Game Recap: Packers Improve to 4-0, Top Falcons 30-16

Sarah Kelliher recaps the Packers’ week four win against the Falcons.  

It does not get much sweeter than this. The Green Bay Packers (4-0, 2-0 NFC North ) are heading into their week five bye undefeated and atop the NFC North, after topping the Atlanta Falcons (0-4, 0-0 NFC South) 30-16 Monday at Lambeau Field.

With no Davante Adams, no Allen Lazard, no Kenny Clark and no Rashan Gary, people had their doubts, but Matt LaFleur and his undefeated squad put all the haters to rest with this big week four win.

The Packers looked efficient on both sides of the ball in the first half. In my opinion, it was one of the most complete halves I’ve seen from Green Bay in quite some time.

On the defense’s first drive, they forced a quick three-and-out and put the offense in the driver’s seat almost immediately. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers and his crew did not waste any time getting started either; they marched 73 yards down the field for a touchdown to put Green Bay up 7-0 just minutes into the game. Running back Aaron Jones was about as wide open as you can get off the 6-yard touchdown pass that opened the scoring front for the Packers.

On their next drive, the Packers’ defense was able to force another three-and-out, but the offense could not quite capitalize on it. They, once again, marched down the field with ease but could not get in the end zone after going for it on 4th and goal.

The Falcons responded with a lengthy 10:36 drive, consisting of 20 plays and 94 yards, but they still came up short. The Packers defense had a huge third down stand, forcing the Falcons to settle for just three points after over ten agonizing minutes of possession.  

The Packers however, only needed about half that time to find the endzone on their next drive. After big first down pickups from wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling and running back/specialist Tyler Ervin to put the Packers in position, Rodgers connected with tight end Robert Tonyan for a 19-yard touchdown to extend Green Bay’s lead. Kicker Mason Crosby missed the extra point, giving the Packers a 13-3 lead.

Despite being on the field for so long, the Packers’ defense continued to put up a strong fight. Safety Raven Greene came up huge with a 10-yard sack, that ultimately forced another three and out, to put the ball back in Rodgers’ hands with two timeouts and 1:48 left in the half.

Rodgers took advantage, completing his 4,000th career pass on the drive (per ESPN’s Rob Demovsky), and finding Tonyan again in the endzone for an 8-yard touchdown pass to give Green Bay a 20-3 lead heading into the half.

The Packers did not look as electric to start the second half, but they still put up an impressive performance to secure a big win. The Falcons were not going down without a fight though; the opened their second half with a well-rounded drive that resulted in a 5-yard rushing touchdown from running back Todd Gurley. Their extra point attempt was no good, cutting the Packers’ lead to just 20-9.

On the Packers next drive, WR1 Aaron Jones had a tremendous 23-yard catch to put Green Bay in scoring position. From there, Tonyan and Rodgers connected for a 21-yard touchdown and the hat trick to make it 27-9 Green Bay.

The Falcons and Gurley would find the endzone once more off a 3-yard rushing touchdown to make it 27-16 but it was a little too late for Atlanta to spark any sort of comeback. For the Packers, Crosby would hit a field goal from 48-yards out to give us our final score of 30-16 with just 5:55 left to play.

After a huge win, despite missing some key players, a career night for Tonyan and another incredible game plan from Matt LaFleur, there was plenty to takeaway from the Packers’ week four victory over the Falcons.

 

What we learned: Green Bay already has all the offensive weapons they need

The Green Bay Packers already have all the offensive weapons they need. They did not need to draft a wide receiver. They did not need to go and spend a ton of money in free agency. They already have all the pieces that make Matt LaFleur’s offense tick. If you did not believe that before, believe it now.

Without his number one and two wide receivers on Monday, Rodgers was 27/33 for 327 yards and 4 touchdowns with a 147.5 passer rating (ESPN stats). The game plan that LaFleur drew up for Green Bay was excellent. Every active running back was involved, every active wide receiver played a key role and Tonyan put on a game-changing performance. Rodgers was smiling on the field more than once and looked like he was having the time of his life.

