By Mark Strotman

A 47-yard field goal from Matt Bryant with nine seconds left pushed the Atlanta Falcons past the Packers 20-17 in a matchup of two of the NFC’s best Sunday. The Packers offense failed to convert key plays, the defense missed tackles, and the special teams reverted back to its old ways in the loss, leaving the team empty-handed in what could have been a season-defining game.

With the loss, the Packers (7-4) move a game behind the Chicago Bears for the NFC North lead and are currently on the outside looking in the playoff race. That being said, the Packers still control its destiny in the North and will have plenty of opportunities to make a jump in the standings over the next five weeks.
As for Sunday, here are a few grades for key players on all three units.


Aaron Rodgers had an excellent game on paper, spreading his 26 completions to eight receivers, and the Packers had over 400 yards of total offense, but the unit was never fully on track and never got into a rhythm it had become accustomed to over the past three weeks. One big reason was the lack of a running game, something the Packers were able to hide during its four-game winning streak.

Aaron Rodgers: Unfortunately, an otherwise excellent game from Rodgers will be overshadowed by his lost fumble at the Falcons’ goal line in the first half. Early in the second quarter, with the score tied 3-3, Rodgers rushed up the middle on a third-and-one quarterback sneak and lost control of the ball on his way in. The Falcons recovered and proceeded to drive 80 yards for a touchdown to put them up seven at halftime.

It was a momentum-shifting play and ended up being the only turnover of the game for either team, making it all that more important. Still, Rodgers passed with accuracy and poise and used his legs to run 12 times for 51 yards, including a one-yard improvised touchdown run in the third quarter to tie the game.

His touchdown pass to Jordy Nelson on fourth down with 12 seconds to go was a throw that, at best, a handful of quarterbacks in the league could make. The fumble was a huge blemish on his day, but Rodgers still had one heck of a day. GRADE: A-

Brandon Jackson/Dimitri Nance:

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