The Packers just traveled to Atlanta, and came out of the “dirty dirty” with a win, albeit ugly, but a win. The Falcons were on us like white on rice, hitting counters, weak screens, really anything to exploit our aggressiveness. It started ugly but once the defense settled down and the offense got their thumb out of their butt, all was well. Aaron continued his MVP campaign despite a make-shift offensive line, looking accurate as ever. The running game was ehhhhhh as usual, and the defense did just enough to finish out against a good Falcons team. Here is a look at the players who shined and whose light may be burning out…
STUD – Aaron Rodgers was his usual self, carving up whatever defense is in front of him. He is the best doctor in the NFL in my opinion, spreading the ball out to 12 different receivers, hitting 26-39 for 396 yards, 2 TDs. He is really the best in the NFL now, nothing other to say. We need to throw crazy money at this guy to lock him up for like a decade, he is ridiculous!
DUD – All the talk this man does, you would think he would be Superman out there, but Jermicheal Finley sure looked rather human tonight, dropping at least three that I saw, none more imprtant than the TD right before half. He made several plays, catching 4 for 67 yards, but left a lot out on the field. If he wants that enormous contract, he better clean that up!
STUD – Whoa, James Jones, where have you been? He has had 9 catches for 88 yards and 1 TD all season, and this game versus the Falcons, he racks up 5 catches for 140 yars and 1 TD. He totally blew me away, leading the WR core in catches, yards, everything. I am really glad to see the guy who just signed a contract extension making plays, because he better find his place in this offense, because it is not changing as long as Rodgers is here.
DUD – The shoulder has been well documented, but Tramon Williams has just been plain average. He did break up one of the last stand passes along the sidelines but the WR was wide open and should have held on. He was beat by double moves early and throughout. His all-pro counterpart has not fared much better! Charles Woodson is playing old, always going for the big play and not staying true to his game. He undercut Roddy White on the TD like 8 yards, and all Ryan did was loft it over him. These two have to get it cleaned up!
STUD – Marshall Newhouse has played huge for the Packers these last two weeks. He has given up sacks but so did Clifton. He allowed two sacks last week to a stud in Von Miller, but for the most part, he held his own. Derek Sherrod also gave up a sack or two but as pitiful as he looked through camp and preseason, he impressed me by actually getting low and using his leverage. I do not think either of them got called for a penalty, which is what I was concerned about. Kudos to these two young men!
DUD – Ryan Grant had a huge fumble in the first quarter in the middle of a good drive by the Pack, only to allow the Falcons to score their last TD of the night. He ran better than Starks did at times, but turnovers are the biggest way to give the opposing team another chance to knock of the champs. It was his first fumble since 2009, but that streak is skewed with his missing 2010, but hopefully he can start a new streak that will last.
STUD – I was pretty pissed with settling for FGs on the first half drives, but Mason Crosby has been money this season. He was 4 for 4, with a record tying 56 yarder to end the 1st half. He is 9 for 9 on the season, kicking most kickoffs through the end zone, really earning his new contract!
DUD – The last huge weakness I see is the most glaring one we have dealt with all season, and that is the pass rush. For the second game in a row, they produced one sack, courtesy of a blitzing Desmond Bishop. Ryan, like Orton last week, had plenty of time in the pocket. We really need Neal, or Zombo, or So’oto, someone to spark this thing. The secondary is one of the worst in team history, statistically speaking, and that should not be the case with the playmakers we have back there. Dom Capers has his work cut out for him because obviously, Clay cannot do it all by himself.