Green Bay Packers
Inside Slant | Notes, Quotes | Strategy and Personnel |
The Packers still have no answers for Julio Jones and Atlanta's high-flying passing attack.
In Atlanta's 44-21 demolition of Green Bay in the NFC Championship Game in January, quarterback Matt Ryan threw for 392 yards, four touchdowns and completed 71.1 percent of his passes. Jones was a force that day, hauling in nine catches for 180 yards and two touchdowns.
Sunday night, Ryan completed 19-of-28 passes for 252 yards, one touchdown and had a passer rating of 108.0. And for the second straight time, Ryan badly outplayed Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers.
The Packers tried a handful of players on Jones and used some zone looks, too. But Jones still caught five passes for 108 yards, while teammate Muhammad Sanu had five receptions for 85 yards.
"We just took what they gave us," Jones said. "They came out in single high, so we made them pay. When we get those opportunities where I'm in single coverage we just try to get me the ball and make the best of it because a lot of teams use two men on me."
The Packers overhauled their cornerback group in the offseason. But despite several personnel changes, the on-field results were eerily similar.
"The last two times we played them there was a lot of double coverage on Julio and tonight that really wasn't the case," Ryan said. "We had some opportunities where he got singled up. Anytime he gets singled up, he's going to make plays for us."
Falcons head coach Dan Quinn has defeated Green Bay's Mike McCarthy three times in the last 11 months. Quinn also went 2-0 against McCarthy as Seattle's defensive coordinator in 2013-14.
"Give credit to the Atlanta Falcons, an excellent football team, a well-coached football team," McCarthy said. "Dan does an incredible job with his guys."
Quinn took over a 6-10 team in 2015 and has gone 21-13 since. The Falcons have passed Green Bay in that time, highlighted by a win in last year's NFC Championship Game.
McCarthy, now in his 12th season, has a 115-62-1 record during his tenure. But McCarthy will seemingly have to find a way to figure out Quinn and the Falcons if Green Bay is going to wrestle back control of the NFC.
"There is nothing that we have figured out about them," Falcons safety Ricardo Allen said of the Packers. "We are just coming together. At every level, you have to compete as a defensive line, as a wide receiver and as a running back you have to make people miss. A-Rod (Aaron Rodgers) always comes out and plays really well. He is one of the best for a reason. Everyone around you has to be on their A-game."