Atlanta Falcons (5-3) 33, Green Bay Packers (4-3) 32
Sunday October 30th 2016 (at Atlanta)
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) cross the goal line on a two-point conversion in the fourth quarter (Wm. Glasheen/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wis)
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Mohamed Sanu (12) catches a touchdown pass that puts them ahead (Rick Wood /USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin)
future up in the air after coach John Fox wavered in his commitment to him as the starter, he made a triumphant return. Cutler completed 20 of 31 passes, including an 11-yard touchdown to Jeffery early in the third that made it 20-3. Whether he quieted fans who thought the Bears were better off with Brian Hoyer is another issue. But that became a moot point when Hoyer broke his left arm last week in a Thursday night loss at Green Bay. Howard had a 69-yard run, the longest for Chicago in seven years. Zach Miller added 88 yards receiving as the Bears stopped a three-game losing streak. Bradford, playing behind a porous line, had another rough game after getting sacked six times the previous week against Philadelphia. He was 23 of 37 for 228 yards. Matt Asiata ran for 42 yards with Jerick McKinnon sidelined by an ankle injury. With a sparse and quiet crowd looking on, the Bears led 13-3 at halftime. It was almost a bigger advantage, but Chicago settled for field goals on its first two trips inside the 20. Howard, a fifth-round draft pick, broke off a 69-yard run to the 13 on Chicago's first possession. It was the longest rushing play for the Bears since Kahlil Bell's 72-yarder against Philadelphia on Nov. 22, 2009. But instead of a touchdown, the Bears got a field goal from Connor Barth. They got another field goal early in the second after Xavier Rhodes broke up a pass to Jeffery in the end zone on third down at the 10. Chicago finally broke through midway through the second quarter when Howard scored on a 2-yard run to make it 13-0. The Vikings drove to the Bears' 2 in the final minute of the half. But Akiem Hicks hit Bradford for a 10-yard sack on third down, leading to a 30-yard field goal by Blair Walsh.
NFC NORTH DIVISION STANDINGS
Minnesota    5   2   0   .714   139  104
GREEN BAY    4   3   0   .571   172  156
Detroit      4   4   0   .500   183  190
Chicago      2   6   0   .250   131  179
GAME RECAP (UPI)
(ATLANTA) - Matt Ryan's late-game quarterback magic, missing the past two games in narrow losses by the Atlanta Falcons, resurfaced Sunday. Ryan hit wide receiver Mohamed Sanu in the end zone for an 11-yard touchdown with 31 seconds remaining, and Matt Bryant's extra point gave the Falcons a 33-32 victory over the Green Bay Packers. "They don't call him 'Matt Ice' for nothing," said Sanu, who left Cincinnati to sign as a free agent with the Falcons during the winter. "He has ice in his veins." The nickname was in question, though, after late interceptions the previous two weeks against Seattle and San Diego had proven costly. This time the Falcons drove 75 yards in 11 plays for the victory after the Packers went ahead with just under four minutes left on a 7-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers to Jeff Janis and Rodgers' two-point conversion run. "It was one of those back-and-forth games and this time we finished," said Sanu, who had nine catches. "The last two games, we didn't." Ryan, going over 200 yards for a NFL-record 47th consecutive game, completed 28 of 35 passes for 288 yards and three touchdowns as the Falcons (5-3) ended a four-game, head-to-head losing streak to the Packers (4-3). "We had a match-up we liked on the linebacker and (Sanu) stayed patient on the rout," Ryan said of the winning throw. "He's a big body who is excellent in the red zone. I saw an opportunity to give him a high ball and he came down with his feet in." Rodgers was 28 of 38 for 246 yards and four touchdowns, and he also ran for a team-best 60 yards on six scrambles. He couldn't get the Packers within range for a field-goal attempt in the final seconds, though. "We needed a win like this," said Falcons defensive end Adrian Clayborn, who had two of the Falcons' three sacks. "We didn't need a blowout. We needed a game like this to show that we could win it." It was a game of long drives, the Packers going 86 yards on 13 plays in the fourth quarter to take the lead after the Falcons went 80 yards in 14 plays to go up 26-24 in the third quarter, that march climaxed by Devonta Freeman's 1-yard touchdown run. The Packers were shorthanded on offense and defense because of injuries, but almost pulled out a victory anyway. "First, there are no excuses," Rodgers said. "I'm proud of our guys. I'm proud of the way everyone battled. This is an important time for us to stick together and figure out what we have to do to go on a run." "I'd like to get back to the no huddle, we have a quarterback who is exceptional at it," said coach Mike McCarthy, who at the moment doesn't have the healthy personnel to use it. "We're playing everyone we have." The Packers led 24-19 at intermission. Rodgers completed 17 of 21 passes for 170 yards and three touchdowns before the break. He also scrambled 23 yards to spark a quick-strike drive that resulted in Mason Crosby's 29-yard field goal on the last play of the half. The Falcons failed on a two-point attempt after Ryan's 5-yard touchdown pass to Freeman with 27 seconds remaining in the second quarter, but they left enough time for the Packers to add to their lead. Rodgers' first-half touchdown passes covered 5 yards to Jordy Nelson, 4 yards to Geronimo Allison and 9 yards to Trevor Davis, who set up the score with a 55-yard punt return. Ryan was 16 of 20 for 183 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, with the Falcons' opening score coming on a 47-yard bomb to Taylor Gabriel. Bryant kicked field goals of 36 and 40 yards in the first half, breaking the Falcons record of 806 career points set by Morten Andersen during his two stints with the team. NOTES: The Falcons lost TE Jacob Tamme to a shoulder injury on their opening possession. He was hurt when tackled after a 13-yard reception, his second catch. ... The Packers were without LB Clay Matthews (hamstring), WR Randall Cobb (hamstring) and WR/RB Ty Montgomery (illness). All had been listed as questionable on the injury report. ... CBs Quinten Rollins (groin) and Damarious Randall (groin), RB James Starks (knee) and TE Jared Cook (ankle) were previously declared out by the Packers. ... The Falcons were without RB Tevin Coleman (hamstring). ... Non-injury inactives for the Falcons included CB Jalen Collins and DT Ra'Shede Hageman, both former second-round draft picks. ... It was the first of four road games in five weeks for the Packers, who were coming off four straight home games. ... The Packers were the second straight Falcons opponent to have 10 days off before the game. ... The Falcons have a short week coming up, as they play at Tampa Bay on Thursday.
