2014 DRAFT GUIDE
5 things to know after Packers beat Falcons 22-21

By GENARO C. ARMAS - AP Sports Writer
    2013-12-09 02:33

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) - Finally, the Packers got the all-around effort they needed to make up for the loss of Aaron Rodgers.

Maybe, just maybe, things are starting to break Green Bay's way after a 22-21 win Sunday over the Atlanta Falcons snapped a five-game winless streak.

Backup Matt Flynn threw for 258 yards and a score in his second straight start, while the defense bounced back with a clutch performance after recent struggles.

With three games left in an injury-filled season, the Packers (6-6-1) stand just a half-game back of the division-leading Detroit Lions, who lost to Philadelphia on Sunday. The Bears (6-6) host the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night.

As for Rodgers, he appears to be getting closer to returning from a left collarbone injury he sustained Nov. 4 in a 27-20 loss to Chicago.

''Hopefully he takes another step next week toward getting healthy,'' guard T.J. Lang said. ''But until then, I think Matt's done a nice job.''

Five things to know after Green Bay notched its first win since a 44-31 victory over Minnesota on Oct. 27:

BOUNCING BACK: A smattering of boos cascaded down on the Packers late in the first half, trailing by double digits on a bone-chilling afternoon at Lambeau Field.

Coach Mike McCarthy went into the locker room wondering how much energy his players had with the team's playoff prospects in jeopardy. Green Bay responded with its most complete performance in weeks.

Mason Crosby kicked three field goals. Reserve cornerback Jarrett Bush made two critical plays in the fourth quarter. Flynn cashed in on a Falcons turnover with a 2-yard touchdown pass to tight end Andrew Quarless with 12:01 left in the game for the 22-21 lead that completed the comeback from an 11-point halftime deficit.

''I really like the football team, particularly at halftime, coming in, getting booed at home, and just the energy in the locker room. They never blinked, they stayed the course,'' McCarthy said.

OUT OF BREATH: The comeback overshadowed an improbable 71-yard interception return for a touchdown by Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon that gave Atlanta a 21-10 lead late in the second quarter.

A pass from Flynn appeared to carom off linebacker Paul Worrilow's shoe and into the hands of Weatherspoon. He lumbered back up the field past Packers who thought the ball touched the ground.

Weatherspoon said he was just doing what he's been coached to do since he was a child.

''Even if it hit the ground, you still have to take that chance,'' he said. ''That's something that started with me a long time ago playing pee-wee ball or whatever.''

GOOD TIMES: The defense responded with a strong performance after an embarrassing 40-10 loss on Thanksgiving Day to Detroit. Of the two offensive touchdowns scored by Atlanta, one came after Flynn lost a fumble at his own 13 after getting sacked.

It came down to defense in a nail-biting fourth quarter.

Mike Neal's sack forced Matt Ryan to fumble, and defensive lineman Johnny Jolly scooped up the loose ball and celebrated with a little belly dance. Quarless scored four plays later.

''We needed to have fun. That's what we did today,'' Jolly said. ''We went out there and left everything that we had and made plays and had fun.''

MISSING OUT: It was 9 degrees when the game started, with a wind chill of minus-1. Still, the Falcons, who play home games at the Georgia Dome, didn't think the weather was a big factor.

Coach Mike Smith was more concerned about the missed opportunities.

Matt Bryant missed a 52-yard field goal attempt into the wind with 6:42 left. The Falcons got to the 33 with 2 minutes left, but Tony Gonzalez dropped a short pass from Ryan under tight coverage by Bush.

''We can't talk about one specific play that was the difference,'' Smith said. ''We had our chances to make some plays in all three phases and we didn't.''

Just another loss in a frustrating season for Atlanta.

TIGHT PLAYS: Found in the Packers offense: the tight ends.

Until Sunday, Green Bay didn't get much production from the position since Jermichael Finley sustained a season-ending neck injury in October.

Quarless (six catches, 66 yards) had his best day of the year, while Brandon Bostick (two catches, 28 yards) also got into the mix. The passing game had more diversity and didn't have to rely as much on receivers Jordy Nelson, James Jones and Jarrett Boykin.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

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Follow Genaro Armas at http://twitter.com/GArmasAP

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Reggie BushNov 22 05:32p

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle) is likely out for Week 12 and is targeting the Thanksgiving Day game Thursday, Nov. 27, to return.

Marcel ReeceNov 22 04:42p

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Arian FosterNov 22 04:22p

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (groin) is highly unlikely to suit up Sunday, Nov. 23, for Week 12.

Josh GordonNov 22 01:32p

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon was officially activated from the exempt/commissioner permission list Saturday, Nov. 22. In a subsequent move, the team waived LB Keith Pough.

