Falcons Blitz: What happened Saturday

It may have been the worst night of the season for the Falcons defense, and the offense didn't fare much better. In only the third playoff game in Georgia Dome history, the Falcons gave the fans few reasons to hit the 115-decibel level the team had set as a goal going into the game.

Flying high

Stephen Nicholas' strip from behind of Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings erased what would have been a big gain on Green Bay's first possession and gave the ball back to the Falcons on Brent Grimes' recovery. The turnover led to the game's first score, a Michael Turner 12-yard run. Turner bounced off several tackles and almost seemed to stumble into the end zone.

Flying low

The Falcons' secondary got torched by Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the first three quarters, as he completed 27 of 31 passes for 330 yards and three touchdowns. ... Christopher Owens struggled filling in for injured starter Brian Williams at nickel back, getting repeatedly beaten on the Packers' second touchdown drive. He was called for pass interference at the goal line before getting pulled out of the game. ... After having a first down at the Green Bay 15 late in the second quarter, a false start and sack put the Falcons in third and long, and then quarterback Matt Ryan threw an interception in the end zone to waste a scoring opportunity. ... When the defense desperately needed a stop on the Packers' opening possession of the second half, it couldn't get it. Green Bay again marched 80 yards for a touchdown, capped off by Rodgers' 7-yard run that made it 35-14.

Best play

After the Packers tied the game 7-7 in the first quarter, Falcons special teams maven Eric Weems returned the ensuing kickoff 102 yards for a touchdown to put Atlanta back on top. It was his second kickoff return for a touchdown this season.

Worst play

After a sack that left the Falcons at the Green Bay 35-yard line with 8 seconds remaining in the half, the Falcons wanted to try one more play to grab a few more yards to set up a field goal. Ryan rolled left and threw for Roddy White at the sideline, but Tramon Williams jumped the route, grabbing the interception and running it back for a score that put the Packers up two touchdowns at the half.

Best call

Facing a fourth and 1 on the Packers' 13-yard line on their second possession, Falcons coach Mike Smith decided to go for it. The Falcons converted on close to three-fourths of their fourth-down tries in the regular season, and that success continued Saturday. Ryan turned and quickly handed it to fullback Ovie Mughelli, who cut left and easily cleared the one yard for the first down, leading to the team's first touchdown.

Worst call

With the ball in field-goal position at the 26-yard line on third and 21 late in the second quarter, Ryan noticed too late receiver Michael Jenkins had beaten Williams. By the time he did and threw it, Jenkins was too deep in the end zone. Instead of eating it and taking the field goal, Ryan's pass floated, giving Williams time to catch up. He leapt and intercepted it as Jenkins slid to the ground. The pick led to Green Bay's third touchdown of the first half.


Falcons game captains were Todd McClure, Weems, Ryan, John Abraham and Mike Peterson. ... Rodgers' passer rating in the first three quarters was 143.3. ... Weems' 102-yard kickoff return for a touchdown was the longest kickoff return in NFL postseason history. ... Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez limped off the field late in the third quarter on what could be the last play of his heralded career. He has never had a postseason win in his 14 NFL seasons.