Packers XLV

Champs Wake Up in Second Half to Dump Falcons

Posted October 10th, 2011 @ 03:10am

One of the hallmarks of the Pack's 2010 championship season was that they never trailed by more than a touchdown all season. Through five games this season, the Pack has trailed on the road by 13 and 14 points and come back to win them both, first in Carolina and on Sunday night in Atlanta. Championship mettle, they call it, and the champs areĀ 5-0 for the seventh time in team history--each previous time they went on to win a championship.

This one couldn't get off to an uglier start. The Falcons opened the game with a heavy dose of the ground game and the defense couldn't get off the field on third downs. Then Chad Clifton was carted off with a hamstring injury and suddenly the high flying Packer offense was being protected by tackled Marshall Newhouse and rookie Derek Sherrod. Even without John Abraham the Falcons were harassing Rodgers. He looked uncomfortable and out of rhythm and the Pack had to settle for two field goals, trailing 14-6 at the half. We await word on the severity of Clifton's hamstring injury. Best case scenario: he's back after the bye. Worst case: oh, let's not go there.

In the third quarter, Mike McCarthy made a gutsy call by sending out Mason Crosby to try a 56 yard field goal. I thought he was crazy--a miss would give the Falcons the ball at midfield, but Crosby drilled it--it would have been good from 62 and the Pack was within five. McCarthy erred on the next scoring drive by going for two, rather than kicking the extra point. That point would have come in handy later when the Packers stretched the lead to eight.

Ultimately, Rodgers found his groove, the tackles stood tall and the Packers offense found itself. Rodgers hit twelve different receivers in the game, a Packer record. James Jones led the way with five grabs for 140 yards. He finished 26-39 for 396 yards and two touchdowns--should have had a third, but Finley dropped one in the second quarter. He is the best player in the NFL right now--there is no argument.

Defensively, the Pack completely shut down the Falcons in the second half. They stuffed the running game and took away the plays downfield. Desmond Bishop's sack--the only one of the night--seemed to take all of the wind out of Atlanta's sails.

11 straight wins going back to the Giants game last December. These are heady times. The Packers offense may be the best we have ever seen. The defense has playmakers at all three levels. And every other team in the league seems to have its warts. Long way to go, but with St. Louis and Minnesota before the bye, the Pack has a chance to keep things clicking into November.

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on October 10th, 2011 at 06:09pm

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on October 10th, 2011 at 06:41pm

Great win! Atlanta had us guessing early with a lot of misdirection, but they couldn't keep it up. I was OK with the go for 2 call. It would have put us up by 3. MM didn't want to loose to a kicked field goal if he could stop it right there. I thought he was probably smarting that he hadn't activated Bulaga for the game, but the line came around after a shaky mix up. MM's ingame adjustments are just spot on, though the run game did suffer. Finley didn't just drop a TD, he also dropped to drive sustaining first downs. I was almost happy for him to not be perfect. He's getting a little full of himself and needs understand that its not always easy.

on October 10th, 2011 at 08:41am

Great to see the D step up last night. Still wondering where the consistent QB pressure is but great job adjusting in the second half. GoPack!

on October 10th, 2011 at 08:43am

Aaron Rogers' cool head, patience, and calm demeaner is a major reason why the Pack hung on and was able to come back and win this game. I will always chrish the B's (Bart and Bret) but the Pack has moved up to the "A" team.

on October 10th, 2011 at 10:12am

Nice win in a game we were set up to lose....quick start by Atlanta....revenge factor..MattyIce 21-2 at home. As the weather gets colder and the leaves are gone we can't always count on 36 points from our offense. So it was nice to see some improvement from defense. Hard to be negative when you are 5-0 but we still have concerns for the long haul....need more of a pass rush....wish we would have payed Cullen Jenkins...Tramon with his shoulder can not yet play bump and run which is his game...Peprah scares up too many big plays...I heard Nick Collins has not been put on the out for year list so maybe he can come back later this season. Newhouse and Sherrod played well but can they perform against some of the better lines. Sherrod has promise...leave him at his natural position which is tackle....he did not work out as a guard. I remember what Brian Billick said before the last draft that Sherrod was his sleeper pick for a future star in the NFL. LAST NOTE: Did anyone catch that Nick Barnett had 2 interceptions for Buffalo and took one in for a TD and jumped in the stands ....ala Lombardi leap !! are not in Green and Gold anymore or did he have a case of deja vu !! GO PACK GO !!

on October 10th, 2011 at 10:23am

Great win last night. Ironically,it was the two guys who missed the Atlanta games last season that helped shoot the Pack in the foot: Grant and Finley. They both rebounded and contributed later though. Rodgers is a monster and amazing in game adjustments by McCarthy and Capers. I had no faith in Crosby to hit that 56 yarder but he came through. Awesome!

on October 10th, 2011 at 12:39pm

Oh, I forgot to mention: Great game for James Jones. Goes to show that Thompson and his penchant for stocking team depth has paid off yet again. None of us were sure Jones would be needed after the first few games but he was a big difference maker out there.

on October 10th, 2011 at 12:43pm

Very good SchenyS....I think the hardest to remember is DJ Williams as he doesnt get many snaps.

on October 11th, 2011 at 02:04pm

jennings,jones,driver,nelson,cobb,starks,grant,finley,crabtree,kuhn,dj williams,green. GoPack! (no stat peaking here).

on October 11th, 2011 at 05:43am

I heard one announcer calling Barnett's Laumbeau Leap the "Buffalo Bounce." At first it bothered me but since Nick did it, I guess I'm OK with it, just so people know if started in GB. What's nice to hear is the positive comments about Hawk, Crosby, Jones and others who were all but thrown under the bus by fans just in the last few are now considered very solid at their positions. We don't have the marque receivers like Larry Fitzpatrick or Megatron (although some are near) but we are deep with great receivers. I think that TT finds great (not marque except for AR) talent and keeps them lined up several deep at each position. Sherrod and Newhouse are great examples of that. Like teeth in a shark, there's another row moving forward to take the place of the tooth that is lost.

on October 11th, 2011 at 10:24am

I didn't agree with the decision to go for 2 when you're up by 1 with that much time left in the game. There seems to be 2 schools of thought: (1) Go for 2 whenever the math makes sense, and (2) Go for 2 only near the end of the game when the math makes sense. I'm in the 2nd category. I thought it was way to early to go for 2, and I thought that when they scored, not just after the fact. If we take the extra point there, we're up by 2, and then up by 9 after we score again. Thereby making the last field goal much less important. I don't know why the TV guys didn't mention it. I would much rather see the Packers have a "We Always Go For 2" mentality. I think they'd get the 2 pt conversion much more than 50% of the time.

on October 11th, 2011 at 12:14pm

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