A.J. JenkinsNov 22 12:42p

The Kansas City Chiefs have placed WR A.J. Jenkins (shoulder) on the Reserve/Injured list.

Charles ClayNov 21 05:52p

Miami Dolphins TE Charles Clay (knee) did not practice Friday, Nov. 21, and he is doubtful for Week 12 against the Denver Broncos. Clay suffered a setback in practice [ More ]

Arian FosterNov 21 05:32p

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (groin) did not practice Friday, Nov. 21, and is questionable for Week 12 against the Cincinnati Bengals. Head coach Bill O'Brien said Foster would [ More ]

Jason AvantNov 21 04:52p

The Kansas City Chiefs will sign free-agent WR Jason Avant (Panthers), according to a source. Avant worked out for the team Friday, Nov. 21.

Delanie WalkerNov 21 03:32p

Updating a previous report, Tennessee Titans TE Delanie Walker (concussion) fully participated in practice Friday, Nov. 21, and is listed as probable for Week 12.

Larry FitzgeraldNov 21 03:12p

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald (knee) is considered a game-time decision for Week 12, according to head coach Bruce Arians.

Adrian PetersonNov 21 03:02p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's appeal hearing is scheduled to occur Dec. 2, and commissioner Roger Goodell will not be in charge of the hearing. Former NFL employee Harold [ More ]

Larry FitzgeraldNov 21 02:22p

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald (knee) was not participating during the media-access portion of practice Friday, Nov. 21. Fitzgerald was working on the side during that part of practice.

Delanie WalkerNov 21 02:22p

Tennessee Titans TE Delanie Walker (concussion) has passed his concussion test and is good to go in Week 12 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Giovani BernardNov 21 02:12p

Cincinnati Bengals RB Giovani Bernard (hip, clavicle) fully participated in practice Friday, Nov. 21, and is probable for Week 12.

Julius ThomasNov 21 02:12p

Denver Broncos TE Julius Thomas (ankle) is listed as questionable for Week 12 against the Miami Dolphins after putting in a limited practice Friday, Nov. 21.

Emmanuel SandersNov 21 02:02p

Denver Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders (concussion) practiced in full Friday, Nov. 21, and is probable for Week 12 against the Miami Dolphins, according to head coach John Fox.

Julius ThomasNov 21 01:52p

Denver Broncos TE Julius Thomas (ankle), who appeared limited during practice Friday, Nov. 21, figures to be a game-time decision against the Miami Dolphins in Week 12. Thomas said [ More ]

Dwayne AllenNov 21 01:32p

Indianapolis Colts TE Dwayne Allen (ankle) has been ruled out for Week 12 against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Jonas GrayNov 21 01:22p

New England Patriots RB Jonas Gray (undisclosed) was a no-show at practice Friday, Nov. 21.

Jordan ReedNov 21 01:12p

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Emmanuel SandersNov 21 01:12p

Denver Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders (concussion) is participating in practice Friday, Nov. 21.

Adrian PetersonNov 21 11:02a

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Latavius MurrayNov 21 10:32a

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LeGarrette BlountNov 21 10:32a

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Jeremy HillNov 21 10:02a

Cincinnati Bengals RB Jeremy Hill will be the leader in a 65-35 split of the carries with RB Giovani Bernard in Week 12, in the opinion of beat writer Paul Dehner Jr.

Emmanuel SandersNov 20 07:42p

Denver Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders (concussion) has done conditioning work and will be evaluated again Friday, Nov. 21.

Eric KushNov 20 07:03p

The Kansas City Chiefs have declared WR A.J. Jenkins, QB Aaron Murray, CB Christopher Owens, WR Donnie Avery, C Eric Kush, CB Jamell Fleming, OT Laurent Duvernay-Tardif inactive for Week 12.

Matt McGloinNov 20 07:03p

The Oakland Raiders have declared CB Carlos Rogers, TE David Ausberry, OG Gabe Jackson, SS Jonathan Dowling, QB Matt McGloin, OG Tony Bergstrom, CB Travis Carrie inactive for Week 12.

Charles ClayNov 20 06:42p

Miami Dolphins TE Charles Clay (knee) did not practice Thursday, Nov. 20, after being limited Wednesday, Nov. 19.

Tauren PooleNov 20 06:42p

The New Orleans Saints released RB Tauren Poole Thursday, Nov. 20.

Jordan CameronNov 20 06:12p

Cleveland Browns TE Jordan Cameron (concussion) did not practice for the second straight day Thursday, Nov. 20.

Arian FosterNov 20 05:52p

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (groin) did not practice Thursday, Nov. 20, after being limited the previous day.

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