After Monday’s film watch, the Green Bay Packers are done licking their wounds from a colossal collapse against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 2. The Packers carried a 12-point lead into the fourth quarter but lost 25-24 when the offense failed to gain a single first down and the defense couldn’t get a stop in the final 15 minutes.
“That film was tough to watch because there were a lot of opportunities out there for us,” Matt LaFleur said Monday afternoon. “We have to make some of these plays that are out there for us to make.”
Naturally, there was plenty of blame to go around. The defense was gashed consistently as Atlanta’s rushing attack tallied over 200 yards on the ground. Meanwhile, the offense performed admirably through the first three quarters but couldn’t put together a complete performance.
From an offensive standpoint, the Packers were down three of their best starters coming into the game and then lost another when Pro Bowl guard Elgton Jenkins suffered an MCL sprain while blocking for AJ Dillon during the second quarter. Still, none of that excuses the two straight three-and-outs in the final quarter and the four straight incompletions to end the game.
Defensively, there were no good reasons why Green Bay couldn’t contain either Bijan Robinson or Tyler Algeier. Atlanta doesn’t run an extravagant offense with second-year quarterback Desmond Ridder at the helm, but they managed to dominate time of possession while winning the total yards battle, 446 to 224.
LaFleur wasn’t about to discredit the performance of Atlanta’s offense but did note that most of their defensive struggles were self-inflicted.
“There’s some things that were self-inflicted, no doubt about it. They have a good run game. They really do,” said LaFleur. “Schematically, they presented a few issues for us. I think you combine that with two really good running backs, and we had a couple missed tackles…there’s things we’ve got to adapt and adjust to and do a much better job.”
Following Sunday’s disappointing result, much of the criticism was aimed at defensive coordinator Joe Barry. However, as Justis Mosqueda of Acme Packing Company pointed out in a Twitter thread, Barry wasn’t the one failing to execute.
Why would Barry call for both playside linemen to end up on the ground immediately with the edge trying to make a sports movie tackle? pic.twitter.com/xa3Qj8urY5
— Justis Mosqueda (@JuMosq) September 18, 2023
For most of the day, Green Bay struggled at the point of attack and couldn’t get off of blocks. That resulted in them being out of position on a number of the Falcons’ explosive runs and there were also missed tackles by multiple defenders.
As they sit right now, the Packers are 30th in the league in rushing yards allowed per game (166.5) and Barry’s scheme isn’t the only thing to blame. In the end, it’s the players who have to go out and make the necessary plays, so Sunday’s performance doesn’t happen again.