The Green Bay Packers’ top five performers in their Week 14 win against the Atlanta Falcons.
There was a rhythm on offense that has been lacking and the Packers were able to come away with a couple of turnovers on defense.
The game got off to a nightmare start for coach Joe Philbin. Atlanta drove right down the field and scored a touchdown aided by two controversial catch rulings.
Coach Philbin challenged two catches made by Julio Jones on the drive and had both rulings upheld by replay officials, leaving the Packers with no challenges less than three minutes into the game.
I’m not sure what the officials were looking at on the first ruling, at no point did Jones have control of the ball at any point. Luckily for the Packers, neither call came back to really hurt the team.
After Green Bay responded with a drive and touchdown of their own, the game looked like it might be a shootout. That was not to be as Atlanta did not do much after the opening drive and the Packers pulled away.
After last week’s loss and the firing of Mike McCarthy, all I really wanted to see was if this team had quit on the season or if they had some fight left. I got the answer I was hoping for.
The Packers showed they have some pride left and stood up for each other. One moment in the game I enjoyed seeing was the linemen having their quarterback’s back and charging down after a borderline hit on Aaron Rodgers. Lucas Patrick and company let the Falcons’ defenders know that type of play would not be tolerated.
I’m not advocating for the “scrap” that happened after the play, but I am happy to see that type of fight in the team. It wasn’t one guy but the entire offensive front that was down there sticking up for their teammate. It was a type of action I’m not sure we would have seen from this team a week ago.
Maybe the firing of McCarthy was the kick in the pants this team needed. The win may be too little too late, but it’s a good sign to see they haven’t quit on each other.
Here are the top five performances from the win over the Falcons.
1. Aaron Jones
It was a strange start to the game as the Packers opened with Jamaal Williams and stuck with him for the entire first drive. It may have been due to Williams and his pass protection and the Packers starting three backup offensive linemen. But with Philbin’s stated desire to get Jones around 20 touches in the game, it was weird to see Williams start the game.
It didn’t matter. Jones still got the ball exactly 20 times. He had 17 carries for 78 yards and a touchdown with three catches for 28 yards. Add it all up and Jones finished the game with 106 all-purpose yards.
Jones highlighted his day with a beauty of a 29-yard touchdown run in which he followed his blocks perfectly before making the last guy miss and putting the game out of reach.
Jones also showed improved blocking, picking up a middle blitz halfway through the third quarter, giving Rodgers more time.
There isn’t much more I can say about Jones that hasn’t already been said. He is the most talented runner the Packers have had since Ahman Green and should be a key player for this team moving forward.
The key for Jones will be taking care of his body and ensuring his is available and not on the inactive list.