Falcons take down Packers 25-24 in a thriller

Atlanta celebrates a touchdown against the Green Bay Packers. The Falcons would go on to win the game 25-24 after coming back from being down 12 in the third quarter. // Photo courtesy of Atlanta Falcons

Coming off an impressive performance in a win over the Carolina Panthers, the Falcons were looking to continue their standard of play in their Week 2 matchup against the Green Bay Packers. After a comfortable Week 1 win, the Falcons were in for an early test in Week 2.  

There have been large question marks about what to expect from the Packers this season, as this would be the first year without Brett Favre or Aaron Rodgers at quarterback since 1992. Quarterback Jordan Love answered those questions when he went into Soldier Field and dominated the Bears on a three-touchdown performance. Love showed signs of a promising future and looked like he could stretch the Falcons’ defense in new ways compared to the Week 1 matchup against Carolina.  

On Atlanta’s opening drive, quarterback Desmond Ridder got hit as he was throwing, which resulted in an interception. The Falcon’s defense then stepped up and forced a three-and-out, including a key sack on third down to get the ball back.  

After throwing an opening drive interception, Ridder could have easily lost confidence, but on the ensuing drive, he showed improved decision-making ability with his quick, accurate throws and dynamic dual-threat ability to run with several key rushing plays. While Atlanta was able to make it to the one-yard line, they had to settle for a chip shot field goal to take an early 3-0 lead over Green Bay.  

Love responded by leading the Packers down the field with several key rushes and extended plays by scrambling around. The drive was capped off by Love hitting wide receiver Jayden Reed who took it nine yards to the endzone, making it a 7-3 ball game in favor of the Packers.  

Now trailing for the first time in the game and starting off the drive with negative plays, Ridder and the Falcons were backed up against their own end zone and facing a third-and-long situation. Ridder then made a long, accurate throw to pick up the first down on a gain of 22 yards. These are exactly the type of promising plays Atlanta fans have wanted from their young quarterback. Rookie running back Bijan Robinson then continued the big plays on a big rush of his own for the offense.  

Sitting on the 41-yard line and facing a short yardage situation on fourth down, the Falcons wanted to keep their momentum going and went for it, but unfortunately their drive stalled out off an Ridder incomplete pass.  

Although the Packers had good field position to start the drive, Atlanta’s defense stepped up and only allowed a field goal to make it a 10-3 lead for the Green Bay Packers.  

In the waning moments of the half, Robinson made several key chunk play rushes. Ridder capped the drive off, scoring on a play where he ran to the left and made a side-arm throw to wide receiver Drake London. The extra point was then missed and the Falcons went into halftime trailing by just one point with the score at 10-9. 

Green Bay came out of halftime with just the start they wanted offensively with Love making sharp passes, leading the team and scoring a touchdown to extend their lead to 17-9.  

Behind big plays from Robinson, the Atlanta offense put together a promising drive but were unable to finish it off and had to settle for another close field goal putting it at 17-12.  

The Packers closed out the third quarter with another touchdown, making it a 24-12 lead. This drive was largely set up by a pass interference call on a deep ball that put them inside the 40-yard line. In what had been a balanced game up until this point, it appeared the momentum was beginning to shift in favor of the Packers’ side.  

Atlanta opened the fourth quarter with a trick play which ended in Ridder completing a 45-yard pass to set up the Falcons’ offense at the 12-yard line. On a critical fourth-down play, Head Coach Arthur Smith opted to go for it. The risky decision paid off as Ridder converted that and then some by rushing for a touchdown and bringing the game back within one-possession, trailing just 24-19. 

Throughout the game, Love was able to make high percentage throws, but with just over 11 minutes to go and facing an important third-down, the Falcons’ defense forced an incompletion to get the ball back.  

Ridder and Robinson connected on a 29-yard pass play to put the Falcons inside the 25-yard line. Once again, a drive that took the Falcons deep into Green Bay territory was forced to end in a field goal attempt. The field goal made it a 24-22 game with just over eight minutes to go in the whole game.  

The defense made a vital stop on third down to force Green Bay to punt and give Atlanta the ball back with just over six minutes to go while still trailing by just two points at 24-22.  

The drive began with Ridder finding London on a 24 yard pass. Later in the drive, the Falcons were faced with a 4th and inches inside the 20-yard line and a couple ticks over two minutes left in the game. Smith opted to go for it on fourth down and Robinson showed off his ability to evade tackles as he picked up seven yards for a first.  

With less than a minute to play, the Falcons kicked a 25-yard field goal to take the lead 25-24. The defense then stepped up and forced four straight incompletions to end the game, giving Atlanta a win. 

Ridder showed great control and comfort in this offense as he repeatedly made promising plays. He showed great composure following the opening drive interception. Although it has only been two weeks into his rookie campaign, Robinson has shown exactly why the Falcons drafted him with the eighth overall pick of last year’s draft.  

Both young quarterbacks put together clean and exciting performances with great promise for years to come. After an exciting comeback win, the Falcons remain undefeated at 2-0 and have shown plenty to be optimistic about for the rest of the season. The rest of the division is showing early signs of being a competitive division with Tampa Bay starting out at 2-0, New Orleans 2-0 and Carolina 0-2. 

Atlanta heads to Detroit for their first road game of the season in Week 3 to take on the Lions who took down the Kansas City Chiefs in their opening game of the year, but fell to the Seattle Seahawks in overtime for Week 2 by a score of 37-31.