Welcome home Atlanta Falcons. In the first regular-season NFL game at the newly constructed $1.5 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium the Falcons picked up where they left off last season with a 34-24 win over Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. In a rematch of last season’s NFC Championship game, the Falcons got off to a hot start and came out with an aggressive game plan. “We came out aggressive,” said Julio Jones, who had five receptions for a team high 108 yards. “We did a great job and got after them.” …. “All Gas, No Brakes.”
Featured in the Sunday night Football primetime game, the Falcons had all eyes on them as they christened the new stadium, and they did not disappoint. “First off, I just want to acknowledge what a night this was for the city, for the fans and for us as a team. What a great night for Arthur Blank.” said coach Dan Quinn. Arthur wasn’t the only man in red and black that had a good night either. Ryan threw for 252 yards and a touchdown, Devonta Freeman scored two touchdowns, and returning starter Desmond Trufant had an interception and a fumble recovery that he scored a defensive touchdown off.
On the opening drive of the game Matt Ryan led a nine-play, 86-yard drive that was eventually capped off with a Devonta Freeman 1-yard touchdown run. Jones caught two passes for 53 yards and the Falcons never had to face a 3rd down situation until on Green Bay’s 1-yard line. Green Bay then responded with a 75-yard touchdown drive but things would go south from there.
After falling behind 17-7 on Freeman’s second touchdown run, things really started to fall apart for the Green Bay offense. Near the end of the first half the Packers accrued three penalties in four plays, the biggest being a disputed offensive pass interference call committed by Martellus Bennet that wiped out a 36-yard reception. Backed up on their own 3, Aaron Rodgers lofted a pass to Geronimo Allison who, possibly thinking Rodgers would be making a back-shoulder throw, pulled up leaving the pass wide open for Trufant to pick off. Ryan and Falcons would capitalize with a 21-yard pass to Mohamed Sanu that set-up a Tevin Coleman touchdown from a 3-yard pass.
Vic Beasley put the game out of reach when he annihilated Rodgers as he attempted to drop back for a pass on the second play of the second half. The ball came flying out of Rodger’s hand before he started a forward passing motion and Trufant wisely scooped it up and took it to the house to put the Falcons up 31-7. “It was a smart play to start the second half on the forced fumble that you have to scoop up and take back. He was aware. It was a great way to have him back in that kind of performance tonight. So, we’re really pumped for him.”
Green Bay showed some resilience and added two fourth quarter touchdowns, including a milestone for Rodger’s, his 300th career scoring pass. It was too little too late as the Falcons added a Matt Bryant 53-yard field goal and held on to win by double digits.
Green Bay: Wide receiver Jordy Nelson (hamstring) defensive tackle Mike Daniel (quadriceps)
Wide receiver Randall Cobb (shoulder)
Cornerback Davon House (quad)
Cornerback Kentrell Brice (groin)
Atlanta: Right tackle Ryan Schraeder (concussion)
Defensive end/linebacker Vic Beasley (hamstring)
Defensive lineman Courtney Upshaw (ankle)
By: Michael Morency