty, pretty good.
The Falcons arrived violently in the third quarter. On a Rodgers drop back, he’s met by Dontari Poe and Vic Beasley. He tried to toss the ball away, but the pass does not go forward and is actually a lateral (!), meaning it’s a live ball. Trufant picks up the lateral and runs it into the end zone.
Falcons 31 - Packers 7
The Packers push back until it all falls apart in the red zone. Adrian Clayborn replaced an injured Beasley, and sacked Rodgers. A few misplays, and they are stuck kicking a short field goal.
Falcons 31 - Packers 10
The Falcons answer back by churning through some clock. We saw both Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman get a handful of touches on this drive. Ryan almost completes a deep ball to Justin Hardy, but things slow down after Ryan gets sacked on 3rd-and-four. Matt Bryan nails a 53 yard field goal and the Falcons again bounce back to a 24 point lead.
Aaron Rodgers made some magic with a severely beaten up offense, and pushed his team down to near the red zone.
Falcons are still holding onto a strong lead, but as we know from 95% of the commentary, that lead doesn’t mean too much. The Packers felt fine burning up time by running the ball, but maybe because the pass rush had almost no problem pressuring Rodgers in passing situations. Packers pass catchers just can’t hold onto the ball.
It looked like the Packers were about to call it a game, but on 4th-and-seven Rodgers sends a perfect pass to Davante Adams for a touchdown, with imperfect coverage by Alford. The Packers try for a two-point conversion which... fails.
Falcons 34 - Packers 16
The Falcons can’t put much together offensively, and fail to score. The Packers slowly make progress, but not anywhere near fast enough to push for the win. It took them nearly 4 minutes to push 85 yards for their next touchdown. Falcons defenders are dropping like flies, and those that are healthy are clearly tired. With under 6 minutes left, it’s an 11 point game.
Falcons 32 - Packers 23
The Falcons have one job: burn out the clock. Sarkisian has a nice plan, and we even saw a wildcat play with Mohamed Sanu taking the snap and handing off to Freeman. However, the team played some messy football. There was a false start on both Austin Hooper and Andy Levitre. The Falcons hit all of Julio, Taylor Gabriel, and Mohamed Sanu to help ice out this game.
The Falcons successfully took control of the game and churned through the clock, making it impossible for the Green Bay Packers to come back. The Falcons run it on third-and-long, giving the Packers the ball back with just over one minute. Rodgers just had to take one last hit from Adrian Clayborn before finishing the game with a short pass to Allison that had no chance of getting anywhere near the end zone.
The Atlanta Falcons open up the Mercedes-Benz stadium with an impressive win against the Packers. They answered a ton of questions raised after last week’s uneven road win against the Chicago Bears.