ReFo: Falcons @ Packers, Week 14
In a game that went from a rout to a serious challenge Ben Stockwell reviews a few key players in the final Week 14 game between the Packers and Falcons.
ReFo: Falcons @ Packers, Week 14
At halftime this game seemed destined to be another primetime blowout. Atlantas’ offense exploded in the second half to make this game a contest which ended anticlimactically with Matt Bosher’s onside kick skidding harmlessly through to Jordy Nelson allowing the Packers to run out the clock.
In the first half the Packers showed off an offense that will frighten every team in the league as they tore the Falcons’ defense asunder. However, in the second half their defense showed a frailty down the field that will fill prospective playoff opponents with hope that they can at the very least put up the points to match the Packers and beat them if they can contain Rodgers and company.
Atlanta Falcons – Performances of Note
Julio Jones, WR, +6.3
Breakdown: A career-high in yards last week wasn’t enough for Jones who went and beat it again last night in a scintillating display, dominating whomever the Packers put across to defend him. Targeted a game high 16 times (against seven different defenders), Jones topped 250 yards in the game with 212 of those coming on seven catches caught 10 or more yards downfield.
Signature Play: More than creating yards for the offense, Jones also saved the Falcons a turnover last night turning defensive back at Q4 7:25 to break up an underthrown pass by Matt Ryan three plays before Roddy White scored from a yard out.
Tyson Jackson, DT, -3.2
Breakdown: In Jackson the Falcons should have been getting a stout run defender who contributed as a tackler as well as a big body to clog running lanes. However, he has failed to fulfill his high level of play that he had as a Chief in Kansas City. Held without a defensive stop for the sixth time this season, Jackson was moved around by Green Bay double teams, rarely offering any impact as a run or pass defender last night.
Signature Stat: Jackson has only eight defensive stops through 13 games; his career-low is 11 from his rookie season in 2009.
Matt Ryan, QB, +2.2
Breakdown: A night of highs and lows for Ryan who lit up the second half finding Julio Jones in particular down the field but mixed in were some truly terrible throws. The interception he threw to Morgan Burnett was a mystifying decision and a pass defense by Micah Hyde early in the third quarter saved him a second interception with Sam Shields driving in front of Julio Jones at the goal-line
Signature Stat: Ryan was pressured on only 10 of 42 drop-backs this week (23.8%, tied ninth-best in the league this week); only once this season has he faced less pressure (5-of-26, 19.2% against Tampa Bay in Week 3).
Green Bay Packers – Performances of Note
Jordy Nelson, WR, +3.4
Breakdown: On another night Nelson likely would have been the most talked about receiver in the game as he continued to pile up the yards and the scores in another spectacular display. His touchdown off a double move when left with a free run onto safety Kemal Ishmael was sublime and moved him into a tie with Mike Evans for the most touchdowns off of deep passes (seven) this season.
Signature Stat: Currently sits fourth in the league behind A.J. Green, Martavis Bryant and Julio Jones with 2.75 yards per route run.
Eddie Lacy, RB, +2.5
Breakdown: That slow start to the season is way back in the rearview mirror for Lacy who tacked on a score as a runner and a receiver while breaking seven tackles on 18 touches. Having carried the ball more than 20 times in a game only twice this season, Lacy will be fresh for a heavier workload down the stretch if called upon.
Signature Play: Got the Packers off to a fast start with a 22-yard gain on their second play from scrimmage. He found space off Josh Sitton’s block as going on to weave through traffic before breaking upfield to take Green Bay close to midfield.
Aaron Rodgers, QB, +3.4
Breakdown: Another near flawless performance by Rodgers, only momentarily spoiled by a fumble on a scramble that he recovered himself late in the first quarter. Rodgers is just absolutely locked in right now and missed throws aren’t even part of the equation on short, deep, or intermediate passes. The Falcons couldn’t come close to him last night, and in this form very few defenses can.
Signature Stat: Rodgers earned a higher passer rating (152.1) and PFF passing grade (+3.0) when pressured by Atlanta (13 of 41 dropbacks) than in a clean pocket (100.6 and +0.9).
PFF Game Ball
Injury robbed him the chance of taking a swing at the 300-receiving-yard mark but Julio Jones was almost uncoverable before that last night.
Follow Ben on Twitter: @PFF_Ben
Ben Stockwell | Director of Analysis
Ben joined Pro Football Focus in 2007, and has since been in charge of the company’s analysis process. He also contributes to PFF’s weekly NFL podcast.