Green Bay Packers extended their defeatless streak with a win over the Atlanta Falcons tonight, beating the big rivals, 30-16.
Even though Packs faced multiple problems regarding injuries of their receiving core, Aaron Rodgers once again found a way to lead his team to a victory. The veteran QB “invented” Robert Tonyan, who had a masterful night with three TD receptions.
Tonyan’s two TDs in the second quarter gave the Packers a 20-3 edge at the halftime. At first, Rodgers hit him with a 19-yard pass with 2:28 left until the break, and after that, the same connection generated a score 46 seconds before the end of the half.
Midway through the third, Todd Gurley posted first of his two rushing TDs, but the Packers replied through Tonyan once again, less than two minutes afterward. The 26-year old TE ended the night with 98 receiving yards in 6 catches and was the pivotal piece in Packs’ offense besides Rodgers.
Meanwhile, the two-time NFL MVP had another superb performance, with 27 completions in 33 passing attempts, 327 yards, and four TDs. He also threw one TD toss to Aaron Jones. The versatile running back had 71 rushing yards on 15 carries, and 40 receiving on 5 receptions.
Jamaal Williams ended the night with 95 yards through the air, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling added 45.
Za’Darious Smith’s contribution was huge also, as he posted three sacks on Matt Ryan, harassing the Falcons’ offensive line all night.
Matty Ice couldn’t catch the rhythm, ending the game with 285 yards but without a TD pass. Apart from having the Packs’ pass rush all over him, the reason for such a poor performance might be Julio Jones’ injury, as the star WR left the game with hamstring issues. This could be the blow that ruins the season for the Falcons.
Olamide Zaccheaus replaced Jones, catching 8 passes for 86 yards, and Hyden Hurst had 51 on four receptions. The only one who was worth mentioning among the guests was Gurley, with his two TD runs. Overall, the 26-year old RB had 16 rushes for 57 yards.
Atlanta heads back home, where they meet Carolina Panthers this Sunday. After that, Dan Quinn’s guys play in Minnesota against the Vikings.
On the other side, the Packers have a week bye which will come handy for them, to recover and clear all the injuries. Rodgers and the crew have two very tough matchups following the pause, both on the road, vs. Buccaneers and the Texans.