Now that there's more talk about the poor Packers' run defense, I took my shot at them on Sunday, I'm switching gears and going to focus on the rest of the game against Atlanta. In some ways they played better last weekend then they had in the previous two losses.
QB Aaron Rodgers played very well considering his injured shoulder. It would have been a good start even without taking it into account. It helped to get WRs James Jones and Ruvell Martin back after they both missed the last two games. Rodgers needs more targets.
They weren't perfect, but rookie CB Pat Lee and new starting CB Tramon Williams both played well. Once S Aaron Rouse and S Atari Bigby return, the secondary will look good.
Yes, RB Ryan Grant actually ran the ball well. Not early in the game, but the offensive line gave him some room to run and he made some plays. Mike McCarthy may deny it, but it sure seemed to help once injured LT Chad Clifton was sat down in favor of LG Allen Barbre, with LG Daryn Colledge moving over to left tackle. He's a great player, but they might be better off without Clifton until he's 100% healthy.
Unfortunately penalties remain a major problem.
- Although the Packers only trailed by 10-0 after the first quarter, this was arguably their worst quarter of the season.
- CB Charles Woodson fell down and left WR Roddy White wide open for a big gain. Then another big 19 yard gain for White to convert on 3rd down.
- LB A.J. Hawk looked a little lost as he tried to cover TE Justin Peelle on his TD receiption.
- The offense ran six plays. Two 3-and-outs. At least we got to see Mike McCarthy chew out his players as they ran to the sidelines.
- After two lousy 1st quarter possessions, the Packers execute a nearly perfect one to start the quarter. 7 plays with 6 different players either catching or running the ball. Every play for positive yards, capped by a big TD pass to WR Donald Driver.
- Then the defense turns around and gives up a TD. It was almost a 3-and-out, but a big pass interference call on rookie CB Pat Lee kept the drive alive. It was a close call, but it was a killer. They still can't cover Roddy White as he spins CB Will Blackmon around on a long TD pass.
- Another good Packer drive, but it ends lousy. First, Rodgers can't take a sack on 3rd down in field goal range. Second, rookie TE Jermichael Finley can't commit a holding penalty on a made 44 yard FG attempt that becomes a missed 54 yard FG attempt. And that's the difference in the final score.
- Roddy White had a monster 1st half, but no catches in the 2nd half. He also had a serious case of the drops. QB Matt Ryan threw for about 150 yards in the 1st half, but only 50 in the 2nd.
- A FG drive doesn't seem like a big turning point, but it kept them in the game. After a great punt pinned the Packers at their own 2 yard line, WR Ruvell Martin had two 1st down receptions and turned the field position around in favor of the Packers.
- Atlanta comes back with a good drive helped in part by a lousy unnecessary roughness penalty. He was trying to avoid the receiver out of bounds.
- That was a fantastic INT by CB Tramon Williams. He was beat as Atlanta's TE ran wide open to the end zone, but Williams recovered and Matt Ryan slightly underthrew the ball. A great leaping, one handed INT.
- TE Tory Humphrey had 2 catches for 42 yards on the next drive. He had 4 catches in the game and now has 5 total receptions for his career. Rodgers has thrown few passes to the tight ends this season, but Humphrey and TE Donald Lee combined for 8 receptions in the game. We've been waiting over since the end of 2006 for Humphrey to get healthy and contribute, and it finally happened. Plus it leads to a TD pass to WR Greg Jennings. Rodgers needs more targets.
- Lousy kick coverage sets up an easy FG drive for Atlanta. Special teams played great in first three weeks, but they've been bad the last two weeks.
- That was the worst pass I've seen Rodgers throw this season. He threw a pass to Martin in triple coverage and it was picked off. He was trying to do too much on 3rd and 19, trying to make up for the intentional grounding penalty on the play before.
- Here's where the run defense falls apart, but I'm done talking about that for now.
- It was good to see Rodgers bounce back from a terrible INT with a last minute TD drive that got them back within three points.
- Did K Mason Crosby mean to kick the on side kick to the 45 yard line where no Packer would have a chance without a muffed catch?