This mix of talent on Monday night was dangerous. It’s hard to imagine what the game might have looked like with both Adams and Lazard in the mix too.  

 

What went right: Getting Jones and Williams involved in the passing game

The running backs were not just involved in the backfield on Monday, but they also played key roles in the passing game as well. The Packers’ one-two punch of Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams combined for 13 receptions for 135 yards and a touchdown (ESPN stats) on Monday.

Their involvement in the passing game has always been huge, but it really kept the Packers moving without Adams and Lazard on Monday.

 

What went wrong: Injuries

As if the Packers were not beat up already, there were simply just too many injuries again on Monday night.

Cornerback Chandon Sullivan left the game early and did not return after being evaluated for a concussion. Cornerback Kevin King was ruled out of the game with a quad injury. Linebacker Krys Barnes was knocked up with a shoulder injury and ruled questionable to return towards the end of the game. Rookie tight end, Josiah Deguara, who just returned Monday night after a battling an ankle injury went down at the very end of the game as well.

There were simply just too many close calls for comfort. The bye next week could not come at a more convenient time for Green Bay.

 

Offensive MVP: Big Bob Tonyan

Welcome to the party, Robert Tonyan. In week one, it was Adams, in week two, it was Jones, in week three, it was Lazard and in week four, it was Big Bob Tonyan.

Tonyan went off on Monday with 6 receptions for 98 yards and 3 touchdowns (ESPN stats). After his third score, Rodgers was counting the number of Tonyan touchdowns on his fingers. Monday was the first multi-touchdown performance of Tonyan’s career.

 

Defensive MVPs: Za’Darius Smith and Jaire Alexander

Linebacker Za’Darius Smith had an excellent performance on Monday and gave the Falcon’s o-line all sorts of problems. Z had 3 sacks on the night, had an additional tackle for a loss, an additional 2 QB hits and led the team in tackles with 8 in total on the night (ESPN stats).

Cornerback Jaire Alexander deserves some recognition after his performance on Monday too. Alexander had the difficult task of covering Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley and absolutely showed up. Ridley was targeted five times and had zero catches on Monday (ESPN stats).

 

Here’s a look at some of your favorite takeaways!

  • “1. Big Bob. Nuff said. 2. Defense doing a nice job of shutting down ATLs weapons. 3. Does it matter who comes out and plays offense for GB? Not in LaFleur’s scheme!” - @mattydobi

 

  • “Rodgers is really, really good.” - @debo2pt

 

  • “I am really impressed. Glad to see everyone getting involved on offense. Jaire locking down Ridley nice to see.” - @GeorgeHagstrom

 

  •  “Thank goodness we have a bye because boy do we need an extra week of rest.” - @JaredBNicholls

 

 

EDIT: And how could I forget...

Up next, the Green Bay Packers get some much-needed rest with a BYE in week five.  

 

Sarah Kelliher is a contributor for CheeseheadTV and a podcaster with Pack-A-Day Podcast. She can be found via Twitter @sarahkelliher4

 

11 points

Comments (17)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Mojo's picture

October 06, 2020 at 12:50 am

I might be the only one, but I thought the ball just barely grazed the goal line on Shepherds first Q catch before he was contacted and called short.

Since we have no problem wasting time-outs I thought it might have been worth a challenge.

It'll be interesting how the players handle the bye, perhaps intermingling with more people outside the team and the Rona droplets lurking behind each corner, doorknob and spray pattern. The way they've been playing a couple positives would be one big negative.

6 points
7
1
Coldworld's picture

October 06, 2020 at 12:52 am

I too thought it broke the plane. I thought so again on replay.

4 points
4
0
jeremyjjbrown's picture

October 06, 2020 at 01:02 am

"It'll be interesting how the players handle the bye"

If I trust any coach to have his team in the correct head space this bye week it's MLF.

