Packers got back on track in Philbin’s debut

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) looks to pass while under pressure from Atlanta Falcons linebacker Vic Beasley Jr. (44) in the second quarter at Lambeau Field.Photo Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Sports Xchange

That seems about the norm for an Aaron Rodgers team in its prime. For this year, however, it was a season high, eclipsing the 33 points the Packers produced against the San Francisco 49ers.

Green Bay’s 34-20 win over the Falcons capped an emotional week that began with the departure of Mike McCarthy and ended with interim coach Joe Philbin winning in his debut. Unlike the loss to Arizona two weeks ago, the Packers did what they were supposed to do on Sunday — punish a warm-weather team with a losing record on a cold day at Lambeau.

While the defense provided one touchdown, the offense looked a bit more like its old self as Rodgers threw touchdown passes to Devante Adams and Randall Cobb, and Aaron Jones rushed for 78 yards and a touchdown.

“It was eventful,” Adams said of the week. “It was a lot going on, obviously, with the coaching change and having to kind of get used to a new — similar schedule — but a little bit new with Joe. We kind of just rallied behind him and prepared the same way as we did in the past, and just came out firing. We did it the right way.”

Rodgers posted a 103.1 passer rating (21-of-32, 196 yards, two TDs) and broke Tom Brady’s record for consecutive passes without an interception in the process. The mark now stands at 368 attempts.

Because of the way things fell around the NFC yesterday, the Packers are still clinging to long-shot playoff hopes. But they have to win out and next up is a road game against the division-leading Chicago Bears, who shut down the prolific Los Angeles Rams offense Sunday night.

“We need to make some big plays up there to win the game,” Philbin said during his Monday press conference.

“It’s not going to be easy to get 30 first downs against the Chicago Bears and score 30 points. Not impossible, but it’s not going to be easy. If we can get an impact play on special teams or an impact play on defense, that’ll be big. We’re going to need them.”

Cobb said the players understand the challenge ahead of them but were happy for Philbin and awarded him a game ball on Sunday for his first win as head coach.

“I think just him coming in here and taking control and implementing his way and letting us know what he expects at Week 13, 14 in the season is difficult,” linebacker Clay Matthews said. “But to still have that effort and energy that we showed today, I think it’s real important for a head coach, and obviously with what Joe did this past week.

–QB Aaron Rodgers completed 21 of 32 passes for 196 yards and two touchdowns against the Falcons. He now has 23 touchdowns, one interception and a 99.6 passer rating on the season.

–WR Davante Adams had seven catches for 81 yards and a touchdown against the Falcons. He tied his career high in touchdowns with his 12th score, matching his total from 2016 and needs six more touchdowns to tie Sterling Sharpe’s franchise record of 18.

–RB Aaron Jones had 17 carries for 78 yards against the Falcons. He ran 29 yards for a third-quarter touchdown.

–CB Bashaud Breeland intercepted his second pass of the season in his fourth game with Green Bay on Sunday and returned it 22 yards for a touchdown, the second of his career.

–K Mason Crosby made both field-goal attempts on Sunday, from 50 and 48 yards out, and converted all four extra points.