Aaron Rodgers passed for 246 yards and four touchdowns on Sunday, but the Green Bay Packers fell to the Atlanta Falcons 33-32 at the Georgia Dome.
The Falcons scored the go-ahead touchdown with :31 to play, leaving the Packers with little time to get into field goal range to attempt a game-winning, Mason Crosby kick. Aaron Rodgers would manage to complete one of four passes for seven yards and the Packers road effort would fall short.
The Packers played without Randall Cobb and Ty Montgomery on offense and Clay Matthews on defense. Not to mention, starters who are already injured and unavailable.
Still, Aaron Rodgers had his most productive day of the season, throwing touchdown passes to Jordy Nelson, Trevor Davis, Geronimo Allison and Jeff Janis.
But the Packers served up the final 11-play, 75-yard scoring drive to Matt Ryan and the Falcons, leaving the Packers little time to answer.
It didn’t take long after the game to see Rodgers dragged through the mud because he couldn’t bring the Packers from behind. He would have needed roughly 33 to 35 yards to get Crosby into field goal range.
Perhaps Rodgers should have been able to do more to get the Packers into range, but he shouldn’t be blamed entirely.
When Atlanta was driving on the possession before, it was pretty apparent the Falcons were going to have a good chance to reach the end zone, which they did. Mike McCarthy had two timeouts left and using one of them would have given his team more time to cover ground in the end, as much as another 30-seconds.
It also would have given his defense time to catch their breath and set themselves for what turned out to be Matt Ryan’s game tying touchdown pass to Mohamed Sanu. On the play, the Packers had a linebacker (Jake Ryan) on Sanu, which was a bad matchup.
Instead, McCarthy took two timeouts into the final 31-seconds, which put his team in a much tighter situation. He ended up having one timeout taken from him when Jordy Nelson was injured on a play and couldn’t get off the field on his own. So as it turned out, McCarthy never used any of his timeouts on his own. He took one with him when the game was over.
Defensively, the Packers struggled to put any pressure on Matt Ryan. They ended up sacking the Atlanta quarterback just twice. Ryan finished with a quarterback rating of 129.5.
Dom Capers has been so concerned about his depleted secondary that he’s decided to primarily rush four. On Sunday, without Clay Matthews, rushing four wasn’t good enough. Matt Ryan was too comfortable.
You can count the number of fourth quarter comebacks by Aaron Rodgers on two hands (10). The Packers quarterback will constantly be reminded of that number when he can’t seem to find a way to bring his team from behind. It goes with the territory.
But don’t lay all of the blame at the feet of the quarterback. There’s plenty to go around.