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Atlanta Falcons Blow 11 Point Lead, Fall 22-21 to Green Bay Packers

December 9th, 2013 at 11:11 AM
By Graham Waldrop

The Falcons improved their draft standing, but lost another heartbreaker by a count of 22-21.  In terms of how many points the Falcons have lost a game by this season, this was their closest loss of the year.

The first quarter only featured two drives, one by each team.  The Falcons had a good drive going, but their drive stalled late and were forced to punt, the Packers answered on their first drive that featured a lot of RB Eddie Lacy.  Lacy was one of the keys for the Falcons to stop in order to win the game, but the former Alabama standout finished the drive with a touchdown and a solid day, 20 attempts for 65 yards and a touchdown.  All things considered, after this drive, Lacy was not nearly as effective.  This was one of the best performances against a good running back that this defense has shown this season.

The second quarter was all Falcons, in fact, they scored all 21 of their points in the second quarter.  The Falcons struck quickly after the 7-0 deficit to tie the game at 7, that featured Steven Jackson getting significant touches to help the Falcons, including a 22 yard burst that would set up a 36 yard touchdown pass to Drew Davis from Matt Ryan.  Jackson finished the game with 15 rushes for 71 yards, and probably should have gotten the ball more than he did.  

The Falcons defense would play a big role in this game as on the next drive, William Moore sacked QB Matt Flynn, forcing a fumble deep in Packers territory.  The Falcons capitalized on the turnover, as this led to a classic Ryan to Gonzalez touchdown pass near the goal line, putting the Falcons up 14-7.  

This would be the last points the offense would score, as late in the second quarter, LB Sean Weatherspoon recorded a pick six in truly bizarre fashion.  After the ball hit Paul Worrilow in the shoe, it bounced up and Weatherspoon snatched it and raced back to end zone.  This would put the Falcons up 21-10 and capped off an impressive second quarter of play on both offense and defense.

But like so many times under this coaching staff, the Falcons could not play four quarters of complete football.  The offense would never sniff the end zone again, and the defense could not hold the double digit lead.  Although the decisive opposing touchdown can be put directly on a key turnover by the Falcons. Sound familiar?

The Falcons only totaled 123 yards in the second half, with just 11 of those coming in a truly ugly third quarter in which the Falcons went three and out on two drives.  The Falcons were a victim of the conditions in some respects as passes that should have been completed, fell harmlessly to the turf as Tony Gonzalez and Harry Douglas had key drops, late in the fourth quarter.  Douglas had a chance on a deep ball that would have put the Falcons in the red zone, but it slipped right though his hands.

The Packers would chip away in the third quarter with two field goals, and score the decisive touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Turnovers by Matt Ryan once again played a key role in setting up the opposition for victory.  In the fourth quarter, Ryan was sacked and fumbled deep in Packers territory.  The Packers would recover, leading to the go ahead touchdown for Green Bay.

Flynn finished with a line of 24/32 for 258 yards with one touchdown and one interception.  The Falcons did get great pressure on him, sacking him for five times, but the backup quarterback still had a solid day.  

Ryan was only sacked once, the lowest total since only being sacked three times against Tampa Bay.  He had a line of 20/35 for 206 yards, one touchdown and one late interception that came on the Falcons final drive.  

The Falcons improved their draft position, but lost another close heartbreaker.  This game felt more akin with the playoff loss against San Francisco last season.  Get out to a big lead in the first half and then fall apart in the second.  The Falcons have been having a tough time playing four complete quarters of football over the last couple of seasons, and Sunday's game was no exception.

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Tags: Atlanta, Atlanta Falcons, Eddie Lacy, Football, Harry Douglas, Matt Flynn, Matt Ryan, NFL, Paul Worrilow, Sean Weatherspoon, Steven Jackson, Tony Gonzalez, William Moore

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