GB-ATL grades: Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers both impress in Falcons' win
Atlanta Falcons 33, Green Bay Packers 32
Here are the top-graded players and biggest takeaways from the Falcons’ 33-32 win over the Packers:
Quarterback grade: Aaron Rodgers 83.9
Rodgers at his best, but it isn’t enough
If the Packers were going to win Sunday, it was obvious it was going to be because of the performance of Aaron Rodgers. Of the Packers’ 62 offensive plays, only 14 were designed runs, and many of them draws. Rodgers had caught much criticism in recent weeks for holding on to the ball too long and not creating anything with all the time afforded to him. On Sunday, though, that wasn’t the case. All four of his touchdown passes came after 2.6 seconds or more.
Top offensive grades:
LT David Bakhtiari, 81.8
FB Aaron Ripkowski, 79.6
RT Bryan Bulaga, 78.1
C J.C. Tretter, 77.8
WR Jordy Nelson, 73.3
Rookies forced to step up
With Randall Cobb and Ty Montgomery sidelined, Trevor Davis (36), Geronimo Allison (19), and Don Jackson (10) all saw the most snaps in any game of their careers. The results were somewhat encouraging, as both Davis and Allison hauled in touchdowns, even though Allison also added a drop. Rodgers clearly felt comfortable tossing the ball their way, as they had eight combined targets in 49 passing snaps.
Top defensive grades
DI Mike Daniels, 86.0
DI Letroy Guion, 78.1
S Micah Hyde, 75.9
LB Jake Ryan, 75.7
LB Joe Thomas Jr., 75.4
Packers’ defense falters at the end
All in all, it was a frustrating day for the Packers’ defense, which had some solid individual performances, yet allowed Atlanta to score on six out of eight drives. Up front, Mike Daniels once again showed that he might be pound-for-pound the strongest player in the league, gaining five total pressures (six if you include a two-point attempt by Atlanta at the end of the first half) on 24 pass-rush snaps, with all but one being him just bull-rushing either Chris Chester or Andy Levitre into the middle of Matt Ryan’s pocket. Jake Ryan led the linebackers, finishing the game with an 88.3 grade in run defense and leading the defense with eight stops. In the back end, Ladarius Gunter held his own, allowing just three catches on six targets for 30 yards to go with a pass defense; opposite of him, though, Demetri Goodson was picked on for four catches on five targets for 73 yards and a touchdown; Matt Ryan had a perfect 158.3 QB rating when targeting the receiver being covered by Goodson.
Quarterback grade: Matt Ryan, 87.6
Yet another strong performance from Falcons QB
Matt Ryan had another outstanding performance this Sunday, and as of now (through the Sunday afternoon games), he ranks second among all QBs, behind just Tom Brady, with an 88.4 overall grade on the season. Ryan was especially effective against Green Bay when given time to throw; on the 30 drop-backs in which the Falcons QB saw no pressure, he completed 23 of 29 throws for 231 yards, three touchdowns, and a 134.3 QB rating. Ryan didn’t attempt a single pass on the afternoon that went at least 10 yards in the air and was outside of the numbers; all of his damage at least 10 yards downfield came over the middle, where he completed six of eight throws for 109 yards and two of his touchdowns.
Top offensive grades:
T Jake Matthews, 78.7
WR Mohamed Sanu, 77.0
WR Taylor Gabriel, 76.4
TE Austin Hooper, 74.3
T Ryan Schraeder, 73.9
Offense overcomes a hobbled Julio Jones
Julio Jones was clearly limited after an awkward landing tweaked something in his ankle, and with him slowed down, the rest of the offense stepped up. Matt Ryan had a 135.0 QB rating when targeting Mohamed Sanu, who caught nine of 10 targets for 84 yards (41 of those coming after the catch) and a touchdown; TE Austin Hooper also had a nice day, catching all six of the balls thrown his way, with one of those picking up a key first down as Atlanta marched down the field at the end. The offensive line combined to allow nine total pressures on the day in pass protection, but eight of those came through the interior, with Jake Matthews and Ryan Schraeder combining to give up just one pressure (a hurry allowed by Schraeder) on the afternoon.
Top defensive grades:
LB Deion Jones, 89.3
CB Robert Alford, 85.3
DT Grady Jarrett, 78.9
LB DeVondre Campbell, 74.9
S Ricardo Allen, 74.1
Atlanta’s linebackers shine
With others on the back end of the Falcons’ defense struggling, rookie Deion Jones stood out head and shoulders above the rest. He was targeted twice in coverage, breaking up one pass in the end zone on Jordy Nelson and blowing up Aaron Ripkowski on a screen. He had three stops and a hurry, and didn’t miss a single tackle on four attempts.
PFF Game-Ball Winner: Falcons QB Matt Ryan
PFF’s player grading process includes multiple reviews, which may change the grade initially published in order to increase its accuracy. Learn more about how we grade and access grades for every player through each week of the NFL season by subscribing to Player Grades.