Week 4 Recap: Atlanta Falcons vs. Green Bay Packers

Week 4 Recap: Atlanta Falcons vs. Green Bay Packers

by October 6, 2020 0 comments

The Monday Night Football matchup between the Atlanta Falcons and Green Bay Packers had a storyline focused on injuries. A dazzling performance by Aaron Rodgers shifted that storyline to the 36-year-old quarterback and his new star tight end, Robert Tonyan Jr. The Packers easily handled the Falcons in a convincing 30-16 win. 

Coming into the game, Rodgers was without his two best receivers in Davante Adams and Allen Lazard. Only Marquez Valdes-Scantling had much experience in the receiving corps, but that was not an issue for Rodgers and head coach Matt LaFleur. The Packers utilized their running backs and tight ends like never before and Green Bay’s offense looked just fine without their star receivers. 

Aaron Jones was the most effective running back on Monday Night. Jones totaled 111 yards from scrimmage and scored the first touchdown of the night on a wide open six-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter. Not to be outshined, Jamaal Williams added 95 yards receiving on six catches in a very efficient performance out of the backfield. 

The real story of the night was the breakout performance from undrafted tight end Tonyan. Prior to Monday’s game, Rodgers had already been working Tonyan into the offense more often, and the tight end nabbed a touchdown pass each of the last two weeks. However, not even Rodgers or Tonyan himself could have expected an eight reception, 95 yards, three-touchdown night that he would have on Monday. 

When asked about his big game, the tight end said, ”Aaron had a nice little look in his eye tonight, so I just tried to make plays and roll with that.” Tonyan is the only NFL tight end to catch touchdown passes in three consecutive games this season. He is also the first Packers tight end since Jermichael Finley to record three touchdown receptions in one game. 

For Atlanta, it was more of the same. Julio Jones did not come out of the locker room at half time. After that, the Packers were able to completely neutralize Calvin Ridley with shutdown corner Jaire Alexander. Although Todd Gurley II had a nice evening with two touchdown rushes, Atlanta only had 78 total rushing yards. Matt Ryan looked extremely frustrated at the end of the game, and the Falcons were never in prime position to challenge Green Bay.  

Highlights:

The touchdown that started it all for Tonyan on Monday Night. 

Ryan decided to lead the way for Gurley on his second touchdown run of the evening. 

Za’Darius Smith with one of his three sacks in the contest.

The biggest question for Green Bay so far has been their defensive efficiency as compared to their impressive offensive output. Against the high-octane Falcons offense, the Packers only allowed 78 rushing yards and 16 points on a night where Rodgers needed the defense to step up. They will go into their bye week at 4-0 with time to heal before they continue their 2020 season. 

“I like where we are at. I like the diversity in our approach. Matt was great mixing up the calls without Davante and we executed very well,” said Rodgers. 

While the Packers get the bye week to heal and rest, Atlanta immediately goes back home to face the division rival Carolina Panthers in Week 5. Matt Ryan and Dan Quinn will need to examine their offense and look at how to get Ridley more involved. Establishing the run game earlier in the contest is of high priority. Sitting at 0-4, it is now or never for Atlanta. 

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MJ is the host of "Next Man Up w/MJ Hurley" and "eXamining the XFL" MJ is also a reporter at Fansided for Oakland A's and at XFL Board.

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