It’s a new era in Green Bay. For first Sunday in 13 seasons, the Green Bay Packers have a new head man on the sidelines running the team. Not to mention calling the plays. Joe Philbin comes down from his ivory tower to be interim Head Coach after the Mark Murphy fired Mike McCarthy after last Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals. Philbin will also be calling the offensive plays for the first time since he was a college coach at Northwestern. When a team lacks talent like the Packers do, we may not see the championship level of football that fans have been accustomed to, but we will learn what type of coach Philbin is and what type of heart the players have. Will Philbin run the ball more with Aaron Jones? Will he go to more of a quick passing attack that worked in the second half of the Chicago Bears game? Will Rodgers be rejuvenated? We may not find out all the answers today against a bad Falcons team but we will start to learn what this team has going into next year.
Here is the full game recap:
The Falcons received the opening kickoff and were marching down the field. Head Coach Joe Philbin used both of challenges in the first minute in a half of the game. Both were on questionable Julio Jones catches. The first one probably should have gone in Philbin’s favor but did not. Julio Jones ended up scoring a touchdown on the drive. Philbin then came out on his opening drive not starting Aaron Jones. In Joe Philbin’s first play-calling drive since 1996 at Northwestern, he called 7 pass plays and 2 running plays. He changed personal on nearly every play. Rodgers completed 6 of 7 pass attempts to 4 different receivers that went 62 yards and culminated in a TD pass to Davante Adams. The Falcons second drive started out very promising but ended when Matt Ryan fumbled and Matt Bryant missed a field goal. Differences noticed so far in the new Philbin regime? Play clock not running down to zero. Rodgers smiling more on the field. The use of Aaron Jones remains puzzling only one quarter in. Packers 7 – Falcons 7
The Packers start off the second quarter punting the football. Under Mike Pettine this Packer defense has continued to grow and improve. He is definitely someone that we could see come back and get even better talent to work with next year. The defense then forced the Falcons to a three-and-out. Aaron Rodgers then went back to work and orchestrated a 12 play, 43-yard drive. The drive featured only 3 runs to Aaron Jones that went for a total of 7 yards. Mason Crosby ended the drive by finally making a field goal. Three plays later, cornerback Bashaud Breeland picked off Matt Ryan and returned it 22 yards for the touchdown. Mike Pettine’s defense came right back out and forced the Falcons to punt after 5 plays. The Packers then get the ball back with 2:45 remaining in the first half. They score on this drive and they have a chance to double the Falcons up as Green Bay gets the ball after halftime. The Aaron Rodgers show continued. On this 10 play drive, Philbin only called 2 running plays. The drive featured pass completions to Randall Cobb and Davante Adams. Along with 2 huge scrambles by Rodgers for 16 yards and 21 yards respectively. Mason Crosby then hit a 48-yard field as the half expired. That is 2 field goals in one game by Crosby. Packers 20 – Falcons 7
The Aaron Rodgers show continued to start the second half. The opening drive featured 2 running plays to Aaron Jones. Rodgers did throw the ball to him on another play. He did take a deep shot downfield to Jimmy Graham that was incomplete. Rodgers then found Randall Cobb for a 24-yard strike for a touchdown. The Packer defense came up big in the third quarter forcing the Falcons to punt on their two possessions. The Packers second possession of the half was finally the Aaron Jones show. Four of the eight plays on this drive were run plays to Aaron Jones. He finished the drive off with a spectacular 29-yard touchdown run. Feed Jones more! Packers 34 – Falcons 7
Nothing much to write home about in the 4th quarter. For the first time, this season the Packers had this game pretty much in hand and were on cruise control for the fourth quarter. The Falcons started putting points on the board in the final quarter but there was a sense that this game was already over. The Falcons scored on their first possession of the quarter. Matt Ryan hit Julio Jones for a
Next up: Green Bay travels to Chicago next Sunday for a rematch of the week 1 thriller. Game time is set for noon.
Anthony Haag is a writer for PackersTalk.com. He has been a Packers fan since the day he was born and truly bleeds green and gold. He makes annual visits to Lambeau Field and has attended his fair share of games. You can follow Anthony on Twitter at @anthony_haag