By: Barry Barnes, Founder/Senior Writer
The Atlanta Falcons was in control of their matchup against the Packers, until late in the fourth quarter when Green Bay forced a major turnover to end their five-game losing streak. Packers’ quarterback Matt Flynn was patience and told his shots down the field in the snowy weather when the opportunities presented itself for 258 yards and one touchdown.
Due to Packers’ linebacker Mike Neal sack-fumble on quarterback Matt Ryan, which set Flynn up to throw a 2-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Andrew Quarless early in the fourth quarter, Green Bay’s defense kept the Falcons scoreless for a 22-21 win.
Game Notes by Courtesy of The Atlanta Falcons
-Atlanta tied the game at 7-7 in the second quarter when QB Matt Ryan hit WR Drew Davis with a 36-yard touchdown strike. The score was Davis’ second of the season and the third of his career. It was also the longest reception of his career.
-With his 36-yard touchdown pass to Davis, Ryan eclipsed the 20 touchdown mark for the fifth consecutive season. He is the only quarterback in franchise history to post at least 20 touchdowns in five seasons.
-S William Moore notched his second strip-sack of the season, dropping QB Matt Flynn for an eight-yard loss and jarring the ball loose at the Packers 15-yard line. DE Malliciah Goodman recovered the fumble at the Green Bay 13 to set up a short field for Atlanta’s offense.
-Since becoming a starter in 2010, Moore has created 20 turnovers with 12 interceptions and eight forced fumbles. The Missouri product has forced a fumble in each of the last two games, sparking the Falcons to a win over the Bills in Week 13 after forcing a fumble in overtime to set up the game-winning field goal.
-The Falcons cashed in on Moore’s forced fumble when Ryan connected with TE Tony Gonzalez for a two-yard touchdown just four plays later. The score was Ryan’s 146th career touchdown pass and the 108thtouchdown reception of Gonzalez’s career.
-Gonzalez leads all active players and owns the NFL record for tight ends with 108 touchdown receptions. He has a team-leading six touchdown receptions in 2013, including one TD catch in each of the last two games.
-Gonzalez has caught touchdowns in consecutive games 26 times in his career. Additionally, Gonzalez has caught at least six touchdowns in each of the last six seasons.
-Ryan’s 146 career touchdown passes are the second most in franchise history, trailing QB Steve Bartkowski’s mark of 154 touchdown passes.
-Ryan finished the game completing 20 of 35 passes for 206 yards with two touchdowns, one interception and an 81.4 passer rating. Sunday marked Ryan’s 47th career multi-touchdown game and the eighthtime he’s tossed two-or-more TDs this season.
-Gonzalez finished the game with three catches for 25 yards, giving him 14,946 career receiving yards. He passed WR Tim Brown (14,934) to move into fifth place on the NFL’s all-time receiving list. Gonzalez is 54 yards shy of becoming the fifth player in NFL history to record 15,000 receiving yards.
-LB Sean Weatherspoon scored his first career touchdown, returning an interception 71 yards for a score inside the final two minutes of the first half. Weatherspoon intercepted Packers QB Matt Flynn after his pass was tipped by DT Peria Jerry, then bounced off of LB Paul Worrilow’s foot and into Weatherspoon’s hands.
-Weatherspoon is the second Falcon to return an interception for a touchdown this season, joining DE Osi Umenyiora. Atlanta has scored three defensive touchdowns this season and owns a 2-1 record in those games.
-Weatherspoon’s 71-yard interception-TD was the 11th interception returned at least 70 yards for a score in franchise history and was the longest since CB Asante Samuel returned an interception 79 yards for a touchdown against Oakland last season. Under Head Coach Mike Smith, the Falcons are 12-4 when scoring a defensive touchdown, including a 7-3 mark when recording a pick six.
-Weatherspoon finished the game with seven tackles (four solo), one interception and one pass defensed. In four games since returning from injury, Weatherspoon has tallied 29 total tackles.
-LB Paul Worrilow had a game-high 12 stops (seven solo). He also added his first career sack, while combining with DE Jonathan Massaquoi for another sack. The undrafted rookie out of Delaware also added one tackle for loss and one pass defense.
-Massaquoi recorded five total tackles (three solo) with a career best 1.5 sacks, one tackle for loss and a pair of stops on special teams.
-Atlanta’s defense combined to tie its season-high with five sacks as Massaquoi (1.5), Worrilow (1.5), Moore (1.0), and DT Corey Peters (1.0) all dropped Flynn for a total loss of 36 yards.
-WR Roddy White continued his strong late season push catching a game-high eight passes for 74 yards. In his last two games White has totaled 18 receptions for 217 yards.
-Despite the inclement weather, P Matt Bosher averaged 44.5 yards on four punts with two kicks inside the Packers 20-yard line and a long boot of 53 yards. Bosher has logged a kick of 50+ yards in all but two games this season.
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