Given the weather systems that have swept through the central continental US over the past several days, the Green Bay Packers must be thrilled to ball-toss at the Georgia Dome today against the Atlanta Falcons. Televised on Fox, the first quarter began with the Falcons on offense and a thirty-eight yard field goal. Atlanta 3 and Green Bay 0. Quarterbacked by Aaron Rodgers, the Packers put on a solid offensive display that put them in the red zone. The Falcons defense kept the Packers out of the end zone, so Green Bay had to field goal. Both teams 3.
The second quarter demonstrated Packers umph on offense. The Falcons defense responded as well as can be hoped (?), if you discount the personal fouls incurred as of five minutes into the quarter. Just when it would appear that the Packers would certainly get into the end zone, Aaron Rodgers lost the ball and the Falcons pounced on it. Hopefully that turnover would fuel the Falcons offense prowess. Despite Matt Ryan getting sacked and an incomplete pass, a “connection” with tight end Tony Gonzalez gave the Falcons another set of much-needed downs. With only eleven seconds left in the quarter, Matt Ryan threw a touchdown catch to Tony Gonzalez, who was standing near the back of the end zone. After making the TD, he dunked the ball over the cross bar of the uprights. Atlanta 10 and Green Bay 3.
The third quarter ticked halfway through with bursts-and-pauses for each time. The Packers’ second possession, however, proved fruitful as they tied the game with a TD (the quarterback himself crossed the goal line). Packers 10 and Atlanta 10. When the third quarter was a sneeze from ending, the Falcons got all the way to the edge of the end zone. The Packers defense successfully kept the birds from scoring twice. Would third-and-goal pay off for the Falcons? No. Head coach Mike Smith decided to challenge the ruling on the field of whether or not Tony Gonzalez had control of the ball (his feet were in the end zone, he was facing the field and flanked by two Packers. Did the ball break the plane). He lost the challenge.
The fourth quarter started with a fourth down and goal attempt by the Falcons to make a TD and running back Michael Turner answered the call. Atlanta 17 and Green Bay 10. The Packers’ offense did not give in or give up, neither did the Falcons’ defense. Packers wide receiver James Jones nearly had a TD but he landed out of bounds. In jumping up to catch the pass, Jones had to leap up and back so that by the time he came down, his left foot was half-in-half-on the white. The two minute warning came and went…and on fourth-and-goal for the Packers, after a false start penalty, wide receiver Jordy Nelson made a TD at the edge of the end zone. Both teams 17.
Falcons wide receiver Eric Weems got face-masked as he was returning the kick with under a minute left. That penalty on the Packers put the Falcons at the fifty yard line. Kicker Matt Bryant had the victory on your shoulders. Would he make the forty-seven yard FG? YES!!!! SWEET DICED, CANNED PEACHES!!! Atlanta 20 and Green Bay 17. Final score.
Observations & Miscellania:
1. Narration was provided by Brian Billick and Thom Brennaman.
2. In college football news, Notre Dame ousted USC, Ohio State clobbered Michigan, Oklahoma just barely out-performed Oklahoma State, Florida State destroyed Florida, Auburn took it from Alabama, Virginia Tech jammed Virginia, and UGA beat GaTech.
3. The Falcons wore red jerseys and white pants, the Packers wore white jerseys and yellow pants. The two together made me think of succotash.
4. A helmeted Aaron Rodgers reminded me of a young Billy Joel.
5. The slow-motion instant replay of the Falcons defense piled on top of the Packers’ ball carrier in the bottom of the first quarter was beautiful.
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