Rants and Raves: Packers manage weather conditions while Falcons freeze up

Dec. 8, 2013

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Falcons safety William Moore forces a fumble by Packers quarterback Matt Flynn in the second quarter. / Kyle Bursaw/Press-Gazette Media


Rave: The Packers seemed to handle the weather conditions better than the Falcons. The temperature at kickoff was 9 degrees, with a wind chill index of minus-1. After the game, neither team made an issue of the cold and snow. But Atlanta had several dropped passes in the second half, including a crucial one by Harry Douglas on its final drive. If he catches the pass down the left sideline, Atlanta has a first-and-10 around the Green Bay 38-yard line. Instead, Matt Ryan threw an interception on the next play to essentially end it.

Rant: The second quarter — when Atlanta scored all 21 of its points — was a disaster for Green Bay. It started with a 36-yard touchdown after Morgan Burnett dove to try to break up a Ryan-to-Drew Davis pass. Burnett missed, then M.D. Jennings missed a tackle and Davis scored. On Green Bay’s next possession, Matt Flynn was sacked and fumbled the ball away. Atlanta took advantage with a TD pass to Tony Gonzalez in which Burnett bit on play-action and allowed Gonzalez to get open in the end zone. Two Packers series later, Flynn threw a fluky interception that Sean Weatherspoon returned for a 71-yard touchdown. The Packers went into the halftime locker room hearing some boos from the Lambeau crowd.

Rave: Green Bay caught a break on Atlanta’s opening drive, and took advantage of the questionable coaching call. The Falcons drove from their 23-yard line to the Packers’ 35 and faced a fourth-and-2 situation. Atlanta’s running back combination of Steven Jackson and Jacquizz Rodgers had rushed for 22 yards on six carries to that point, all for 2 yards or more. But coach Mike Smith decided to punt. The Packers took over on their 10 and proceeded to drive 90 yards for a touchdown.

Rant: On the last play before halftime, Eddie Lacy sustained an ankle injury on a 1-yard run. The Packers had just suffered through a horrendous second quarter and just needed to get off the field and into the locker room to regroup. But with 4 seconds left, instead of taking a knee or replacing Lacy in the lineup, coach Mike McCarthy called a play for him. The ankle injury kept him off the field for the first two series of the second half. In his postgame news conference, McCarthy said “no” when asked if he regretted the play call.

Rave: The Packers’ offense sustained drives, something it couldn’t do on Thanksgiving Day at Detroit. Green Bay had three scoring drives that used 11 or more plays. The first was an 18-play, 90-yard drive that consumed 9 minutes, 7 seconds. The number of plays and time consumed were season-highs. They did it with a mix of run and pass in the no-huddle offense. Lacy ran seven times for 27 yards and the 1-yard touchdown run. He also caught two passes for 22 yards from Flynn, who completed 5-of-6 passes for 52 yards on the drive.

— Robert Zizzo

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If you've ever answered "Who has the ball?" with "It's halftime," you might recognize The Airhead. Check out the characters in our cartoon gallery of oddball fans.

Special Reports