ATLANTA — A fourth-down play in the fourth quarter decided Sunday's outcome inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
It went Atlanta's way, leading to a 25-24 victory over the Green Bay Packers in a big Week 2 matchup.
Below is how every game recap this 2023 season will be broken down by quarter for right-at-the-buzzer consumption, starting with a note that Atlanta won the coin toss and deferred to the second half.
After not recording a single reception in Atlanta's season-opening win against the Carolina Panthers, wide receiver Drake London got the first offensive touch for the Falcons. It was a 9-yard pass from quarterback Desmond Ridder.
Well, after not throwing an interception through the first five games of his career, Ridder did just that two plays later. He took a hit in the pocket from Packers defensive tackle Kenny Clark and was then picked off by Packers cornerback Rasul Douglas.
The Falcons defense did its job, though, and kept the Packers from cashing in on that turnover. Atlanta linebacker Kaden Elliss had a major sack on Green Bay quarterback Jordan Love to complete the three-and-out.
(Note: The sack was Elliss' first as a Falcons member, the ninth of his six-year career.)
When the Falcons offense came back out, it marched all the way down the field, going from their own 27-yard line to the Packers' 1. Atlanta could not seal the deal once there, though, despite going 3-for-3 in the red zone last weekend. Instead, the Falcons settled for a 24-yard field goal from kicker Younghoe Koo.
-- Falcons: Younghoe Koo 24-yard field goal … 3-0, ATL
End first quarter: 3-0, Falcons
The Packers maintained possession from the previous quarter, continuing their drive at the Falcons' 19-yard line. Atlanta had Green Bay in a third-and-2 situation, but the Packers converted for a fresh set of downs. Love then connected with Packers wide receiver Jayden Reed for a 9-yard touchdown reception.
The Falcons were unable to immediately answer, but their next drive did have some highlight moments, such as running back Bijan Robinson's 19-yard run that saw him dodge two tackles. Ridder was nearly intercepted again, if only Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander hadn't dropped the ball.
Green Bay extended its lead on the next drive, with kicker Anders Carlson making a 33-yard field goal. Atlanta had a clutch third-down stop in the end zone when Love tried to hit wide receiver Dontayvion Wicks in the corner. Falcons cornerback A.J. Terrell broke the pass up, though.
That defensive play must have sparked something in the Falcons, because the offense came out and marched right down the field to score. Ridder hit London with a 3-yard pass. That drive even included a fourth-and-1 play that picked up 13 yards thanks to Robinson's legs.
The game would have been tied at the half, except Koo missed his extra-point attempt, leaving the Packers with a one-point advantage.
-- Packers: Jordan Love 9-yard pass to Jayden Reed; Anders Carlson PAT … 7-3, GRB
-- Packers: Anders Carlson 33-yard field goal … 10-3, GRB
-- Falcons: Desmond Ridder 3-yard pass to Drake London … 10-9, GRB
Halftime: 10-9, Packers
The Falcons and Packers had very different starting drives out of the locker room.
While Atlanta went three-and-out — by virtue of three consecutive incomplete passes from Ridder, including another near-pick — Green Bay trotted out and scored on a 32-yard reception from Love to Wicks. The pass was short, but Wicks broke out of Falcons cornerback Tre Flowers' grasp to run the rest of the distance needed.
It looked like the Falcons responded with their own touchdown, as wide receiver Mack Hollins caught an 11-yard pass from Ridder near the back boundary line, but the officials reversed the original call to an incomplete, saying Hollins was out of bounds. Ridder was then sacked for a loss of 2 yards, and Koo was brought out for a 33-yard field goal. Koo made it, slightly closing the Packers' advantage over the Falcons but of course not as much as the touchdown would have.
(NOTE: Robinson broke 100 rushing yards for the first time in his career. He was at 12 carries for 101 yards with 4:47 left in the quarter.)
And then Green Bay only widened the gap more when Love hit Reed with a 10-yard scoring reception. Packers had double the Falcons points when the clock ran out.
-- Packers: Jordan Love 32-yard pass to Dontayvion Wicks, Anders Carlson PAT … 17-9, GRB
-- Falcons: Younghoe Koo 33-yard field goal … 17-12, GRB
-- Packers: Jordan Love 10-yard pass to Jayden Reed; Anders Carlson PAT … 24-12, GRB
End third quarter: 24-12, Packers
Hello, Hollins — again, but unmistakably in bounds with this grab.
With the second play of the final period, Ridder launched the ball to Hollins downfield. Hollins won his 1-on-1 matchup against Packers safety Darnell Savage for a 45-yard gain.
That was the first domino to fall in the Falcons' direction.
Four plays later, Ridder tucked and ran the ball in himself for a score. The Falcons were then within a touchdown of the Packers once again. The difference quickly diminished even more.
(NOTE: The 45-yarder was the longest completion of Ridder's career. His previous long was a 40-yarder last year in the Falcons' season-ending win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.)
Green Bay went three-and-out, and Koo made a 39-yard field goal to put the Falcons within two points of the Packers.
Rinse and repeat. Green Bay went three-and-out, but this time, Atlanta's offense stuck with it — so much so the Falcons went for it on fourth-and-1 at the Packers' 23-yard line when they could have brought Koo back out and still pull ahead on the scoreboard.
It was a risk.
And it paid off.
The Falcons picked up a fresh set of downs. They advanced enough to set Koo up with a game-winning 25-yard field goal. He made it. Falcons win — by one point in the final minute.
-- Falcons: Desmond Ridder 6-yard run; Younghoe Koo PAT … 24-19, GRB
-- Falcons: Younghoe Koo 39-yard field goal … 24-22, GRB
-- Falcons: Younghoe Koo 25-yard field goal … 25-24, ATL
Final: 25-24, Falcons
Get an inside look at the matchup between the Atlanta Falcons and the Green Bay Packers during Week 2.