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The Atlanta Falcons, at least a season ago, were virtually unstoppable. That was until they met the Green Bay Packers and seemed to run into a brick wall on a majority of their drives.
The Packers halted the Falcons, and the defeat was unlike anything Atlanta had faced all season. Sunday Night Football presented a rematch and a chance for redemption for the Falcons. It was a chance that the “first-half Falcons” seemed to take seriously.
Then, somehow, the “Minnesota” syndrome overtook offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey, and he refused to use Mike Turner for much of the second half. Turner was only granted a single touch after Falcons’ first drive of third quarter and was used in the fourth quarter for a single drive.
In the first half of the game, Turner was responsible for a touchdown and 41 yards of offense, negating any negative yardage. He was Atlanta’s workhorse. Somewhere at halftime, the Falcons forgot to replenish their identity and Matt Ryan became pass-happy.
Atlanta’s defense also had a rough night as the contest came to a close. Sean Weatherspoon, after being so effective, began to miss tackles and fall on plays. The Falcons secondary gave up 369 yards of passing offense, and the front line was constantly outplayed by replacement tackle rookie Derek Sherrod.
As Aaron Rodgers’ protection grew, so did Mike McCarthy’s confidence in their usual play-calling. Rodgers stopped paying much attention to the pass rush, got comfortable and got to work. Even with Jermichael Finley’s slippery fingers, the Green Bay Packers walked away with their record unscathed.
The Falcons must stick with what makes them elite if they plan on taking over the NFC South.