Aaron Rodgers Throws 3 TDs to Robert Tonyan as Packers Beat Falcons on MNF

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistOctober 6, 2020

Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers (12) throws during the first half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons, Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)
Mike Roemer/Associated Press

So far, the 2020 Green Bay Packers cannot be beaten.

Green Bay improved to 4-0 on the campaign with a 30-16 victory over the Atlanta Falcons in Monday's NFC showdown at Lambeau Field. Aaron Rodgers and Robert Tonyan led the way with three touchdown connections between the pair, helping the Packers move one game ahead of the Chicago Bears in the early NFC North race. 

Atlanta is in the exact opposite situation and is now 0-4 despite a solid showing from Todd Gurley II. It is looking up at the 3-1 Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC South and has a long way back to playoff contention.

        

Notable Player Stats

  • Aaron Rodgers, QB, GB: 27-of-33 for 327 yards, 4 TDs, 0 INTs
  • Aaron Jones, RB, GB: 15 carries for 71 yards; 5 catches for 40 yards, 1 TD
  • Robert Tonyan, TE, GB: 6 catches for 98 yards, 3 TDs
  • Matt Ryan, QB, ATL: 28-of-39 for 285 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs
  • Todd Gurley II, RB, ATL: 16 carries for 57 yards, 2 TDs
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Aaron Rodgers-Robert Tonyan Combination Thrives

Perhaps the most important matchup coming into this game was the one between the shorthanded Packers pass-catchers and the shorthanded Falcons secondary.

Star wide receiver Davante Adams and Allen Lazard were out for Green Bay, while Ricardo Allen, Keanu Neal and A.J. Terrell were all out in the Atlanta secondary. Things got even worse for the visitors when safety Damontae Kazee was carted off the field in the first half.

Green Bay had something the Falcons didn't in this injury-riddled matchup: No. 12.

Rodgers wasted no time setting the tone with three touchdown passes in the first half, two of which went to one of his new favorite targets near the goal line in Tonyan. Whenever Atlanta's secondary did take away the deeper options, Rodgers also didn't hesitate to dump it off to Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones, who caught the first touchdown out of the backfield.

The connection with the tight end and running backs didn't stop in the second half as Green Bay worked the clock with check-downs and responded to Atlanta's first touchdown with a third scoring strike between Rodgers and Tonyan to create more breathing room.

What was left of the Falcons secondary had no chance as the all-time great picked it apart throughout the game.

A major talking point coming into the season was Rodgers' long-term future with the Packers after they selected quarterback Jordan Love in the first round of the 2020 NFL draft, but the eight-time Pro Bowler is playing like he's in the middle of his prime as an early MVP candidate without a single loss or interception on the year. 

           

Todd Gurley II Provides Small Bright Spot in Loss

At least the Falcons didn't blow a lead this time.

Atlanta's late-game struggles defined the early portion of its season as it blew a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 2 and a 16-point lead to the Chicago Bears in the fourth quarter in Week 3.

It attempted to flip the script against the Packers and make a comeback of its own after falling behind 20-3 by halftime. 

That got significantly more difficult when star wide receiver Julio Jones was ruled out with a hamstring injury, but Gurley did what he could to keep his team within striking distance by capping off each of the Falcons' first two possessions of the second half with touchdown runs.

Even in defeat, the fact Gurley found holes near the goal line and took advantage was a welcome sign for an offense that has struggled to run the ball and work the clock while nursing late leads. Atlanta does not play a team with a record above .500 again until Week 15 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, so it will likely find itself in situations in which it has to work the clock and protect a lead again.

Still, it was all for naught Monday given the defensive struggles against Rodgers.

         

What's Next? 

The Packers head into their Week 5 bye, while the Falcons will host the Carolina Panthers in a divisional matchup.