Playing a divisional playoff game in front of the home faithful, the Falcons played their worst game of the season, as they were picked apart by Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in a miserable 48-21 setback to end their 2010 season.
The team had lost just one game at the Georgia Dome the whole season, including an earlier win in the regular season over Green Bay. The Packers though beat the Falcons all night, hitting big plays in the passing game, as well as pressuring Matt Ryan and holding down the Falcons offense.
Ryan was 20-for-29 for 186 yards with a TD and two picks, but never got his rhythm after the bye week, and a pick six on the last play of the first half at the hands of the Packers Traman Williams basically put the game away as the Pack led after 30 minutes 28-14.
The way both teams were playing, the two TD lead might as well have been 50, as Green Bay was not going to give the Falcons any breathing room. They scored two more TD’s in the third quarter, one on a Rodgers run and another on a pass to back John Kuhn to make it 42-14 with 15 minutes left.
Atlanta scored a final TD on a Ryan to Roddy White pass to make it 42-21. Mason Crosby kicked two field goals for the Packers as they celebrate a trip to the NFC Title game next Sunday either against the rival Bears in Chicago or against the Seahawks in Seattle, a team that finished the year 7-9.
Nothing the Falcons did in the secondary seemed to work against Rodgers. They tried playing zone coverage. They tried playing man-to-man. They tried mixing zone and man together. They tried blitzing, but all of it was useless against the Packers QB who had 330 yards passing going into the fourth quarter.
His final numbers were 31-for-36 for 366 yards with three TD’s passing and one rushing. He wrapped up the day with a QB rating of 136.8.
“It was a tough night for our football team,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. “We made a lot of mistakes and ran into a hot quarterback. They were the better team today, hats off to them, we’ll learn from this experience.”
The 28-point second quarter was the nail in the coffin, as the Falcons had a 7-0 lead after a Michael Turner 12-yard run with five minutes to play in the first quarter. Their defense though couldn’t hold down the Pack, as Rodgers led a 13-play, 81-yard drive to tie the game up. Green Bay, who never punted, went on a 10-play, 92-yard drive to tie the game at 14.
Atlanta’s second TD came after Eric Weems took the kickoff after Green Bay tied the game and went 102 yards past the Packers special teams to give the Falcons a 14-7 lead. It was short lived though, as Green Bay was too much to handle all night on offense.
The numbers were staggering for the Pack, they had 26 first downs to 15 for the Falcons, outgained them 442 to 194, and held the ball for 38:19 to just 21:41 for Atlanta.
It’s a bitter end for a great season for Atlanta. They had won 13 regular season games, losing to only the Steelers in OT on opening day, the Eagles on the road, and a late season setback to the Saints at home. What happened Saturday night at the dome was not nearly a good mark of how well the Falcons played in the regular season.