Falcons prove NFC Championship blowout of Packers was no fluke
The Atlanta Falcons again dominated the Packers, handing Green Bay a 34-23 defeat in the NFL on Sunday.
Green Bay cut their starting cornerback from last year's team that gave up 180 receiving yards to Julio Jones in the NFC Championship game, but it made no difference at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Matt Ryan turned in a solid performance, completing 19 of 28 passes for 252 yards and a touchdown. He spread the ball around to seven different receivers while Jones led the Falcons with five catches for 108 yards on the night.
The Packers moved the ball well in the second half. They were neck and neck with the Falcons all night in total yards and won the time of possession battle, but penalties, turnovers and an inability to score in the red zone cost Green Bay in the end.
Green Bay tallied 10 penalties for 70 yards and turned the ball over twice, including an Aaron Rodgers fumble that resulted in a touchdown.
Rodgers finished the night 33 of 50 for 343 yards and two scores, but he was constantly pressured by the Falcons' defense even when they lost 2016 NFL sack leader Vic Beasely to a leg injury in the second half. The Packers star also had the 300th touchdown pass of his career.
Rodgers tried to pull off a mini fourth-quarter comeback, but it was too little too late as the Falcons were able to hold on.
FIRST OF MANY
The Falcons methodically marched down the field for the first touchdown in the history of Mercedes-Benz Stadium and Devonta Freeman carried it home.
"They're huge," Ryan said of his running backs Freeman and Tevin Coleman to NBC after the game. "I mean, our offensive line, credit to Ty [Sambrailo] for coming in and stepping up for us with Ryan [Schraeder] going down, but those guys, they got the run game going, our backs are special, both those guys are special and they did a great job for us tonight."