Posted on September 18, 2017, by Travis Pulver
Fans of the Green Bay Packers would have loved to have avenged their loss in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday Night Football. They would have loved for Aaron Rodgers to have gone nuts against the Falcons defense. They have loved even more to see their defense do to Matt Ryan what it did to Russell Wilson last week.
However, it just wasn’t meant to be.
This game started off much better for the Packers than the NFC Championship game did. After seeing the Falcons go 86-yards in nine plays on the opening drive of the game, the Packers responded with a nice touchdown driver of their own (11 plays, 75 yards).
But then a familiar problem arose for the Packers. They couldn’t run the ball. No problem, right? They have Aaron Rodgers; they don’t need a running game. Maybe, but they could have used their two starting offensive tackles and top two wide receivers. Bryan Bulaga and David Bakhtiari didn’t start, and both Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb were lost to injuries during the game.
While the offensive injuries stung, the Packers seemed to be able to overcome them. But the defense began to struggle a little when Mike Daniels had to live the game.
After a good start, the game began to look a lot like the NFC Championship. Matt Ryan led the Falcons offense on three more scoring drives before the end of the first half. The Atlanta defense only gave up 11 yards after Green Bay’s touchdown drive, and the Falcons led 24-7 at the half.
The game was still in reach for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. They just needed to score on their opening drive of the second half to get back in the game. But instead, the Falcons forced their second turnover of the day, a fumble. Desmond Trufant picked it up and trotted in from 15 yards out to score a touchdown.
Down by 24 after Trufant’s fumble return, Aaron Rodgers had his work cut out for him and actually made a valiant effort to win the game. He led the Packers to points on their next three drives (two touchdowns and a field goal). The defense held Atlanta to just a field goal the rest of the way.
But the Falcons defense made Rodgers work for it on each drive forcing the Packers to eat up a lot of time. While Ryan didn’t score anymore, the Falcons offense chewed up a lot of time. In the end, while they played a better game than they did in the NFC Championship game, the result was the same.
Green Bay lost but only by 11 this time (and not 23 points), 34-23.
The one-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers to Ty Montgomery in the fourth quarter was the 300th passing touchdown of his career. He set a new record for fastest to that mark by doing it in 4,178 pass attempts. Peyton Manning previously held the mark (4,742 attempts; ESPN).
Atlanta will face another pass-happy team with no run game next week when they face the Detroit Lions. Green Bay will hope to get back on track with a home game against the Cincinnati Bengals.