GREEN BAY–The Packers cling to NFC North title hope following a 22-21 win over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday at frigid Lambeau Field.
Trailing by five points, the Packers’ maligned defense forced a Matt Ryan fumble (Mike Neal) and Johnny Jolly recovered the loose ball at the Falcons 21-yard line. Four plays later, Matt Flynn threw to Andrew Quarless for two yards and a go-ahead touchdown. Flynn’s two-point pass attempt was incomplete, and the Packers led, 22-21, early in the fourth quarter.
The snow was at its hardest when the Falcons took possession. Ryan completed a 15-yard pass to Harry Douglas for a first down at the Packers 43.
Steven Jackson converted a third-and-one from the Packers 34, but the defense held on two downs and the Falcons faced a third-and-12. Ryan’s attempted screen pass was incomplete and the Falcons attempted a 52-yard field goal. It was short of the mark and the Packers had the lead and the ball with 6:42 to play in the game.
Tim Masthay’s punt pinned the Falcons inside their 20-yard line with 4:38 to play.
A screen pass gained 15 and Atlanta was on the move. Ryan followed with a strike over the middle to Tony Gonzalez for 16 yards to the Falcons’ 49.
Jackson gained four yards and Ryan threw to Jackson for nine yards and a first down at the Packers’ 38 with 3:13 to play.
The Falcons faced a third-and-nine just outside Matt Bryant’s field goal range. Following a time out, Ryan threw a screen pass to the Packers’ 33 at the two-minute warning. Would Falcons Coach Mike Smith have Bryant attempt another long field goal, or go for the sticks on fourth-and-five?
Ryan’s pass for Tony Gonzalez was incomplete, the Packers defense killed the final 44 seconds and the Packers’ playoff hopes remained alive.
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