In what has become the theme of the season for the Atlanta Falcons, Matt Ryan found a way late in the fourth quarter to get his team in a winning position.
After Aaron Rodgers had a clutch drive of his own to tie the game on a fourth-down touchdown pass to Jordy Nelson, Ryan didn't have far to go after a nice return from Eric Weems and a facemask penalty put the Falcons at Green Bay's 49-yard line.
Ryan did what he had to do, completing four passes and allowing Matt Bryant to drill a 47-yard field goal.
The Packers had one last chance to try some laterals, and it looked like they may have something going for a second, but they ultimately fell short.
Ryan had just one incompletion in the second half, coming on a throwaway on the final drive. He finished 24-of-28 for 198 yards and a touchdown. His quarterback rating was 108.
Rodgers was fantastic in the game, throwing for 348 yards on 26-for-35 passing and a touchdown, giving him a quarterback rating of 114.5. He was also Green Bay's leading rusher with 12 attempts for 51 yards, even running for a touchdown.
He did, however, have a costly mistake when he fumbled on a quarterback sneak near the Falcons' goal line, a ball that was recovered by Atlanta in the end zone.
The lack of a running game is a huge problem for Green Bay, and it was apparent in this game, as their running backs combined for just 26 yards.
The Packers had several plays where they had very short yardage to go for a first down, but their running game was unable to pick up the yards, putting extra pressure on Rodgers and the passing attack to get it done.
Greg Jennings was Green Bay's leading receiver, with five catches for 119 yards.
For the Falcons, Michael Turner had a huge game.
He has struggled in the past against 3-4 defenses, but he went for 110 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries against the Green Bay defense.
Since Turner has been with Atlanta, a big game from him has made a Falcon victory a virtual lock, and that was again the case Sunday.
Tony Gonzalez was the leading receiver for the Falcons, catching six balls for 51 yards and a touchdown.
Roddy White was held in check for much of the day, gaining 49 yards on five catches. He did make a nine-yard reception on Atlanta's final drive, though, showing his knack for making plays when his team needs them.
Nine Falcons players caught passes on the day, including two receptions from Harry Douglas on the final drive. Douglas showed some potential in his rookie year before missing all of the 2009-10 season after tearing his ACL in training camp.
Perhaps the late-game plays can give him some confidence and get him going over the final five weeks.
The Falcons were a bit uncharacteristic early in the game with some personal foul penalties that were extremely pricey. Had they been unable to come out on top in this one, those miscues would have been a big factor.
Aside from that, they mostly played like they always do.
They won time of possession, didn't turn the ball over and found a way to win at the end.
This team has been very aggressive on fourth downs this year, and this game was no exception. The Falcons were two-for-two on fourth-down conversions, both of them leading to touchdowns, with the second one being Turner's scoring run.
Atlanta did have more difficulty on third downs than we've grown accustomed to, but, again, they still won the game.
The win pushes the Falcons to 9-2 where they are in sole possession of first place in the NFC South. They have the best record in the NFC and have a clear path to home-field advantage in the playoffs.
They just have to take care of business the rest of the way, as they will likely be favored in every game they play.
Ryan is now 19-1 at home for his career, and the Falcons are 6-0 in the Georgia Dome this year. Home-field advantage would obviously be gigantic come playoff time.
Atlanta will now prepare to travel to Tampa Bay next week, where they will attempt to win their sixth game in a row.
Green Bay needs to rebound against San Francisco.
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