First Quarter:The Falcons came out in the first quarter blazing. Using multiple players, the Falcons pieced together a 13-play drive that lasted 6:45 and ended with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Roddy White. On the drive the Falcons stayed balanced and passed six times and rushed seven times for 50 yards, including a Julio Jones reverse that gained 17 yards. Atlanta kept the momentum on Green Bay's first possession, forcing a fumble on a Brent Grimes hit. Defensive tackle Vance Walker recovered and Atlanta took over on offense.
Second Quarter:The Falcons turned the turnover into points, driving up the field on 10 plays, ending with a Michael Turner 1-yard touchdown run. The Atlanta defense continued to stay strong against a pressing Green Bay attack. Atlanta bent but at their own 2-yard line on second-and-2, linebacker Sean Weatherspoon dropped Rodgers for the first sack of the game. On third down, Lawrence Sidbury continued the Rodgers barrage, bringing him down for a 1-yard loss that forced a field goal. The Falcons couldn't muster any more points in the half, but kept Green Bay out of the end zone. On the Packers' last possession of the half, the Falcons stopped Green Bay on their own 17-yard line, forcing another field goal. The Falcons took their 14-6 lead into the half.
Third Quarter:Atlanta's third-quarter struggles continued Sunday night as they gave up two scores to the Packers to allow the road team to take the lead. On Green Bay's second possession they scored a field goal to draw closer and then took the lead on the first play of the following possession. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers connected with James Jones for a 70-yard touchdown pass to give Green Bay the 15-14 lead. One of the few highlights of the quarter was Atlanta registering its third sack of the game on Rodgers, a 7-yard loss from Corey Peters on the first play of the half.
Fourth Quarter:The Falcons continued to let the Packers slip away in the fourth quarter. On the first play of the quarter, Greg Jennings caught a 29-yard touchdown pass to extend Green Bay's lead to 22-14. The Falcons found some life over halfway through the quarter when they came up with a stop on third-and-11. The offense took over and began to drive the field before Ryan's protection broke down and after a sack he threw an interception. Green Bay ate up the clock on the ensuing possession and ended the drive with a field goal to extend the lead 25-14. One final interception from Ryan with 48 seconds remaining put the game in the books.
Play of the Game:For the Falcons' highlight of the night, you have to go back to the first quarter. After excellent coverage on a deep pass from Rodgers, Grimes returned to tackle running back Ryan Grant on the Atlanta 38-yard line and forced a fumble that Vance Walker recovered. Atlanta made the turnover a score on Turner's one-yard touchdown run to take the 14-0 lead.
Player of the Game:Grimes deserves player of the game honors as well, but not just for his forced fumble. His coverage was a positive most of the night and he chipped in two passes defensed to go along with his seven tackles. Weatherspoon gets an honorary nod for his 11 tackles, one sack, two tackles for loss and one quarterback hit.
Turning Point:Even though things went horribly wrong for Atlanta in the second half, they were still only down one score with much of the fourth quarter remaining. After forcing a punt on defense, Atlanta took over with 11 minutes remaining and began piecing together a positive drive. After a sack of Ryan produced an 11-yard loss, the wheels officially came off. On the next play, Ryan tossed an interception to safety Charlie Peprah and Green Bay would go on to run the clock out and finish with a field goal to put the game out of reach.
Stat of the Game:5-44. Atlanta's five penalties for 44 yards proved to be very costly as the game progressed. A number of them wiped out positive plays for the Falcons and provided a hole that would ultimately be too deep to dig from.
Tweet of the Game:Although there was a lot of bad to tweet about, there was also a lot of good at some points. Green Bay totaled up the yards and ultimately came away with the win, but they had to scratch and claw their way to it. Nothing was easy for Green Bay on Sunday night and Aaron Rodgers' famed championship belt celebration was never heard from. In the midst of a battle Rodgers didn't have much of an opportunity to throw his hands-to-the-waist celebration. One fan, @TylersRisingUp, noticed it and saw the good in it: "Well. There's one good thing about this game. A Rodgers did not pull out the belt.
Quote of the Day:The Falcons defense held Green Bay to 25 points on Sunday, their lowest point total of the season. In Green Bay's three trips to the red zone, Atlanta's D kept the Packers at zero percent on the night. The Falcons also chipped in four sacks, one forced fumble and eight quarterback hits. In the end, the offense couldn't get going in the second half and the penalties continued to make their day challenging. Tony Gonzalez said the penalties were costly in his summation after the game: "I think our defense played outstanding. If they play like that every game, there's no reason why we shouldn't win a lot of games. Even though we didn't come out on top today, the way the defense played, I know the offense can play better. Obviously we were moving the ball down the field. When you have penalties like that, especially in the second half, it kills you. That's what showed today."