Packers miss opportunity to go 2-0 in Atlanta

The Green Bay Packers seemingly had a victory in hand late in the third quarter against the Atlanta Falcons as they marched down the field and scored their third touchdown of the afternoon with :56 left on the clock before the final stanza.

But as the saying goes, you have got to play four quarters if you plan to win football games.

The final stanza for Green Bay was just about as miserable as you can imagine.

The quarter began with the Falcons marching down the field and scoring a touchdown on a fourth-and-six quarterback keeper where Green Bay defensive end Rashan Gary failed to contain the left side, allowing Atlanta’s Desmond Ridder to score.

Following an anemic three-and-out by the Green Bay offense, Atlanta drove the ball with ease into Packers territory. When the drive stalled, Atlanta’s Younghoe Koo kicked the third of his four field goals, a 39-yarder that made the score 24-19, Green Bay.

The Packers responded with another three-and-out, highlighted by a false start penalty on quarterback Jordan Love, who miscommunicated to his line when the ball was to be snapped.

“I just messed up the operation with the cadence on that one,” Love explained to reporters after the game. “Not everybody got the call to get the sneak, so I just messed that operation up there.”

Deciding against going for it on what became fourth-and-six, the Packers elected to punt instead. And then Atlanta made them pay, methodically marching down the field in 12 plays that covered only 66 yards, but still only left 56 seconds left after Koo’s 25-yard field goal gave Atlanta the lead at 25-24.

In four down territory, the Packers failed to pick up a first down, and it was ballgame, despite another promising start from Love. Love showed poise and accuracy, completing 14-25 passes for 151 yards with three touchdown and no interceptions (113.5 quarterback rating) despite missing starting left tackle David Bakhtiari, running back Aaron Jones, and wide receiver Christian Watson to injuries.

“Obviously very disappointed that when you have a 12-point lead in the second half, and you don’t make the plays and don’t play complimentary football, and when you have mistakes, all those get magnified,” a visibly irritated coach Matt LaFleur said after the game.

LaFleur would not speculate on the status of his three offensive starters that were unable to play Sunday. The Packers play their first home game of the season this coming Sunday against New Orleans.

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