Despite a huge lead at half time and another fantastic performance from Aaron Rodgers, the Green Bay Packers nearly succumbed to a Atlanta Falcons comeback that fell just short, eventually winning 43-37 despite a record day for wide receiver Julio Jones.
Aaron Rodgers threw three touchdown passes as the Packers continue on their march to become the 4th NFL team in history to average more than 40 points per game when playing at home. More importantly, they’re getting closer to securing home field advantage in the playoffs throughout the NFC, although last season and in 2011 they lost their opening home games to the 49ers and New York Giants, which means that the cold and noise of Lambeau Field doesn’t always extend into the playoff.
The Falcons, falling to 5-8, are still in the lead of the pitiful NFC South. Matt Ryan got going in the second half and finished with four touchdown passes to one interception. One of those TD passes went to Julio Jones, finishing the game with 11 receptions and 259 yards, a new record for the franchise. Jones didn’t finish the game, leaving with a hip injury. Ryan through all of his four touchdowns in the second half, pulling the Falcons from a 24-point deficit at half time.
Eddie Lacy had a strong showing with a touchdown run and a reception for a score as well, rushing for 70 yards on 13 carries, teaming up well with James Stars who ran for 75 yards on 10 carries. Jordy Nelson had a huge day with 8 receptions for 146 yards and a couple of touchdowns, doing most of his damage thanks to the play action Rodgers executed, completing 8-of-9 throws for 157 yards, with five of them going to Jordy Nelson, turning them into 126 yards and a touchdown.
The Packers’ offense never really slowed down. It only got a bit more conservative as the game dragged on. The problem was their defense, looking impregnable in the first half and a lot less confident and difficult to figure out in the second. The Packers will probably finish on top of the NFC – they’re good enough and carrying a scary amount of momentum, not to mention the best quarterback in the league. But come playoff time, this defense will have to be a lot more consistent.