Falcons vs. Packers: Full Roster Report Card Grades for Atlanta
The Falcons built a 21-10 lead in the game's first two quarters behind a strong drive by their offense, a key forced fumble by their defense and a fortuitous interception return by linebacker Sean Weatherspoon.
Behind Flynn, the Packers outscored the Falcons 12-0 in the second half of the game thanks to some timely plays of his own and a critical mishap by Falcons tackle Ryan Schraeder deep in Atlanta territory.
With the win, Green Bay notched its first victory in five games since losing star quarterback Aaron Rodgers to a collarbone injury.
Let's break down how the Falcons lost their 10th game of the season as we dish out our Week 14 full roster report card grades for Atlanta.
All game stats are via ESPN.COM
Matt Ryan looked sharp on Atlanta's first two drives of the game. His crisp 36-yard touchdown pass to Drew Davis was one of the better throws we've seen him make in some time because of the way he hit Davis in stride. The same can be said of his sideline throw to Roddy White on the Falcons' last drive of the game.
Because of that, Ryan earns an average grade for his two-touchdown, one-interception performance.
Wide Receivers and Tight Ends
Harry Douglas may have been the biggest letdown for Atlanta on Sunday. He looked timid in the cold weather, and his drop late in the fourth quarter precluded what could have been a game-winning field-goal attempt.
Like Douglas, Tony Gonzalez also had a couple of drops on the afternoon.
Drew Davis' only reception came on his 36-yard touchdown catch and run, while Darius Johnson didn't really get a chance to make a play on the one ball thrown in his direction because Matt Ryan was rushed on the throw.
Joe Hawley and Peter Konz kept plugging away, while Lamar Holmes and Justin Blalock weren't liabilities on the left side of the line. None of these players were spectacular, but being respectable is probably a step up for this unit based on what we've seen most of the year.
The narrative was slightly different for undrafted free agent Ryan Schraeder, who got extended playing time at right tackle on Sunday. Schraeder only gave up one sack, but given what happened as a result of that sack (a Matt Ryan fumble), and when (fourth quarter) and where (deep in Atlanta territory) that sack occurred, that sack probably should count as two or three sacks.
In addition, Schraeder also appeared to be responsible for at least three quarterback pressures on the afternoon.
Schraeder's inconsistent play may be what you'd expect to see from a young player, but he has a ways to go before I'd be ready to sign off on him being the long-term answer for this team at right tackle.
In addition, Atlanta benefited from Matt Flynn being a little reluctant to get rid of the football.
With that said, defensive end Jonathan Massaquoi did a nice job of winning a one-on-one matchup to get his sack, and defensive tackle Corey Peters continued to play well on the inside.
While Falcons fans may be happy to see Massaquoi make a play, the pessimist in me can't help but think that they could hear about Massaquoi's performance in this game as justification for why Atlanta's brass fails to adequately address the pass rush again this offseason.
Peria Jerry, Jonathan Babineaux and Osi Umenyiora all had quiet afternoons.
Paul Worrilow continued to be a tackling machine, and he looked a lot better as a blitzer, too.
Atlanta's linebackers overran a couple plays that opened cutback lanes for Eddie Lacy, but for the most part, they matched Lacy's physicality on a cold and snowy day at Lambeau.
It's going to be interesting to see what the team does with Akeem Dent this offseason since he's playing mostly on special teams now.
Alford held his own until Jordy Nelson beat him on a 46-yard reception that set up a field goal that kept Green Bay in the game.
Zeke Motta stepped in for an injured Thomas DeCoud and gave up what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown despite playing tight coverage, but he played well enough to deserve more of a look down the stretch.
William Moore forced a turnover for the second straight week when he hit Matt Flynn on a blitz and caused the fumble that led to Atlanta's second touchdown.
Atlanta's coverage units did a nice job of limiting shifty Packers return man Micah Hyde, but Atlanta's own return game didn't make any impact plays either.
Punter Matt Bosher averaged 44.5 yards per punt in rough weather.
Smith chose to punt on Atlanta's first possession even though his 3-9 team faced a 4th-and-short from the Green Bay 35-yard line, and the team's offense went stale after a decent showing in the first two quarters.
Sure, the weather was bad, but when you're out of the playoff hunt like the Falcons are, you have the liberty of taking a few more shots against a team that's fighting for its playoff life like Green Bay was.
Atlanta stumbled into a 21-10 lead and had fans at Lambeau Field booing their own team, but once again Smith's squad failed to display a killer instinct.