Ranking All 6 Games Aaron Rodgers Has Played Against the Atlanta Falcons
Aaron Rodgers will face off against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday for the seventh time in his career. To say he’s been superb in his career against the Falcons is an understatement; he’s averaged 332 passing yards and has a sparkling 122.2 quarterback rating, his personal best against any other team in the NFC.
It’s been almost nine years since Rodgers threw an interception against the Falcons, and that lone interception came in the quarterback’s fifth career start.
Altogether, the Packers and Falcons have matched up for some intense contests since head coach Mike McCarthy and Rodgers began wreaking havoc on the NFL.
Let’s rank Rodgers’ six performances against the Falcons:
1. Packers 48, Falcons 21 (1/15/2011, NFC Divisional Round)
Aaron Rodgers: 31-36, 366 yards, 4 TDs (3 passing, 1 rushing), 136.8 quarterback rating
History is written by the winners, the old saying goes. And because the Packers have been winners for much of Aaron Rodgers’ tenure, it’s easy to forget how criticized he was prior to the team’s Super Bowl XLV victory.
In his greatest performance with the Packers, Rodgers was 10-for-10 on third down and recorded the fifth-highest completion percentage (86.1) in postseason history. His rushing touchdown also provided us with a rare sighting of the discount double-check.
But before the game and throughout the season, many were extremely critical of Rodgers.
Green Bay had narrowly made the playoffs, and Rodgers was a victim of his defense letting him down at the end of games.
A few months before the season began, a senior NFL writer from Bleacher Report said of Rodgers, “[he] is a more athletic, more effective version of former Buffalo and Jacksonville quarterback Rob Johnson.”
While Tebow-mania was sweeping the country around the same time, legendary hot take machine Skip Bayless tweeted, “You’d better believe I’m taking Tebow over [Rodgers] in last 2 [minutes].”
In the 2010 season, the Packers’ six losses came by a combined 20 points. The leaky defense was held together by Rodgers, who never allowed the Packers to trail by more than seven points during the season.
We know Rodgers now to be one of the top quarterbacks to have ever played the position. The postseason run before Super Bowl XLV helped change the narrative on Rodgers from overrated to all-time great.
2. Falcons 20, Packers 17 (11/28/2010)
Aaron Rodgers: 26-35, 344 yards, 2 TDs (1 passing, 1 rushing), 114.5 quarterback rating
Months before the Packers decimated the Falcons in the postseason, Green Bay came up just short against a team destined for the top seed in the NFC and home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
A bullet pass to Jordy Nelson tied the game at 17-17 with under a minute left, but the Packers special teams collapsed. Eric Weems returned the ensuing kick 40 yards, but a facemask penalty on the Packers gave Atlanta the ball on the Green Bay 49 yard line. It was the costliest of the five penalties called on Green Bay’s special teams.
Matt Ryan played his best contest against the Packers, completing 24-of-28 passes for 198 yards and a touchdown, and easily drove the Falcons down for a game-winning field goal. The kick went through, and the Packers were on the wrong end of a three point loss. Ryan improved to 19-1 at home as a starting quarterback.
3. Packers 24, Falcons 14 (10/9/2011)
Aaron Rodgers: 26-39, 396 yards, 2 TDs, 117.0 quarterback rating
The defending Super Bowl champion Packers returned to the Georgia Dome nine months after their dominant performance against the Falcons in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.
The Falcons, who entered the game with a 2-2 record, jumped out to a 14-0 lead on Sunday Night Football, but Rodgers stayed hot and threw for nearly 400 yards to push the Packers to 5-0 on the season.
2011’s Packers season is forgotten because of the team’s disappointing postseason performance, but it was also the peak of Aaron Rodgers’ powers. With the score 14-9, Rodgers connected with wide receiver James Jones on a 70-yard touchdown.
With two consecutive victories against the Falcons in the Georgia Dome, nose tackle B.J. Raji declared after the game, “We're just a better team than they are.” The truth hurts.
4. Falcons 33, Packers 32 (10/30/2016)
Aaron Rodgers: 28-38, 246 yards, 4 TDs, 125.5 quarterback rating
The most recent addition this budding rivalry went right down to the wire and ignited another wave of criticism on the Packers’ quarterback. After Matt Ryan connected with Mohamed Sanu for an 11-yard touchdown, Rodgers took over with 0:31 left at his own 25 with two timeouts.
