It was tempting to have given up on this game and spared Aaron Rodgers the beating he took but they never want to give up on a game. It was a long shot, but the Falcons are now known for giving up big leads, and the home crowd abandoned them long before the end, the stadium looked nearly empty in the 4th quarter.#Packers QB Aaron Rodgers takes another hard shot, this one from Adrian Clayborn, in a game that is over. He'll be sore tomorrow.— Ryan Wood (@ByRyanWood) September 18, 2017
After the disastrous NFC Championship Game last season, when the Packers were so banged up by the end of it that Letroy Guion had to finish out the game at RG, and now this one, there's something about injuries and games in Atlanta. Of the names above, losing Bulaga and Bakhtiari before it even started and made me pessimistic, and then losing Nelson and Daniels on consecutive series officially made me write this game off.Currently not playing for #Packers:— Wilde And Tausch (@WildeAndTausch) September 18, 2017
• Bryan Bulaga
• David Bakhtiari
• Jordy Nelson
• Mike Daniels
• Randall Cobb
Damarious Randall has been trending downward ever since he started his NFL career strong in his rookie season (unbelievable now, but true). It started unraveling for him during their playoff loss to the Cardinals at the end of the 2015 season. A few weeks ago, Quinten Rollins was being written up as the best cornerback in training camp, but he looks two steps behind in coverage and he had trouble tackling. Kevin King looks like a rookie some of the times, but he actually makes plays (only he and Burnett were credited with a pass defense for this game). I thought they also benched FS Kentrell Brice for Josh Jones, Brice doesn't look like a difference maker in the secondary, but Jones was actually an injury replacement. It was hard to tell about Davon House because Matt Ryan spent so much of his time going after Randall and King. House should keep playing (depending if he's healthy next week) but it looks like it's time to let the rookies (King and Jones) play.Mixed bag from Packers secondary. King, Burnett look good IMO. Randall, Rollins, House doing nothing to help.— Brian Carriveau (@BrianCarriveau) September 18, 2017
As bad as Randall was in the first half, Martellus Bennett might have been worse. On a team leading 11 targets, he had 5 catches for 47 yards. He also drew a stupid personal foul in Week 1. The offensive PI was weak because it was within 1 yard from the line of scrimmage but the rest of his night was bad enough. Hopefully he fits in better as the season goes on.Rough first half for Martellus Bennett: Four targets, no catches, two drops and a (questionable) offensive pass... https://t.co/TSDIOjzXXq— Rob Demovsky (@RobDemovsky) September 18, 2017
And yet the Packers almost managed to get back into this game. Even though they were missing their four best offensive starters not named Aaron Rodgers. And missing their best defensive player (Daniels). The Packers were living in Seattle's backfield last week, but without Daniels they rarely were disruptive behind the line of scrimmage against Atlanta.Photos: Packers' rally falls short as Falcons win 34-23 at new Mercedes-Benz Stadium https://t.co/UZ13dXs1hl pic.twitter.com/u4GIfGRGCJ— Wis. State Journal (@WiStateJournal) September 18, 2017
Also the real reason they lost this game: 2 killer turnovers. I'm not sure if Rodgers felt like he had to do more without Nelson and his two best lineman, but the overthrown INT on a pass attempt to Allison (which led to a end of the half TD for the Falcons) and the reckless attempted pass/turned into a backward lateral to his right tackle on a busted play were not things I usually see from him. Those two turnovers led directly to 14 points and were the difference in the game. Almost everything went wrong but the turnovers are what lost it.
It's never helpful to lose a game to another NFC team but it's still just one game. The first order of business is to get everyone healthy. None of these injuries seem season ending (so far) and the Packers get a little breather with a home game next week against a struggling Bengals team.