Atlanta Falcons beat Green Bay Packers to earn Super Bowl 2017 berth
Published 2:19 pm Sunday, January 22, 2017
The celebration is on in Atlanta, after the Falcons delivered a convincing win at home over the Green Bay Packers today in the NFC Championship 2017.
The Falcons have never won a Super Bowl in 51 franchise years but they will certainly enter this Super Bowl with odds of winning based upon their performance today against the Packers.
Matt Ryan threw for 392 yards and four touchdowns in the win.
“I’m just excited for two weeks from now,” Ryan said after the game.
It will be Ryan’s first Super Bowl appearance. The game is in two weeks in Houston, Texas.
The Falcons can give thanks to the Dallas Cowboys, who lost last week to Green Bay and gave Atlanta one last home game at the Georgia Dome.
Live score updates on the Green Bay vs. Atlanta NFC Championship game 2017 game here below:
**At the two minute warning Atlanta is leading Green Bay 44-21 and Green Bay has pulled its starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers — signaling that the game is over.
**Atlanta is leading after a superlative performance from Matt Ryan 44-21 with just a couple of minutes left in the fourth quarter. Atlanta, it is clear, will be going to the Super Bowl 2017.
**Atlanta fans are making plans for the Super Bowl since the Falcons just scored in the fourth quarter to take a 44-15 lead and all but wrap up the NFC championship.
**Green Bay scores just before the end of the third quarter to cut Atlanta’s lead to 37-15 but it will take a miracle for the Packers to make a comeback, with just one quarter remaining.
**Atlanta has taken a 37-7 lead with 4:11 left in the third quarter and appears all but packing bags for a trip to the Super Bowl in Houston.
**Green Bay finally got on the board with a short Rodgers touchdown pass after a long drive to make the score 31-7 midway through the third quarter.
Julio Jones is having one of the best games of his distinguished career.
The sixth-year receiver, in his second straight All-Pro season, has seven catches for 144 yards, and it’s still early in the third quarter.
Jones showed why he’s arguably the NFL’s most elite wideout on a 73-yard touchdown catch down the right sideline, giving the Falcons a 31-0 lead over Green Bay.
Jones was held by cornerback LaDarius Gunter before the catch, pulled the ball down, and broke off the tackle attempt. Cornerback Damarious Randall tried to bring down the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Jones a few yards later, only to get stiff-armed.
Jones danced briefly to stay in bounds before crossing the goal line.
— George Henry reporting from Atlanta
The Green Bay Packers have lost safeties Kentrell Brice and Micah Hyde and left guard Lane Taylor to injuries in Sunday’s NFC championship game against Atlanta.
Brice suffered a shoulder injury on the opening kickoff. Hyde hurt his shoulder late in the first half.
Lane, a starter, hurt his left knee late in the first half.
The Packers say the three will not return.
Falcons center Alex Mack returned after leaving the game briefly with an apparent lower left leg injury.
— Charles Odum reporting from Atlanta
**Atlanta is making its last game in the Georgia Dome a memorable one, crushing the Packers 31-0 so far in the second half. The Falcons defense has kept pressure in Aaron Rodgers face most of the game and Matt Ryan and company are playing superlatively. Early in the second half Ryan completed a 73 yard play to Julio Jones for another score. Atlanta has 400 yards to Green Bays 200 yards so far.
**Atlanta scored in the final seconds just before the half on a long drive and pass from Matt Ryan to take a 24-0 lead with :03 left before the half.
**The Falcons are making it look easy so far in the first half, taking a 17-0 lead on a run by quarterback Matt Ryan. He scrambled 14 yards for the score. The Falcons have 229 yards of offense so far in the first half with more than 7 minutes to play.
**Green Bay, trailing 10-0, was driving deep in Atlanta territory but near the end of a strong run Rikowski fumbled and Atlanta covered on its 2 yard line.
**Atlanta drives 12 plays and 69 yards and makes a 28 yard field goal just before the end of the first quarter to take a 10-0 lead into the end of the first quarter. The Falcons scored on both possessions. It is the biggest deficit for Green Bay in an eight-game winning streak but the Packers are moving the ball as well — they just haven’t gotten on the board.
**Green Bay drove to the Atlanta 23 on its first drive but M. Crosby missed a 41-yard field goal wide right. Atlanta still leads 7-0 with 5:35 left in the first quarter.
**Atlanta scores midway through the first quarter on a short pass from quarterback Matt Ryan to take a 7-0 lead with 8:34 remaining. It was a 2 yard touchdown pass to Sanu.
The Falcons had put together a 13 play, 80-yard drive for the score. It was the Falcons first possession of the game and they worked methodically down the field.
