Rodgers, Packers pour it on after poor start
ATLANTA - After a sluggish start for Aaron Rodgers and the Super Bowl champs, the result was the same.
Another win in Atlanta for the Green Bay Packers.
Following up on a blowout of the Falcons in last year’s playoffs, Rodgers threw for 396 yards and a pair of touchdowns to rally the Packers from an early 14-point hole, keeping Green Bay unbeaten with a 25-14 victory last night.
The high-scoring Packers (5-0) were held without a touchdown in the first half by Atlanta (2-3), which was trying to make up for an embarrassing 48-21 loss to Green Bay last January.
The Falcons had the Georgia Dome rocking when they raced to a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter, scoring on their first two possessions. After that, the home fans had little to cheer about.
Green Bay settled for three field goals by Mason Crosby, closing to 14-9 before Rodgers got rolling. He connected with James Jones on a 70-yard touchdown that gave Green Bay its first lead late in the third quarter. Then, on the first play of the fourth, Rodgers connected with Greg Jennings on a 29-yard scoring play that stretched the lead to 22-14.
Crosby clinched it for the Packers with his fourth field goal, a 30-yarder with 1:10 remaining after Rodgers guided the Packers on another long drive, hitting every pass he needed until Green Bay was safely in range to wrap it up.
“We just stayed patient,’’ Rodgers said. “It’s just one of those games. The rhythm wasn’t there all the time, but we just stayed with it.’’
The Falcons looked as good as they have all season with those first two drives. Then, nothing.
Atlanta didn’t crack 200 total yards until late. Matt Ryan had another tough night against the Packers, throwing for just 167 yards and two interceptions after turning it over three times in the playoff debacle.
Rodgers completed 26 of 39 passes, even with a couple of drops, and kept converting big third downs. Astonishingly, he completed passes to a dozen receivers, with Jones hauling in five throws for 140 yards.
Rodgers guided the Packers to the Atlanta 2 before a couple of sacks forced the first of Crosby’s field goals, from 32 yards. Crosby knocked through a 35-yarder with 13 seconds remaining in the half to make it 14-6.
The Falcons were in field goal range in the third quarter before an illegal use of hands penalty knocked them back, forcing a punt. Rodgers threw on six straight plays before Crosby trotted on again, this time to boom through a 56-yarder that matched the longest field goal in franchise history.
After an Atlanta punt, the Packers finally took it to the end zone. In one play.
Rodgers fired one deep down the middle to Jones, who easily outran safety James Sanders for the 70-yard score.
Just like that, the Packers had the lead for the first time.
The advantage grew on the first play of the fourth quarter, when Rodgers threw over the middle to Jennings for the 29-yard score.