4 points
5
1
sbransbottom's picture

October 06, 2020 at 02:21 pm

Can't understand the downvote. Some people just cant be pleased.

1 points
1
0
Coldworld's picture

October 06, 2020 at 12:54 am

Tonyan deserves the accolade, but I think we need to give Jamaal Williams much more credit.

More so than Jones, Williams’ catches and 95 yards receiving kept our offense moving. For me, that was equally impressive and valuable.

7 points
9
2
Leatherhead's picture

October 06, 2020 at 01:35 pm

Williams has always been good player for us. Healthy, assignment sure, never fumbles, can block, catch, and run. This is a good player.

2 points
2
0
Dzehren's picture

October 06, 2020 at 12:55 am

ROBERT TONYAN!

2 points
2
0
Dzehren's picture

October 06, 2020 at 12:58 am

Big Bob 3 TD’s OMG

3 points
3
0
CAG123's picture

October 06, 2020 at 04:29 am

Will Redman is a tackle missing machine isn’t he I mean damn you gotta hold your breath when he’s the first defender on a screen pass or one behind the LOS.

3 points
3
0
HankScorpio's picture

October 06, 2020 at 07:37 am

"The Green Bay Packers already have all the offensive weapons they need. They did not need to draft a wide receiver."

I'd rather just enjoy the fact that right now, Rodgers and ML are papering over Gute's draft mistake with incredible plans and execution than to beat on that dead horse. But since so many seem to write as if the story of a draft class is told in 4 games, not 4 years, let's take a few more whacks at that horse.

The way they used those picks surely suggested they believed they needed more weapons. They just used them on offensive players that can't stay healthy or rise above 3rd string on the depth chart. Which makes their rookie draft pick WRs nearly as productive as the picks they actually used in rounds 1-5. Which means the foundation of their current success was built outside the 2020 draft completely. Who wudda thunk it?

There are a lotta ballgames left between now and when a draft class can really be judged. Their only true star WR will be on the wrong side of 30. Perhaps he will have moved on given his contact is up after 2021. Their rookie QB will be looking to hit the field and would benefit from playing with guys that he had developed with. Let's talk again then. It won't be wildly and idiotically premature at that point.

-1 points
3
4
Stroh's picture

October 06, 2020 at 09:48 am

It wasn't a draft mistake. You draft a potential franchise QB whenever you have the opportunity. There were no WR late in rd 1 when the Packers drafted that wree worth a 1st. If Aiyuk or Jefferson were available it might have been a different outcome. Same in rd 2, there weren't any WR worth it. I wouldn't have reached for any WR in Rd 1 or 2 either.

Surely Gutey and LaFleur had talks leading up to the draft that allowed Gutey they had the pieces to be successful. I do agree they have a lack of weapons outside of Adams at WR, but this offense is RB and TE centric, not WR centric. So drafting a RB and TE in rd 2 and 3, actually played to the offenses philosophy and could help LaFleur more in the long run. Even if neither is getting alot of playing time at the moment. The Draft is always about the long term, not immediate need!

1 points
2
1
CAG123's picture

October 06, 2020 at 11:00 am

They reached for a day 3 RB though in a deep position

-1 points
0
1
HankScorpio's picture

October 06, 2020 at 01:42 pm

Gute has specifically singled out WR as an area of need shortly at the NFC CG loss. The eyeball test on 2019 group backed that up. I'm not buying for one hot second that ML talked Gute out of it.

Maybe they both did fall in Love with Love. And were stunned he was there. Fine, take him. It's not fine that Gute panicked and outbid himself to do it. Because that 4th round pick could have been a developmental guy that could do more last night that Taylor and Shepherd. And grown along with Love until they were both really ready.

It was a mistake then and it remains a mistake today.

-1 points
0
1
Stroh's picture

October 06, 2020 at 10:28 am

The Packers do lack weapons. primarily at WR, but LaFleur's offense is getting recievers open. Both of Lazard's big plays vs NO were due to LaFleur's offense, not the WR wiinning one on one. So yeah, they do lack weapons, but wien LaFleur is scheming them open, it doesn't matter as much.

