GREEN BAY – The Packers found the tempo and rhythm they were seeking in the second half of Sunday night’s game against the Atlanta Falcons.
If only it might have happened a little sooner.
The Packers’ offense put up 265 total yards and 16 points in the final two quarters – earmarked by a remarkable 33-yard Davante Adams touchdown grab – but it wasn’t enough to dig out of the 24-point deficit Green Bay found itself in less than a minute into the third quarter.
The end result was a 34-23 loss to the Falcons, who were hosting their opener in front of 70,826 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday night.
Injuries and missed opportunities defined the first 30 minutes of the contest for the Packers, who answered an early Atlanta touchdown with an 11-play, 75-yard drive ending in a Ty Montgomery 1-yard touchdown run on their first offensive series.
Attrition took over from there. Green Bay, already playing without starting tackles David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga, lost starting receivers Jordy Nelson (quad) and receiver Randall Cobb (shoulder), defensive tackle Mike Daniels (hamstring) and safety Kentrell Brice (groin) during the course of the game.
The Packers used more two-tight-end packages to make up for the absence of Bulaga and Bakhtiari, and turned to second-year receivers Trevor Davis and Geronimo Allison to help fill in when Nelson and Cobb exited.
“It’s adversity,” said Adams, who led Green Bay with eight catches for 99 yards and a touchdown. “There’s no team better going through adversity than the Green Bay Packers. We didn’t get it done today but there’s things to learn from here. We can take that and move forward and continue to have a great season.”
Yards were difficult to come by outside of the opening drive with Green Bay only notching 11 more total yards over the next four first-half series and trailing at halftime, 24-7.
It wasn’t until Desmond Trufant returned a fumble 15 yards for a touchdown on the Packers’ first offensive series of the third quarter that things finally started to turn for Green Bay.
Perhaps the biggest play came courtesy of Adams, who kept his feet in bounds and hauled in a 33-yard touchdown pass on fourth-and-7 with 12:42 left in the fourth quarter, bringing down five catches for 81 yards in the final two quarters.
“Davante was just being Davante,” said Montgomery, who had 110 total yards and two touchdowns (one rushing, one receiving). “He’s a great football player. He’s a playmaker and he made some plays.”
Adams and a few others in the Packers’ locker room after the game felt like the offense would’ve been able to establish momentum a little earlier had it not been for a pair of offensive pass interference penalties halting drives.
The first call on tight end Martellus Bennett in the second quarter wiped out a 36-yard pass to Cobb. Rodgers was then picked off two plays later.
Another flag in the third quarter on Geronimo Allison took a 3-yard Cobb touchdown reception off the board, forcing Green Bay to instead settle for the field goal.
While the Packers were flagged twice for the illegal pick plays, Atlanta appeared to get away with one of its own on Tevon Coleman’s 3-yard touchdown reception before halftime.
“Nobody gets caught on that like we do, but it is what it is,” Adams said. “The rule is a judgment calls for the refs. We didn’t violate anything so that should be four more points on the scoreboard. At the end of the day, it’s up to them and then they come and talk to us in the offseason about how they messed up on certain calls. That’s part of the game.”
The Packers followed up Adams’ touchdown with another eight-play, 85-yard scoring drive, which ended in a 1-yard touchdown pass to Montgomery, the 300th of Rodgers’ career.
While the outcome wasn’t what Green Bay desired, both Adams and Montgomery feel confident in the team’s ability to bounce back when it returns to Lambeau Field next Sunday to host the Cincinnati Bengals.
“We have 14 more. It’s early,” Adams said. “We’re not worried about it. We look around this locker room and I look at all these names in here, and it makes me feel better after a loss like this. Just seeing the type of guys we have in here and the talent we have in here.
“The resiliency, we’ve been through a lot as a team. It’s just a bump in the road early and we’ll be all right.”
Complete game coverage: