Game notes: Packers-Falcons

Let’s talk NFC Divisional Playoffs. Five things that stood out from the Packers’ 48-21 win over the Falcons in the Georgia Dome.

Click here to read my Ravens-Steelers game notes.

1. Tramon Williams: Played big—again. Let’s talk about his two picks. The first came on a 9 (fade) route to the end zone. Didn’t have perfect coverage. But on a pass that isn’t thrown to the back of the end zone, Williams can go up and high point the ball to make a play. That takes points off of the board for Atlanta. The second pick really iced this game for the Packers. Reads sprint action from Falcons’ QB Matt Ryan and sits on the flat. That is an example of knowing the situation and expecting an outside breaking route. The result is a 70-yard INT return for a TD. Two biggest plays in this game? Without a doubt.

Aaron RodgersICONRodgers threw for 366-yards and 3 TDs in the Packers' 48-21 win over the Falcons.

2. Rodgers' production: Fun to watch tonight. That is the easiest way to say it, because when Rodgers is hot, he will consistently challenge the opposing secondary. Think about it from the perspective of the Falcons. When they sent pressure, they couldn’t get home. And when they dropped seven—even eight—into coverage, Rodgers would carve up zone concepts. The Falcons didn’t have an answer for the Green Bay wide receivers (or this offense in general) and it showed in Rodgers’ final numbers: 31-36-366-3 TDs.

3. The Falcons’ game plan: Atlanta needed to control the tempo of this game. Run the ball with Michael Turner (which we saw early), use play action and put together long drives that eat up clock. That sounds good and looks great during the week of practice, but when you fall behind—and see your QB make careless mistakes—that isn’t going to sell. For a 13-3 football team, this was very poor execution tonight. Not good enough for a No.1 seed—at home.

4. Green Bay’s empty looks: Go back to the first Packers’ TD. A 3-man combination route to the front side of the formation. Run the post-7 (flag) combo into the end zone and hit Jordy Nelson underneath on the whip option (release inside and break back to the sideline). This is just one example of the multiple combinations the Packers run from their empty (no back) alignments. Spread the field and work on nickel personnel. Tough to stop if you don’t have the depth to play with the Packers’ receivers.

5. Breaking down the Jones’ TD: Let’s break this down—because the Falcons’ Brent Grimes plays good coverage on this TD pass. Jones runs a standard double-move on the backside of the formation vs. off-man coverage. As you can see in the replay, Grimes doesn’t break in front of the receiver, keeps good leverage and plays up through the hands of Jones at the point of attack. Exactly what you are taught as a DB in a double-move situation. However, this is an example of a WR just making a great play—on a playoff stage. Something we saw all night from Green Bay.

Check back for my game notes tomorrow following Seahawks-Bears and Jets-Patriots.

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