The Atlanta Falcons were pumped up when Arthur Smith told his offense, “We’re going for it on fourth down.”
The goal of Bijan Robinson and his blockers was to make the correct decision.
The Atlanta Falcons rallied for a 25-24 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, with Robinson’s 7-yard run on fourth-and-1 on the final play of the game setting up Younghoe Koo’s 25-yard field goal with 57 seconds left.
Despite the fact that running backs aren’t supposed to go that high in the draft anymore, he rushed for 124 yards on 19 runs and added another 48 yards with four receptions, proving why the Falcons (2-0) took him with the eighth overall pick.
The fourth-down conversion occurred with 2:08 remaining and the Falcons in field-goal range at the Green Bay 23. Smith made the decision to take a chance because he didn’t want to give the Packers enough time to drive for their own field goal.
With three more touchdown passes from Love, who has now thrown six touchdown passes in his first two games as Aaron Rodgers’ substitute, the Packers (1-1) wasted a 24-point advantage.
With just under 12 minutes left, Desmond Ridder, the rookie quarterback for Atlanta, ignited the comeback by bootlegging for a 6-yard touchdown on fourth-and-4.
Then, two of Koo’s four field goals, including a 39-yarder with 8:13 left, were set up by drives including Ridder and Robinson.
In his NFL debut, Robinson outgained the Panthers 24-10 while gaining 56 yards on the ground and 27 yards through the air.
As against the Packers, he performed even better, according to a football analyst.
Given the injury-depleted offense around him, Love completed 14 of 25 passes for 151 yards and connected with two rookies on three touchdowns. Not bad, really.
The Falcons became 2-0 for just the 11th time in franchise history when the Packers offense fizzled out in the fourth quarter.
The Packers managed just 11 yards and no first downs in their final three possessions, and Love was unable to complete any of his six throws.
With 211 rushing yards and 446 total yards, the Falcons battered Green Bay into submission. Just 224 yards, including 84 on the ground, were gained by the Packers.
The Packers fared significantly better during the opening three quarters.
Jayden Reed, a second-round pick, scored his first touchdowns of his brief career when Love connected with him for receptions of 10 and 9 yards.
On a 32-yard score, Dontayvion Wicks, a fifth-round draft pick, also received Love, scoring his first professional touchdown.
Love had to play behind a piecemeal offensive line since the Packers were playing without three injured offensive starters and lost a fourth during the contest.
Prior to the Falcons shine, they were crushed by The Steelers who dominated the game 24-0 in the last preseason game for both teams. Pickett directed two touchdown drives and demonstrated that he and the Pittsburgh starters are prepared for big games.
In his brief but effective playing time, Pickett completed 4 of 4 passes for 86 yards to cap the only drives he directed. Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren also scored on the ground to finish the drives. With Pickett at the helm, the Steelers (3-0) scored touchdowns on each of their five preseason drives.
“I think it’s proof that the hard work we put in paid off in the preseason,” Pickett said.
Tomlin claimed that Smith holding out his starters had no bearing on his decision to continue with Pickett and other offensive starters for two series.
“I don’t care what the Joneses do,” Tomlin said. “We’re going to do what we do.”
Before Harris scored from the one on the first possession, the second-year quarterback completed throws of 33 yards to Diontae Johnson and 35 yards to George Pickens. Pickens, a former star at the University of Georgia, reached up for the sideline catch inside the 5 despite Natrone Brooks of the Falcons giving him close coverage.
“They’re both great players,” said Pickett of Johnson and Pickens. “I wanted to make sure I did my part and put the ball out there for them.”
Before Warren scored on an 8-yard run to end Pittsburgh’s second possession, Pickett had a 16-yard pass to Harris.
When pitted against Pittsburgh’s first-team groups, Atlanta’s reserves were outclassed on both sides of the ball. Smith emphasized that he will go into the regular season with confidence despite this.
“I feel the team has got an impressive feel to it in all phases,” Smith said, adding the Steelers’ big plays early in the game and a Falcons late red-zone turnover made for “a bad recipe.”
On Atlanta’s opening drive, backup quarterback Taylor Heinicke was sacked by T.J. Watt for a loss of 7 yards as quarterback Desmond Ridder watched from the sidelines. On Atlanta’s opening snap, linebacker Elandon Roberts dropped running back Godwin Igwebuike, costing the team 4 yards.
After two drives led to a 14-0 advantage, Pickett was replaced by Mitch Trubisky. On Pittsburgh’s third possession, backup running back Anthony McFarland Jr. produced a 31-yard run that led to Chris Boswell’s 38-yard field goal attempt.
In the second quarter, a 5-yard scoring run by McFarland increased the margin to 24-0.
With about two minutes left in the half, Pittsburgh made its first punt.
When Steelers free safety Kenny Robinson recovered a fumble by Falcons running back Carlos Washington Jr. at Pittsburgh’s 8-yard line in the third quarter, the Falcons (1-1-1) missed a chance to score.
As the third quarterback on the Falcons roster, behind Ridder and Heinicke, Logan Woodside made one more effort to make the team. In the second quarter, Woodside took over and played the remainder of the game, completing 24 of 31 passes for 196 yards. He received four dismissals.
“I thought he played well,” Smith said.
Late in the game, linebacker Quincy Roche struck Woodside, causing him to fumble. For Pittsburgh, Toby Ndukwe made a comeback at the Atlanta 25.