The Atlanta Falcons appeared to be the most dominant team when it came to Sunday’s matchup against the Green Bay Packers, winning 44 to 21. The Packers went three and out on the opening drive of the 3rd quarter. Followed by a two-play scoring drive for the Falcons that made the score 31-0. At that point, we all pretty much knew the game was over. The Green Bay Packers came into the NFC title game banged up. But they were simply overpowered and outmatched against the Falcons outstanding offense. That all being said, there were many mistakes made by Green Bay that helped Atlanta get out to such a demanding lead so quickly.
Aaron Rodgers was playing at an MVP level with sub-par talent in the backfield and at the receiver position over the last 8 games. What’s interesting about this game is the points that were left on the field for the Packers and how it made the game look so lopsided. To start, the very makeable 41-yard field goal that was missed by Mason Crosby, which ended his streak of consecutive made field goals in the postseason. Let us also not forget about when the Packers were driving and Ripkowski fumbled at the Atlanta 10 yard line where the Falcons recovered for a touchback. Those two opening drives were back breakers for Green Bay’s momentum and confidence. The Packers secondary also dropped two very catchable interceptions that could have kept the Falcons from getting out to such a big lead. These mistakes are the main reason Green Bay was dominated. During his postgame press conference, you could see that Rodgers was clearly frustrated with his team. You could tell he felt as if the Packers didn’t have enough weapons to compete. This offseason will be crucial for the Packers to put talent around Aaron Rodgers and improve the secondary if they are going to compete for a super bowl next season.
Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons offense dropped 493 yards of total offense on the Packers defense. 73 of those yards were provided on a beast mode like catch and run by Julio Jones. He worked through a holding penalty on a slant pattern and then fought off two defenders with vicious stiff arms, taking it all the way for a touchdown. Jones showed dominance with 180 receiving yards on 9 grabs that led to 2 touchdowns. Matt Ryan threw for 392 yards, completing 27 of 38 pass attempts, and 4 touchdowns with no interceptions. He finished the game with an incredible 139.4 passer rating and showing why he should be the MVP for the 2016 regular season.
The Packers still have a good football team and the injuries and mistakes killed any hope they had of mounting a comeback. They were simply just too depleted, especially at the offensive line position. Aaron Rodgers was hit viciously on 3 or 4 dropbacks that had some of us thinking, “wow, I can’t believe he’s getting up after that!”. However, the Atlanta Falcons showed that they are the most explosive team in the NFC on offense. With the way that Matt Ryan is playing this season, there would have been little chance of the Packers winning that game whether they were healthy or not. The real question is, can Matt Ryan finally silence the critics entirely by winning against Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, and the dominant New England Patriots?