Monday, December 09, 2013

Packers Edge Out One-Point Win Over Falcons, 22-21

I'm going to start out on a positive note because the Packers finally got a win for the first time since October. They had to win and they did it. I'll hand the game ball to K Mason Crosby, who went from last season's goat to a reliable cold weather kicker in a must-win game. Nothing was a gimme on Sunday in the extreme cold and he was perfect with three field goals and an extra point.
Overall, even if QB Aaron Rodgers returns next week, I'm not confident they can make the playoffs. They have to win the NFC North and I'm not confident they can win out. I think the Lions will lose at least one of their remaining three games, they'll face the Ravens next week who are in a must-win situation of their own if they want to keep hold onto the final AFC playoff spot. However, I will feel differently if the Packers can beat the Cowboys next week.

The Falcons had no business having any chance of winning this game, but the Packers gave them one. The list of warm weather and/or dome teams that win on the road in the brutal cold is a short one, but the Packers almost added the Falcons to it.

QB Matt Flynn. For the most part, he ran a nice version of the West Coast offense. Seven different receivers caught more than one pass and he moved the offense down the field on five scoring drives. His back shoulder touchdown pass to TE Andrew Quarless was beautiful. However, it was mostly bad for him. His interception pick-six was a fluke, a tipped pass that ricocheted off another defender's foot, but his five sacks and one fumble off a sack were mostly on him. While RB Eddie Lacy was on the wrong side of Flynn to pick up the blitz on the fumble, Flynn seemed to have no awareness that the defensive back was sneaking up to the line and coming on the blitz. He should have motioned Lacy over to that side. It also happened again to him in the second half, though he held onto the ball that time. His QBR of 34.1 is bad, and coming against a dreadful Falcons defense makes it even worse.

RB Eddie Lacy. It wasn't a marquee performance (3.3 yards per carry) but he ran for some tough yards, moved the chains, and played through a badly sprained ankle in the second half.

WR Jordy Nelson. He caught all four passes thrown to him and he's been the one reliable threat down field while every other receiver has struggled to produce.

Atlanta's offense in the second half seemed to struggle badly with the cold. They couldn't sustain any drives and their receivers weren't holding onto many passes. While injuries have been an issue for them, the only player they're really missing now is WR Julio Jones. Their offense was ranked by Football Outsiders as the No. 11 unit overall before the game and the Packers shut them out in the second half.

Once again, poor safety play plagued the defense. S Morgan Burnett was beaten in coverage on both of Matt Ryan's touchdown passes, and a missed tackle by S M.D. Jennings appeared to send him to the bench. The defensive line actually played pretty well, a couple of RB Steven Jackson's best runs came when the defense was expecting pass and only playing with two lineman. They held up surprisingly well considering they got nothing from LB Clay Matthews and relied on CB Jarrett Bush for two big stops. The cold was a unique setting, but overall the defense played it's best game in weeks.


Jack Niemuth said...

Basically, if Rodgers plays they'll beat the Cowboys easily. If he doesn't, they'll lose. Simple

PackFaninFl said...

After watching the Cowboys literally get beat up and have a short week to prepare for us (with aches and all), I like our chances A LOT if Rodgers comes back.

I'm actually way more worried about the Bears game in Chicago...

Brandon said...

Both those defense (Cowboys and Bears) are beaten up and playing badly. Lacy/Starks are going to be able to run on both of them (unlike the excellent Lions run defense). If Flynn would stop turning the ball over, the Packers could have a chance if the defense played like it did against the Falcons.