Wisconsin State Journal columnist Tom Oates grades the Green Bay Packers' performance in their 34-20 win over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday at Lambeau Field in Green Bay.
Green Bay was 7-for-13 on third-down conversions, only the second time it was above 50 percent all season. Aaron Rodgers scrambled three times for 44 back-breaking yards. Aaron Jones had 99 total yards in the second half. Atlanta had three third-down sacks in the first half but Green Bay's makeshift line improved after that.
Atlanta had only 200 yards and seven points through three quarters. Bashaud Breeland's pick-six was the defense's first score all season. Jaire Alexander shadowed Julio Jones most of the time and held his own after allowing two controversial early catches. After a quiet season, Clay Matthews made two Clay Matthews plays.
The Green Bay Packers (5-7-1) cruised past the Atlanta Falcons (4-9) for a 34-20 victory on Sunday at Lambeau Field in Green Bay.
Special teams: C
Alexander must learn to catch the ball before he runs with it. Alexander's decision-making was so shaky he was replaced by Randall Cobb. As usual, Mason Crosby bounced back from a bad game, kicking 48- and 50-yard field goals. Fadol Brown had a holding penalty on a punt return, raising the question: Who is Fadol Brown?
Joe Philbin used up his two replay challenges on the first three snaps. He lost both. Mike McCarthy was using the short-passing game more and more in recent games, but Philbin bought into that approach completely, with great results. Isn't expecting linebackers to cover Jones over the middle what got Dom Capers fired?
OK, it was one game in cold temperatures against warm-weather dome team that has quit on the season. But the Packers faced the same scenario last week and lost. All in all, it was a solid showing in Philbin's first game as interim coach. Question is, did they get a bounce from a coaching change or was it real improvement?