1 points
2
1
greengold's picture

October 06, 2020 at 11:18 am

Hank Scorpio, you're not alone. I stopped commenting on this topic for a long time because it was getting out of hand.

I wanted the Packers to draft a WR in R1 - LIKE MANY. Without question. I also wanted them to take Clyde Edwards Hilaire in R1 if they saw fit, knowing both Jones and Williams are in the last year of their deals, knowing CEH wouldn't last.

My top WRs that I was hoping for were Jefferson and Michael Pittman Jr. Those two, along with Lamb and Shanault are delivering at exceptional success rates through the first 4 games of the season. My own #1 indicator for a TOP QUALITY WR is Catch%. If you find one who is consistently at 70% or greater, you've got a gem. All 4 of those guys are catching at least that currently.

We had a shot to draft Pittman Jr. in R1, and possibly Shenault in R2 with a trade up. Both Lamb and Jefferson were gone. Aiyuk has a Catch% in the 50s, like MVS... Antonio Gibson, another who has a Catch% higher than 70% could have been had by the Packers at pick #62...

On the flip side of that, the Packers went with a trade up to take Love. I will not disparage Gutekunst for that. I support the pick, because Aaron Rodgers will be turning 37 during this season, in December. He's had what we know to be a significant injury history. Jordan Love is a perfect fit for Matt LaFleur's offense.

Have we not seen entire seasons crumble into the abyss with the loss of Aaron Rodgers to an injury? True, the Packers have Tim Boyle as the primary backup, though few could have said he would be a perfectly fine starter prior to the development witnessed this offseason (other than Andy Herman). Jordan Love is currently the No. 3 QB. Regardless, if you can get a true franchise QB to groom for a few years behind what we know is a first ballot HOF QB in Rodgers nearing the end of his career, you take him. Ask any Bears fan. They would agree the position is that important.

The Packers can read the test that is this 2020 season with the group of players they have, and draft another WR or two in the 2021 draft if need be. Same might not have been able to be said of a franchise calibre QB. Chances of landing a quality WR at the bottom of R1 are far greater than those of adding a legit franchise QB tailor made to your scheme at the bottom of R1. That is a pretty simple read for any years/decades long draft follower.

As already mentioned, the scheme LaFleur employs is not WR centric. There are a wide array of targets to go around using RBs and TEs. Don't worry. We'll add another slick hotrod of a WR in 2021. For all we know, we may uncover one with those we currently have on this roster and PS. Plus, we have insane depth at the most important position on any NFL team.

Chicago is looking for just 1 quality franchise QB. The Packers arguably have 3...

I understand this penchant for beating the WR drum, but it doesn't have to be beaten to death like many do. We get it. Fu*k, I could beat a NT drum all day... ILB? Wow. Krys Barnes has a 0% Missed Tackles Percentage. All indications were that Kamal Martin was lights out prior to his knee injury, one that should allow him to return later this season. The bigger point is maybe, just maybe, Gutekunst knows what he's doing... Give it all a chance to play out.

2 points
3.5
1.5
HankScorpio's picture

October 06, 2020 at 01:56 pm

"On the flip side of that, the Packers went with a trade up to take Love. I will not disparage Gutekunst for that. I support the pick, because Aaron Rodgers will be turning 37 during this season, in December."

I've come to terms with the Love pick. I've said for a long time that they needed to pay more attention to the QB position so if they liked the guy, more power to them. Take him.

Notice I said "pick", singular, not plural. That they gave up their 4th to jump over teams that would not seem interested suggested they panicked. And that's not something I have come to terms with. Panic is never good.

2 points
2
0
cheesehead1's picture

October 06, 2020 at 12:07 pm

Nice to see our D keep an opponent under 20 pts. Tackling still an issue. Let’s get healthy and prepare a good game plan for TB.

2 points
2
0