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Falcons defense 'clicking' in fourth-quarter comeback against Green Bay Packers

Green Bay managed just 11 net yards offensively in the final 15 minutes of Atlanta's 25-24 victory Sunday.

ATLANTA — Both the Atlanta Falcons offense and defense started the fourth quarter of Sunday's 25-24 victory over the Green Bay Packers with an exclamation point.

The offense had a 45-yard bomb from quarterback Desmond Ridder to wide receiver Mack Hollins that put the Falcons in the Packers' red zone, and Ridder punched through to the end zone with a 6-yard run of his own.

Then Atlanta's defense forced Green Bay to go three-and-out. The Packers managed to pick up just 2 yards in that drive.

"We were able to get that first stop, and after that, we were clicking," Falcons linebacker Kaden Elliss said. "The crowd was into it. The offense was moving the ball. You just felt the momentum shift."

The Falcons entered the final period down, 24-12. The touchdown run from Ridder put them at a 5-point deficit. Two field goals are what ultimately pushed Atlanta ahead.

In those final 15 minutes, Elliss didn't exaggerate: The Falcons defense was clicking.

The Packers offense totaled 11 net yards on 10 plays. They had no first downs, out of three conversion attempts. They had no completed passes, out of six attempts.

"Those stats," Elliss said, "they pay a tribute to how it felt out there."

That wasn't the case for the other 45 minutes, though, especially not in the second and third quarters when the Packers posted all their points.

In the second quarter, Green Bay had 25 rushing and 37 passing yards on 14 plays. Quarterback Jordan Love connected five of his six attempts, including a 9-yard touchdown throw to wide receiver Jayden Reed. The Packers also had a 33-yard field goal.

In the third quarter, Green Bay had 13 rushing and 82 passing yards. Love hit all seven of his passes, including a 32-yard touchdown toss to wide receiver Dontayvion Wicks and a 10-yard scoring shot to Reed.

"It's never going to be perfect," Falcons safety Jessie Bates III said. "People are going to score. They're going to kick field goals, but when there are critical moments, that's when you got to be tight. I think we did a really good job about facing some adversity and coming back."

The Falcons had a strong start and finish, though the start doesn't look as pretty on paper solely because of a major penalty. Atlanta kept Green Bay out of the end zone, but the Falcons still allowed the Packers to accumulate 56 net yards on 13 plays in the first quarter. Falcons cornerback A.J. Terrell was called for defensive pass interference, which gave the Packers an automatic 44 yards to start the game.

"We've got to not get those penalties," Atlanta head coach Arthur Smith said. "That would be a great coaching point. When the ball is up there like a punt, hopefully we can turn around and play that better. Not blaming the player that it was called on, but we can play those situations better.

"And they got the penalty twice. Huge chunk plays."

Falcons cornerback Tre Flowers was also flagged for defensive pass interference in the third quarter, which handed over 43 yards.

The Packers had 224 net yards offensively. Nixing those two penalties, they had 137. Makes a big difference.

Those mistakes are fixable, though, as Smith noted. Otherwise, Atlanta did have a strong defensive performance.

Its strongest moments came when it mattered most, too — at the end.

"It was awesome," Elliss said. "You just felt like you can't be denied. You felt dominant. It's complementary. The offense is doing it, the special teams is doing it, the defense is doing it. When all of you are doing it, that's just true momentum, and it's hard to stop momentum."

Get an inside look at the matchup between the Atlanta Falcons and the Green Bay Packers during Week 2.

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