Falcons’ Kaden Elliss help defense string together key late stops

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Credit: Miguel Martinez

The Falcons’ defense held the Packers scoreless over the final 15:56 of the game, which allowed the offense to rally for the 25-24 victory over the Packers on Sunday.

Linebacker Kaden Elliss led the team with six tackles and a sack.

The Falcons were playing without linebacker Troy Andersen, who went into the concussion protocol last Tuesday. Nate Landman, a former undrafted free agent, made the start and finished with four tackles and a tackle for loss.

The Packers has put together two touchdown drives in the third quarter and held a 24-12 lead with :56 left in the third quarter.

The Falcons defense shut down quarterback Jordan Love and the Packers offense the rest of the way.

“The one key is….the players didn’t quit,” Elliss told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “The coaches didn’t lose believe. The coaches made some great adjustments on the sidelines to get some things that we had to have done. At the end of the day, it was a certain situation in the game. We knew that if Green Bay was able to get some first downs to run out the clock they could secure the win.”

After the Falcons scored to make it 24-19 with 11:48 to play, the defense got a three-and-out and forced the Packers to punt.

The Falcons added a 39-yard field goal to pull within two points, 24-22. Green Bay had a four-and-1 on their 34, but they had a false start when the center didn’t snap the ball to Love.

The miscue gave the Falcons the ball back with 6:07 to play. The offense methodically marched down the field for the game-winning field goal.

The Packers had the ball with 57 seconds left, but couldn’t move to get into field goal range. The Packers threw four straight incompletions and the Falcons kneeled down for the victory.

“It shows that there is always preparation throughout the week, with the plays that they like in these situations,” Elliss said. “We were able to go out, capitalized on the opportunities and stop them.”

The Falcons had just one sack and three quarterback hits. Elliss, Grady Jarrett and Arnold Ebiketie had quarterback hits. The defense held the Packers to 84 yards rushing on 21 carries.

Landman did a good job filling in for Andersen.

“You can tell that he’s been someone who is adamant about progressing and getting better each day since I’ve been here,” Elliss said. “It was awesome to see that culminate for him today. He played well.”

It was Landman’s first NFL start.

“He went out,” Elliss said. “He hit people. He made the calls. He did what he had to do. He played well. Getting to play next to him was special and I really appreciate it.”

Landman helped with calling some of the defense.

“I had the dot, because Troy was out I go outside the box a little bit,” Elliss said. “He was able to make adjustments and calls inside the box.”

Andersen returned to practice late last week, but was ruled out on Friday. The Falcons felt Landman was ready to start.

“We believe in developing and those post-draft spots, any spot a guy gets on our 90 is important,” Falcons coach Arthur Smith said. “Nate is a great football player. He’s instinctive. He’s heavy handed. Played a little bit last year for us. But that’s what we are. When you’ve got a real team and guys believe they all have a chance, things happen. Glad Nate stepped up today.”

Love was 14 of 25 for 151 yards, but tossed three touchdown passes.

Rookie Dontayvion Wicks broke away from cornerback Tre Flowers on his 32-yard touchdown catch.

“It was just a team win,” Flowers said. “Everybody started locking in and doing their job. I’ve got to help this team win a little better. I’ve got to clean up some stuff on my end.”

The defense was confident that Koo would make the winning kick.

“He’s going to make something happen,” Elliss said. “He missed one today, but you know it’s OK because he’s going to make the next one.”

Elliss believes that the Falcons’ offense has helped them prepare for their opponents.

“The offense is hard to practice against,” Elliss said. “They are tough. They just have this principal.”

The coverages units were also helpful.

“Our special teams showed up today,” Elliss said. “They were able to tackle them inside the 25 when they were bringing them out. That’s field position. That’s game-changing plays at the end of the day.”

The defense liked that Smith went for it on fourth down with the game on the line.

“I loved it,” Elliss said. “That’s what you want. To me, you guys go for it. Go give it all that you’ve got because if you don’t get it, I promise you that we’ve got your back.

“He put it in Bijan’s hands. Bijan’s made some great moves. It electrified the offense, even though they had already been rolling. Electrified the crowd even though they had already been going. Electrified the defense again, although we had already been going. I felt like it kept that momentum going.”

The Bow Tie Chronicles

About the Author

Editors' Picks