Julio making catch with back on the ground
After two consecutive tricks, losing the last two games by a combined five points, the Falcons treat themselves to a victory in the clutch. Julio Jones had small numbers, by his standards, with major impact. The Packers were totally dialed in on him with double coverage plus one over top all day long. Perhaps they learned from their past transgressions of 2014 at Lambeau Field when Julio set a new franchise record at the time with 259 receiving yards. Matt Ryan on Julio’s Impact: “He changed the game. There’s no question about it. You could tell with the way that they planned going into that game that they were going to count two players on their defense to try and handle him. When you do that, other guys are going to have advantageous looks. (Sanu) had a bunch of those today. I’m not sure how many guys caught balls, but again, I felt like we spread it around really well. He just opens up so many things for other people when defenses want to play him the way that they did today and I thought we did a nice job of adjusting it and trusting our other guys to make plays.”
Their defensive game plan was to take him away to force someone else to beat them. And someone else did (12) Moses Sanu SR stepped up as the other guy to the tune of 9 catches for 84 yards. He started the game with a 14-yard completion and sealed it on an 11-yard touchdown reception from Matt Ryan to complete the most important 11 play 75-yard drive of the season. Dan Quinn: Really Sanu was on point in a number of ways today. He caught some screens, crossing routes that he had and some first downs. I thought it was one of Mo’s best performances here as a Falcon this year. So often a lot of attention goes over to Julio Jones way so we’re fortunate that we have other guys that’ll get involved. Really a full team win in all phases.”
After starting the season 4-1, that same ole Falcons song was starting to play, their record had slipped to 4-3. Sometimes it not about losing it’s the way you lose. It takes a mentally strong team to continue bouncing back after losing nail bitters. You start to hear words like resiliency and overcoming adversity. Dan Quinn: “I was extremely proud of our effort and fight tonight. No doubt this game was going to go all the way. Both quarterbacks were on fire the entire game. The last two weeks have been extremely hard on us as some finishes went. We’re a resilient group and as a coach honestly we wanted that opportunity to come back and do that again. The fans were into it the whole day for us. It was such an advantage so it was a great win to dedicate to them. We’ve got much to improve on in a short time getting ready for another division opponent this week. Man are we proud of our effort and toughness as a team. They’re a very resilient group.”
The drive was significant because Aaron Rodgers and the Cheese Heads took possession at the 12:31 mark of the fourth quarter and went in for the kill on a 13 play, 86 yard drive that eroded 8:33 off the clock. The drive culminated with a 7-yard touchdown pass from Rodgers to J. Janis. They squarely put it in the hands of their super star Quarterback who doubled the parking rates, my normal rate of twenty bucks was forty, going shot gun on every play. Using his feet as the second weapon he escaped the pocket twice once on an 11-yard scamper on second and nine from their own fifteen-yard line to pick up the first down. The second came on third and three from the 37-yard line picking up another critical first down to keep the drive alive as it was starting to look as if though it was going to die short of the line to gain. Then on a brilliant move at the Atlanta 18 yard line they went to the Trick or Treat Snap going with an immediate snap to catch the Falcons defense with 12 men on the field. After a Green Bay Challenge and review by the referee, the play was reversed resulting in a 5 yard gain down to the Atlanta 13 and a new series of downs. After two runs Rodgers hit J. Janis for what appeared to be the game winning touchdown.
Another day the same ole results for the Falcons, the score was 32-26 in favor of Green Bay. It was all over except the gloom and doom as the record crowd of Green Bay fans better known as the Cheese Heads were dancing in their seats with 3:58 remaining. Little did they know the Falcons are featuring a not so secret weapon named Matt Ryan the leading passer and perhaps if the seasoned ended today would be the leading vote getter for the MVP award? Matt went into his bag of treats. The Falcons said you have a star and so do we they, in turn, put it squarely in his hands going shot gun with no huddle
This was a signature drive that displayed all of the characteristics Coach Quinn has been preaching all season being resilient mentally strong enough to believe and continue working in the face of adversity. Just keep working keep believing sooner or later it going to go your way, no better time than prime time game of the week to show your character by doing your team motto RISE UP.
And boy did they rise up, with a “two-minute turbo”.
Ryan went short middle for 9 yards, short right for 13 yards, a miss, short left from 8 yards, back short left for 12 yards, short left again for 9 more yards just like that they were at the Green Bay 33 yard line with the two-minute warning. Today I’m going to call it the two minute alert to Sanus’ coming out party. Ryan targeted him 6 times on the drive completing 5 passes for 50 yards and the game winning bullet right down the heart of the defense. Euphoria erupted in the Dome.
Ryan currently leads the NFL in passing yards and passing touchdowns. That was his 34th game winning drive in the fourth quarter or overtime of his career. It’s the third time Ryan has thrown a game-winning touchdown pass inside the final two minutes of the fourth quarter. Julio on “Matty Ice” in games like these: “Most definitely. Nobody can take us and go two-minute turbo in the last two minutes of the game like Matt Ryan. He does a great job with it as far as going out there and finding open guys. He doesn’t force anything and does a great job of moving the ball.”
Then it was up to that BAD MAN.
Aaron Rodger was simply Aaron Rodgers. In defeat with a number of his usual weapons not playing and Jordi Nelson banged up one has to appreciate his talents and skill set. Simply stated a defense has to stay alerted and cover every inch of the field. He is just so cool never appearing to be frustrated. He moves in the pocket to buy time then with a bullet toss he hits the receiver. He is so fundamentally sound, patient, and poised, always looking deep then utilizing the check down methodology finding the open man to move the ball, taking what the defense gives him. When scrambling out of the pocket he just chopped his feet as he approached the sideline then like a dart he hit the receiver at the sideline as they are obviously coached to never give up on the play because Rodgers is going to keep it alive until the dire end. That BAD MAN ran out of time as the final .31 ran off the clock. The Falcons won this thriller 33-32 bring their record to 5-3. This week it’s short they are heading for the pirate ship in Tampa for the rematch on Thursday.
Interesting Facts of the Game
- Matt Bryant became the all-time leader in Falcon Points by surpassing Mort Andersons’ 806 points he has 812.
- Matt Ryan in the clutch 9 of 11 passes for 75 yards and the game winning touchdown pass
- A win with Julio Jones being targeted 5 times for 3 catches resulting in a total of 29 yards.
- Vic Beasley continued his mission of sacking the quarterback with one at a key time in the game. He is currently tied for 3rd in the NFL. Can you spell P-R-O-B-O-W-L?
- Julio did get a pass interference call.
- Rodgers was sacked 3 times
- The little man Wide Receiver Taylor Gabriel recorded his first receiving touchdown in a Falcons uniform. The 47-yard reception was his longest touchdown reception of his career. He finished the game with three receptions for a season-high 68 yards.
- DE Adrian Clayborn recorded two sacks on the day. He now has 3.5 sacks on the season, and that was his first multi-sack game of his career.