Green and Gold Review: Grading Sunday's Individual Performances for Green Bay
Scouting the Atlanta Falcons wasn't the easiest thing in the world to accomplish.
The high octane offense, led by Michael Turner and Matt Ryan, was inevitably the reason Green Bay now sits at 7-4—which by no means is the end of the world.
Sunday's matchup was a tough, well-fought game by Mike McCarthy and the Packers.
The game result was disappointing (to say the least), now leaving Aaron Rodgers and the rest of the Packers with much work to be done.
With upcoming games against San Fransisco (3-7) and Detroit (2-9), the Green and Gold will (thankfully) have enough time to recover from Sunday's heartbreaker in Atlanta.
With that being said, let's take a look at the Packer's latest report card.
Aaron Rodgers was essentially responsible for keeping Green Bay in contention, yet also contributed to the losing effort.
Throwing for 344 yards, along with the pivotal game-tying touchdown pass to WR Jordy Nelson near the end of regulation would seem to be enough to pull out a victory on the road—yet it didn't quite seem to happen.
Rodgers appeared to have complete control of Atlanta's passing defense throughout the entire game but couldn't quite muster up enough for the win.
Despite fumbling at the Falcon's one-yard line—which would've put Green Bay on top early—Rodgers did show us all why in fact he is one of the most clutch quarterbacks in the game today.
Although glimpses of improvement seemed to be inevitable, Brandon Jackson only added to his impressively disappointing list of inadequacy.
Jackson was able to rush his way to yet another insufficient ground-attack, only managing 26 yards on 10 carries.
QB Aaron Rodgers yet again lead the Packers' rushing attack, piling up 51 yards on 12 carries.
Should these trends continue, Green Bay will be in serious trouble heading down the final stretch into the playoffs.
Overall play from the wide receivers of Green Bay was the one thing Aaron Rodgers and the Packers could count on in the clutch moments of the game. Green Bay's wide receivers really stepped up the intensity, especially when it counted most.
Greg Jennings once more led the way for the Packers with 119 yards on five receptions, along with a critical 35-yard pass play early on.
Contributions from that of Jordy Nelson (61 yards, 1 TD, 5 receptions), James Jones, (44 yards, 5 receptions) and Andrew Quarless (35 yards, 3 receptions) certainly helped an offense that was already set up to pass nearly 80 percent of the time.
Jordy Nelson's growth and play within Green Bay's offense has absolutely impressed us all and will be someone to really watch for during the final five games of the season.
Comparing Green Bay's offensive line to that of Atlanta's wouldn't be much of a comparison at all, to be quite frank.
The young o-line of the Packers wasn't able to help establish any type of running game for Brandon Jackson or Dimitri Nance and should be a stressing point is this week's practices.
Although only managing to give up one sack, Green Bay's offensive line needs to regain its long forgotten swagger.
Of course, the only way to do that is by running the football effectively.
Holding the Falcons to just 20 points was one of the most positive things the Packers can take away from this football game.
Granted, Michael Turner ran for 110 yards and a touchdown, yet the defense held their ground (for the most part) to one of the league's best overall offenses.
The offensive line of the Falcons did what no team has done so far—sustain Clay Matthews. Matthews was held to just three tackles on the afternoon.
Charles Woodson, Tramon Williams and Green Bay's secondary made great strides in neutralizing All-Pro wideout Roddy White, limiting him to just 49 yards on five receptions.
Contributions from linebackers Desmond Bishop (right), Frank Zombo and Charlie Peprah made efforts a whole lot easier—with 16 solo tackles between them alone.
This unit has stepped up the intensity the last few weeks and should be thanked for keeping us in every game so far this season.
Critics will inevitably rear their ugly head once more when it comes to coach Mike McCarthy's decision not to challenge TE Tony Gonzales' controversial "catch" on fourth down, as it was quite possibly the deciding factor in Green Bay's loss.
Critical plays in the third and fourth quarter only added to the uneasy feelings of Packer fans around the nation.
Should he have challenged? Was the play-calling up to snuff? Why wasn't the running game implemented early on? So many questions, too many left unanswered.
The philosophy of the Green Bay Packer's offense must change from "pass first, run second" to "establish the run first, then pass." That, my friends, is the only way the Packers reach the Super Bowl.
Sunday's coaching and play-calling performances clearly has shown us why running a balanced offensive attack is so important in the NFL.
If Mike McCarthy and the Packers truly want a championship, they must change their ways.
Clearly, Sunday wasn't what the Packers are all about.
However, Green Bay now faces two losing opponents in back-to-back weeks, looking to rebound from a heartbreaking loss to Atlanta.
Looking to truly constitute a run game with consistency should be Mike McCarthy's No. 1 priority in practice this week, along with physically recuperating from Sunday's clash.
We all know what this team is capable of doing, it's just how they are able to admit their mistakes and move on with the season.
No one is pointing the finger or blaming someone else for their mistakes in the loss to Atlanta, just moving forward and focusing on the next opponent.
Great team's weren't built on excuses—and neither is this team.
Overall Grade: C+