Welp, as much fun as watching Clemson destroy Louisville was, watching the Packers get trounced by the Falcons again was as painful. The 34-23 loss was worse than the final score and eerily similar to the blow out loss in the NFC Championship last season. The team was injured, the defense looked lost, Aaron Rodgers was under duress, and he struggled to make plays even when he wasn't pressured.
The defense got off to a HOT start allowing an easy TD drive on the first Falcons series. I'm a big defer to the second half guy, but giving Matt Ryan and Julio Jones the ball first against your suspect defense is just a weird move. Especially when you cough up a fumble and TD on your opening drive to start the second half anyway (more on that later). But anyway, predictably Ryan and Jones carved up Damarious Randall and co. on the opening drive for a 7-0 lead. To make matters worse, Mike Daniels left the game with a hamstring injury and never returned. However, Rodgers and the Pack responded nicely tying up the game on their first drive. It was all downhill from there though.
The Packers defense just could not stop Atlanta at all, and Rodgers was under fire with two starting tackles missing the game. Atlanta opened up a 17-7 lead all of a sudden and it was looking pretty grim. Aaron Rodgers is a tremendous quarterback, the best talent the league has ever seen at the position. But you can just tell when it's one of those games where he doesn't have it. The pressure caused him to fuck up a few times and he was just missing throws, rushing throws, holding it too long, just struggling to come up with anything. Also, Jordy Nelson left during the first drive with some kinda quad injury. Not ideal and I'm sure that didn't help Aaron out.
Before the half it looked like the Packers were cooking something up. Randall Cobb caught a pass over the middle and ran until he was tackled at midfield. But the fucking jabroni refs called pass interference on Martellus Bennett for an illegal pick at the line of scrimmage. From what the announcers were saying and from what the Packers said after the game, you're allowed to pick within one yard of the line of scrimmage. And it sure as fuck looked like Marty was not further than a yard down field when he came in contact with the defender. The worst part is that Rodgers and Marty and Mike McCarthy all said that he was just running his drag route and not even trying to screen the defender. Obviously that could just be an excuse, but why would they have to come up with excuses when it was a legal play anyway? Anyway, they got a half the distance to the goal penalty instead of gaining 25-30 yards and being at midfield. It went from a very good possibility of being 17-14 or 17-10 at halftime to Rodgers throwing an interception two plays later. He tried to make up for the penalty and he threw it down the sidelines to Geronimo Allison who just stopped like he was expecting a back shoulder throw or something. I don't know, I like Allison but this is the kinda shit that happens when you don't have your number one receiver on the field who you've thrown to for the last 8 years or so.
But anyway, that interception led to another Atlanta touchdown and it was 24-7 at halftime. 17 points is a lot to overcome in one half of NFL football against a team that made the Super Bowl the year before, but given how said team lost said Super Bowl (lay up joke, crushed it) and given the quarterback on the team currently losing the game, I'd say the Packers chances of coming back were as good as anyone's. But a few plays in my hopes were completely dashed by a fumble picked up and brought into the end zone for an Atlanta touchdown. Rodgers was pressured, and he tried to move to his left but there was more pressure and when he turned back to the right there was a dude just totally in his face so he tried to get rid of the ball while being tackled. He was able to make a throwing motion so if the ball went forward it woulda been an incomplete pass. However the refs ruled it a backwards pass even after review and the Atlanta TD stood. Absolutely mind boggling how they ruled it a backwards pass when it went about a half yard forward. Yeah the Packers sucked on Sunday night, yeah it wasn't Aaron Rodgers best night, but my god a little help from the officials woulda been nice. Rodgers would eventually put up a few touchdowns to make the final score a little less terrible but I can't imagine it was anything more than Atlanta's defense just playing relaxed coverage. I don't know, I went to bed after the fumble.
I just hope the Packers can get relatively healthy on both sides of the ball this week and recover against weak-ass Cincinnati at home. Bulaga and Bahktiari are huge on the offensive line and obviously Jordy is necessary to make the passing attack truly unstoppable. Cobb is also a little banged up so hopefully he's okay - he's also a crucial part of the offense. And can Dom Capers stop putting Damarious Randall on teams' best receivers? The guy can't cover anyone, let alone Julio Jones or AJ Green. I think Kevin King is ready to step up and make an impact as a rookie. The Packers didn't draft King and Josh Jones for them to sit on the sidelines and watch Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins get carved up over and over. Make the switch Dom you fucking "I'm gonna coach from the booth" nerd.
Another thing I want to add is why the fuck are the Packers always the team who is on the receiving end of the "We've always had an absolute DOGSHIT venue to play in, here's our brand new billion dollar awesome stadium opening night!" dick caving. They had to do it week 2 in Minnesota last year and they did it again in week 2 this year. Schedule someone else next time a stadium opens Goodell you piece of shit.