Falcons will need better showing against Packers

Atlanta head coach Mike Smith says there is a lot his team needs to fix before taking on the defending champs. The Falcons have yet to put a complete game together this season.

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — The At­lan­ta Falcons are still trying to find their groove.


With the defending Super Bowl champions coming to town, this would be a good week to do it.

The Falcons (2-2) are coming off another Jekyll-and-Hyde performance, racing out to a big lead on struggling Seattle, then barely hanging on for a 30-28 victory over the Seahawks.

In many ways, the win typified the first quarter of the season for Atlanta, which was projected as a Super Bowl contender but had yet to put together a complete game.

The offensive line had been the biggest concern, but it did a good job Sunday. Matt Ryan wasn’t sacked after going down 13 times over the first three games.

Now, coach Mike Smith is worried about the defense, which was burned for four touchdowns and 372 yards by a Seattle team that had scored just 30 points coming into the game. That won’t do against Green Bay, which visits Atlanta on Sunday for a rematch of last year’s playoff rout.

“They have a great pedigree,” Smith said Monday. “They have an outstanding quarterback with a lot of weapons. That’s the biggest concern for us, being able to slow these guys down. In all four games, they have moved the ball and put a lot of points on the scoreboard.”

The Aaron Rodgers-led Pack­ers (4-0) are averaging a league-best 37 points a game, looking just as prolific as they did in January blowing out the Falcons 48-21 in a division-round playoff game.

Atlanta has appeared to have taken a slight step backward instead of another giant leap forward since then.

“I felt we played a solid game through the first half,” Smith said. “In the second half, we didn’t play as well as we needed to play. There’s a lot we need to fix. One thing I will say about our team is we responded to the challenge. We held up in the fourth quarter when we had to.”


Wed, 08/16/2017 - 23:27