The Green Bay Packers lost to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday by the score of 44-21, as Atlanta advanced to Super Bowl LI. One of the storylines throughout the game was the continuous stream of Packers players leaving the game with injuries. No fewer than six critical players left the game at various points and did not return, leaving Mike McCarthy and his assistant coaches scrambling to adjust.
Make no mistake - the Packers were making mistakes and being outclassed by the Falcons before most of these injuries had much of a chance to manifest. However, the constant stream of bodies leaving the field made an already-painful game even tougher to watch.
LT David Bakhtiari 68, C Corey Linsley 68, RT Bryan Bulaga 63, LG Don Barclay 50, RG T.J. Lang 38, RG/RT Jason Spriggs 30, LG Lane Taylor 18, RG Letroy Guion 5
That’s right. The situation on the offensive line got so bad that Guion had to come in on the Packers’ final series of the game. Perhaps that is why the team brought Brett Hundley in for Aaron Rodgers (more on that momentarily). But still, with three starters down (Taylor, Lang, and Bulaga), any hope of getting a push up front was lost. Guion did have a nice run-block at one point though. Silver lining?
Lang’s injury had him visibly upset on the sideline. As a free agent-to-be, Lang’s re-injuring of his previously-broken foot might have put an end to his career in Green Bay.
Barclay and Spriggs put forth an admirable effort, but simply weren’t up to the task of keeping Rodgers clean. Then again, there was plenty of blame to go around, as he was pressured on 20 of his 49 dropbacks (per Pro Football Focus).
QB Aaron Rodgers 63, FB Aaron Ripkowski 28, RB Ty Montgomery 23, RB Christine Michael 15, QB Brett Hundley 5
The Packers never got any semblance of a running game going in this contest, but they barely even tried on their first few drives. They ran once on the first six-play series, then twice on the next seven-play drive. They did pick up a few chunk plays through the air, but simply did not seem to even consider pounding the ball down the heart of the Falcons’ very poor run defense.
Once they began chasing in the second quarter, there was no chance. Not including the final series, when the Packers inserted Brett Hundley and simply ran down the clock, the Packers called a grand total of 10 planned running plays. In total, the running backs totaled just 39 yards on 12 carries, and Aaron Rodgers led the team with 46 yards, 28 of which came on a single scramble. Add in Ripkowski’s fumble and a second one that probably should or could have been called a fumble and you can safely give the running back unit an F for this game.
WR Randall Cobb 66, TE Jared Cook 51, WR Jordy Nelson 49, WR Geronimo Allison 28, WR Davante Adams 27, WR Trevor Davis 22, TE Richard Rodgers 17, WR Jeff Janis 14
With Nelson in serious pain, the fact that he gutted out almost 50 snaps and caught six passes for 67 yards and a score was simply stunning. Cook was Rodgers’ top option once again, seeing 12 targets and leading the way with seven receptions. Cobb racked up the most yardage with 82 on six catches of his own.
It appeared that Adams’ injury limited him the most, based simply on his snap count. That ankle issue clearly bothered him at times, and a healthier Adams might have been a useful weapon.
Davis and Janis basically were non-factors, as was Richard Rodgers, who played a bit in two-tight end sets.
S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix 73, S Morgan Burnett 73, CB Damarious Randall 69, CB LaDarius Gunter 67, S/CB Micah Hyde 39, S Marwin Evans 25, CB Quinten Rollins 19, S Kentrell Brice 3
Brice was hurt on the opening kick, then tried to play a bit on defense before being pulled early. Perhaps just as impressive as Nelson’s ability to play on Sunday was Burnett gutting out a full game on defense, not missing a single snap. They needed him desperately, and Brice’s injury forced Marwin Evans into the safety position when the Packers went with their dime package.
It seemed that the early plan for Quinten Rollins was to keep him on special teams, but Hyde’s injury necessitated his presence in the slot as well.
Clinton-Dix had probably the best performance of anyone, with a tackle for loss in the run game and a pair of pass breakups.
ILB Joe Thomas 73, OLB Clay Matthews 57, OLB Nick Perry 43, OLB Julius Peppers 42, OLB Datone Jones 36, ILB Jake Ryan 36, ILB Blake Martinez 18
Thomas played every down again, tying with Burnett for the team lead with 7 tackles. Ryan, who had a TFL, suffered a second-half injury and was replaced by Martinez, who had one of his own.
On the outside, Matthews actually was credited with three hits on Matt Ryan, but Datone Jones got the only other one among the linebackers. Matthews also was moved around quite a bit, playing in coverage often (and looking a couple of steps slow when covering running backs out of the backfield).
Mike Daniels 55, Kenny Clark 31, Letroy Guion 26, Dean Lowry 18
Daniels was at 75% of the team’s snaps, a slight uptick in his usual workload over the course of the season. Clark continues to work his way into a bigger part of the rotation, and it will be a surprise if he does not end up as the projected “starter” next to Daniels next season, despite Guion still having another two years on his contract.