The Atlanta Falcons hosted the Packers in a rematch of the NFC title game that provided plenty of entertainment and ultimately a victory for the home team.
The showdown was the first regular season game in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium and the Falcons came out on top 34-23 over the Packers after leading at one point in the game by 24. The defense never skipped a beat from the playoffs last year and it looks like the offense didn’t either. Everything including special teams was all clicking in the win for the Falcons.
Matt Ryan had a vintage Matty Ice performance and made the kinds of plays throughout the night that won him the MVP award last year. Ryan went 19 for 28 with 252 yards and 1 touchdown. Ryan is also holding the longest active streak in the NFL right now with a touchdown pass in 21 straight games. The offensive line and the rest of offense were major factors in this win as well, especially from Julio Jones, Devonta Freeman, Tevin Coleman, and Mohamed Sanu. In the first home regular season game under Steve Sarkisian, the offense picked up right where it left off in the NFC title game.
Newly paid running back Devonta Freeman rushed for 84 yards off 19 carries and had 2 touchdowns. Julio Jones had 5 receptions for 108 yards. Mohamed Sanu had 5 receptions for 85 yards with some tough 3rd down catches helping to extend numerous drives. Tevin Coleman had 6 rushes for 42 yards and a receiving touchdown. After a less than encouraging showing against the Bears, the offense appeared to get back on track against the Packers.
Although the score did not look as dominant as the win truly was because of late touchdowns by the Packers, the defense lived in the backfield in the first three quarters. Aaron Rodgers was sacked by the Falcons’ defense 3 times and the Falcons had 5 total tackles for losses. Robert Alford led the defense with 7 total solo tackles, with De’Vondre Campbell right behind him with 6 solo tackles, a sack, and 1.5 tackles for loss. Rookies Takk McKinley and Duke Riley were big contributors in the defensive scheme causing all kinds of commotion in the backfield and showing great potential throughout the night.
Neither side was healthy by the end of this game. For the Falcons, offensive tackle Ryan Schraeder went out of the game with a concussion and did not return. Vic Beasley exited with a slight tear in his hamstring and is expected to be out for a month. Courtney Upshaw left the game with a ankle injury and never returned. Randall Cobb went down with a shoulder injury for the Packers. Jordy Nelson sustained a quadriceps injury.
The Falcons will look to improve to 3-0 on the season in Detroit on Sunday, September 24th against the Lions.