Following the game, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel scribe Bob McGinn penned a piece where he wrote, “For as outstanding a career as Aaron Rodgers has enjoyed, the preponderance of statistical weight shows he hasn’t been successful in the clutch when compared to his peers.”
Ironically, Rodgers was faced with almost the exact same scenario months later against the Cowboys in the Divisional Round. He started the game’s final drive with 0:35 left at his own 25 with two timeouts.
5. Packers 43, Falcons 37 (12/8/2014)
Aaron Rodgers: 24-36, 327 yards, 3 TDs, 123.3 quarterback rating
The NFC Championship Game is expected to be a shootout. Vegas odds started with the over/under at 60.5, a record for a championship game or Super Bowl. [An over/under bet is when you add both team’s score up at the end of the game. If you picked the “over,” and the final score is greater than 60.5, you win.]
The recent history of shootouts between these two teams can be traced back to this Monday Night Football contest at Lambeau Field. In the tail end of his second MVP campaign, Rodgers was excellent. But running back Eddie Lacy stole the show with over 100 total yards, including this vintage moment:
The game tightened up after the Packers took a 31-7 halftime lead. Falcons receiver Julio Jones caught a then career-high 259 yards despite a hip injury that kept him sidelined during the game’s crucial moments. The Falcons moved within six points with just over two minutes left, but the Packers recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock.
The NFC North leading Packers improved to 10-3 while the Falcons fell to 5-8, but still remained tied for the lead in a dreadful NFC South.
6. Falcons 27, Packers 24 (10/5/2008)
Aaron Rodgers: 25-37, 313 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT, 109.4 quarterback rating
The fifth career start for Aaron Rodgers was the also his first home game without a national audience. The Falcons had their own young quarterback in rookie Matt Ryan, who notched the first of his 33 game-winning drives.
Rodgers played through a sprained shoulder that kept him out of practice for the majority of the week. Late in the game, he appeared to be wincing after some of his throws. One year removed from Brett Favre and his iron man consecutive starting streak, there was a lot of pressure on the newcomer to play, and to play well.
He did throw for over 300 yards and three touchdowns, but a shorthanded Packers defense was unable to contain Ryan and running back Michael Turner. Green Bay was missing three defensive starters – lineman Cullen Jenkins, cornerback Al Harris, and safety Atari Bigby – and cornerback Charles Woodson was playing through a broken toe.
It was the third consecutive loss for a Packers team struggling to find their identity in a post-Brett Favre Green Bay. "Our house is messy right now. Nobody's happy about it and we'll continue to work,” head coach Mike McCarthy said after the game.
Bonus: Packers 22, Falcons 21 (12/8/2013)
Aaron Rodgers: DNP, recovering from a broken collarbone
The week before this game was arguably the lowest point in over 20 years for Packers fans. The team was yet to win a game since Aaron Rodgers’ collarbone injury, their playoff hopes were thin, and suddenly no one wanted to go to a game at a chilly Lambeau Field.
Despite Matt Flynn’s late-game heroics against the Vikings a week before, the Packers mustered a lousy tie. Green Bay was 5-6-1 and facing a 3-9 Falcons team one year removed from their last NFC Championship Game appearance.
Ticket prices for Lambeau Field for a regular season game reached rock bottom, as the weather called for snow flurries. A friend of mine went to the game and forgot his ticket in his car. Instead of going back for it, he bought one from a vendor on the street for $20. Sure, it was lazy, but that’s a sight that’s rarely seen in Green Bay.
Flynn, who started his first game of the season after taking over for Scott Tolzien, threw for 258 yards with a touchdown and a bizarre interception that bounced off of a Falcons player’s foot:
Atlanta held a 21-10 halftime advantage, but a pair of Mason Crosby field goals narrowed the deficit to 21-16. Early in the fourth quarter, Packers tight end Andrew Quarless grabbed a two-yard touchdown from Flynn. The Green Bay defense stopped Atlanta on fourth down late in the fourth quarter to win the game.