It’s the Green Bay Packers vs. Atlanta Falcons today in NFL Playoffs 2017.
The game today starts at 2:05 p.m. You can get live score updates here throughout the game to find out who’s winning the Packers, Falcons game right now?
TV channel: Fox
Livestream: Fox Sports Go
Watch online: NFL’s mobile app.
Matchups for the NFC championship game Sunday between the Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons:
When the Packers (12-6) have the ball:
Aaron Rodgers (12) couldn’t be hotter. After predicting the Packers would rise from 4-6, the quarterback made sure they did with some magnificent work. Expect him to throw plenty against a defense that can rush the passer thanks to All-Pro Vic Beasley Jr. (44), who led the league with 15½ sacks. Atlanta ranked 28th against the pass. Even if top targets WR Jordy Nelson (87) and Davante Adams (17) are sidelined, Rodgers will expect to find WR Randall Cobb (18), RB Ty Montgomery (88), and TEs Richard Rodgers (82) and Jared Cook (89), he of the miracle catch against Dallas.
With the emergence of Montgomery as a running back after a move from receiver, Green Bay has some balance to its offense. It needs a recently improved O-line anchored by LT David Bakhtiari (69) to continue its progress.
Atlanta figures to be aggressive against Rodgers, knowing that a conservative D could get chewed up. Rookie LB Deion Jones (45), Brooks Reed (50), coming off a big game against Seattle, and a host of unheralded DBs will be tested.
If Green Bay has the ball near the end of the second or fourth quarters, it might be time for Falcons fans to say a few Hail Marys.
When the Falcons (12-5) have the ball:
Watch out. This is as mighty an offense as the NFL has, thanks to All-Pro QB Matt Ryan (2) throwing to All-Pro WR Julio Jones (11), Mohamed Sanu (12) and breakthrough wideout Taylor Gabriel (18). Ryan, who led the league in passing, also has favorable matchups with RBs Devonta Freeman (24) and Tevin Coleman (26) as targets.
Ryan might be the best deep-ball passer in football (though Rodgers is no slouch), and the Packers are vulnerable in an injury-battered secondary. Expect Atlanta to test the likes of Damarious Randall (23), Micah Hyde (33), LaDarius Gunter (36), who struggled mightily against Dallas, and, if they’re ready to go, Quinten Rollins (24) and Morgan Burnett (42). Only S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (21) has been truly reliable in the secondary.
The Falcons certainly will be balanced with the ball, probably much more than Green Bay is. Unless, of course, the Packers can stymie Freeman/Coleman with the work of LBs Clay Matthews (52), Nick Perry (53) and Jake Ryan (47).
Perry and Julius Peppers (56) will provide the pass rush, along with Matthews at times. Atlanta gave up 37 sacks, so Ryan is reachable. His main protectors, as well as blockers for the run game, are RT Ryan Schraeder (73), C Alex Mack (51) and LT Jake Matthews (70), who is Clay’s cousin.
Eric Weems (14) gives the Falcons dependable returning on kickoffs and punts. He ranked sixth in punt runbacks (11.4 yards per) and would have ranked the same on kickoffs at 23.0 had he made enough returns to qualify. Matt Bosher (5) is steady but punted only 44 times this season, which says a ton about the offense.
Matt Bryant (3) is in his 15th pro season, but has never been to a Super Bowl. His leg remains powerful at age 41, and he doesn’t get nervous.
That can’t be said about Green Bay K Mason Crosby (2), who has had an up-and-down career since 2007. But he does own a championship ring and he hit a pair of pressure-packed kicks from 50-plus yards to beat Dallas last week.
Second-year P Jacob Schum (10) was near the bottom of league stats, but he does have to kick in difficult weather for a portion of the schedule.
The Packers don’t achieve a lot on returns, particularly with Cobb out of the mix, and are vulnerable to kickoff runbacks.
Atlanta’s Dan Quinn is a novice at this as a head coach, but he won a Super Bowl as Seattle’s defensive coordinator in the 2013 season. He resembles his mentor, Pete Carroll, in demeanor and willingness to push the envelope.
Mike McCarthy sometimes gets criticized for getting to only one Super Bowl with Rodgers behind center. But McCarthy, an offensive mastermind, has made the playoffs eight consecutive seasons and helped get the Packersfrom 4-6 to this point.
How about this for Atlanta: The Falcons have never won a Super Bowl, losing their only visit in the 1998 season. This also will be the final game in the Georgia Dome before the Falcons move into a new building next door.
Green Bay is on a tear and Rodgers has never performed better, not even in his two MVP seasons. Although he probably doesn’t think about it, another ring would lift him above predecessor (and Hall of Famer) Brett Favre’s achievements.