Atlanta Falcons rout Green Bay Packers to advance to Super Bowl 51

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Keith Allison

Cameron Adamczyk, Staff Writer

The Atlanta Falcons will meet the New England Patriots on February 5th in the Super Bowl after beating the Green Bay Packers at home on Sunday night. The rout started early as the Falcons gained as much as a 31-point lead before finishing the game up 44-21.

Green Bay’s first mistake was giving the ball to the Falcons to start the game. The league’s number one offense found their groove immediately, converting three third downs on their way to shovel pass from Matt Ryan to Mohamed Sanu for a quick 7-0 lead.

The first drive foreshadowed what the rest of the afternoon would look like for the Falcons. Atlanta converted 10 of 13 third downs to extend drives and eat clock, keeping Aaron Rodgers off the field and out of rhythm.  The Falcons ended the game with an 8-minute time of possession advantage.

As the first half progressed, Atlanta’s number one ranked offense began to torch the slowly depleting Packers’ defense. Injuries riddled the Packers coming into the game, but players began to drop like flies, leaving opportunities for the Falcons to create a lead that quickly became insurmountable.

The dagger in the Packers side occurred late in the second quarter. The Falcons punted the ball back to the Packers with 2:43 left in the quarter, giving Rodgers an opportunity for a 14-point swing because the Packers got the ball back after halftime. But Rodgers made an uncharacteristic mistake, throwing an interception while rolling to his right, giving the Falcons the ball back with 1:25 left. The Falcons drove down and scored on an incredible Julio Jones snag with three seconds left.

Instead of a potential 14-point swing, the Falcons stopped the Packers again after halftime, and Atlanta turned around with seven more points. This time, Julio Jones ripped across the field like the Hulk, stiff arming players straight to Heaven on his way to a 73-yard touchdown.

The Packers finally scored with 9:19 in the third quarter, but the Falcons 31-point lead was too much for a serious threat of a comeback.

Atlanta’s defense entered the playoffs widely considered to be the worst defense out of all the teams in the postseason, but they have looked progressively better. They have forced a pair of turnovers in both postseason games, and they have held Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers, widely regarded as two of the top quarterbacks in the NFL, to just 476 passing yards.

With the win, it is Atlanta’s second Super Bowl appearance in franchise history.