                         GREEN BAY       ATLANTA
First downs                     24            25
Rushes-yards                19-108         19-90
Net Passing yards              223           277
Passing (Att-Comp-Int)     38-28-0       35-28-0
Sacked-Yards Lost             3-23          2-11
Punts-Average               3-54.3        2-50.5
Fumbles                        1-0           0-0
Penalties-Yards               6-68          7-46
Time of Possession           31:17         28:43
GREEN BAY -  7  17   0   8 - 32
ATLANTA   - 10   9   7   7 - 33
1st - ATL - Matt Bryant, 36-yard field goal ATLANTA 3-0
1st - GB - Jordy Nelson, 5-yard pass from Aaron Rodgers (Mason Crosby kick) GREEN BAY 7-3
1st - ATL - Taylor Gabriel, 47-yard pass from Matt Ryan (Bryant kick) ATLANTA 10-7
2nd - GB - Geronimo Allison, 4-yard pass from Rodgers (Crosby play) GREEN BAY 14-10
2nd - ATL - Bryant, 40-yard field goal GREEN BAY 14-13
2nd - GB - Trevor Davis, 9-yard pass from Rodgers (Crosby kick) GREEN BAY 21-13
2nd - ATL - Devonta Freeman, 5-yard pass from Ryan (Run failed) GREEN BAY 21-19
2nd - GB - Crosby, 29-yard field goal GREEN BAY 24-19
3rd - ATL - Freeman, 1-yard run (Bryant kick) ATLANTA 26-24
4th - GB - Jeff Janis, 7-yard pass from Rodgers (Rodgers run) GREEN BAY 32-26
4th - ATL - Mohamed Sanu, 11-yard pass from Ryan (Bryant kick) ATLANTA 33-32
INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS
RUSHING
GREEN BAY - Aaron Rodgers 6-60, Aaron Ripowski 6-34, Don Jackson 4-10, Knile Davis 3-4
ATLANTA - Terron Ward 6-46, Devonta Freeman 11-35, Matt Ryan 2-9
PASSING
GREEN BAY - Aaron Rodgers 38-28-246 4 TD
ATLANTA - Matt Ryan 35-28-288 3 TD
RECEIVING
GREEN BAY - Davante Adams 12-74, Jordy Nelson 4-94 1 TD, Jeff Janis 4-30 1 TD, Trevor Davis 3-24 1 TD, Geronimo Allison 2-21 1 TD, Knile Davis 2-4, Aaron Ripowski 1-(-1)
ATLANTA - Mohamed Sanu 9-84 1 TD, Austin Hooper 5-41, Devonta Freeman 4-23 1 TD, Taylor Gabriel 3-68 1 TD, Julio Jones 3-29, Jacob Tamme 2-19, Justin Hardy 1-13, Terron Ward 1-11
AROUND THE NFC NORTH - WEEK 8
Sunday October 30th
HOUSTON 20, Detroit 13 - Brock Osweiler bounced back from an ugly performance by throwing for 186 yards and a touchdown to help the Houston Texans remain perfect at home this season with a 20-13 win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday. The Texans (5-3) have lost all of their road games, including a 27-9 loss to Denver on Monday, but they've had no such trouble in Houston where they're 5-0 this season. Osweiler has struggled in his first season in Houston, but has been better at home where he's thrown eight of his nine touchdown passes. On Sunday, he gave the Texans a 7-0 lead on a 6-yard touchdown pass to C.J. Fiedorowicz in the second quarter. The Texans made it 14-0 when Lamar Miller bulled his way into the end zone from a yard out later in the quarter. That score was set up when DeAndre Hopkins used one hand to make a 12-yard reception. The Lions (4-4) cut the lead to seven when Theo Riddick connected with Matthew Stafford on a 1-yard touchdown reception early in the fourth quarter. Houston added a field goal after that before a 34-yard field goal by Matt Prater got Detroit back within a score. But Houston recovered an onside kick and ran out the clock to secure the victory. Stafford threw for 240 yards and a touchdown for Detroit, which had a three-game winning streak snapped as the Lions were unable to continue a string of late-game comebacks.
Monday October 31st
CHICAGO 20, Minnesota 10 - Jay Cutler threw for 252 yards and a touchdown after missing five games with a thumb injury, rookie Jordan Howard ran for a career-high 153 yards and a TD, and the Chicago Bears stunned the Minnesota Vikings 20-10 on Monday night. The Bears (2-6) sacked Sam Bradford five times while handing the NFC North-leading Vikings (5-2) their second straight loss. Cutler was on target in his return from a sprained right thumb. Howard easily surpassed his previous high of 118 yards. Alshon Jeffery got his first touchdown reception of the season, and Chicago outgained Minnesota 403 yards to 258. Cutler had not played since he exited against Philadelphia in the second game of the season. But with his
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Geronimo Allison (81) receives a touchdown pass from Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) (Rick Wood /USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin)