Dec 8, 2014 11:04 PM
Packers lead Falcons 34-17 after third quarter
The Associated Press
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) Eddie Lacy ran for a touchdown and caught one of two first-half scoring passes from Aaron Rodgers, and the Green Bay Packers led the Atlanta Falcons 34-17 after three quarters on Monday night.
Lacy wiggled from side to side to celebrate his 1-yard touchdown reception with 4:20 left in second quarter. The score was set up by safety Morgan Burnett's interception of Atlanta's Matt Ryan.
The Packers defense nearly got a second pick later in the quarter after tackle Letroy Guion tipped a Ryan pass while being double-teamed. The 315-pound Guion jumped back to try to get the ball off the rebound, but couldn't control it before it hit the ground.
The Falcons then punted two plays later, and the Packers were on their way to a 31-7 halftime lead.
Rodgers sidestepped his way out of a late blitz by Falcons defensive end Kroy Biermann, and then found Jordy Nelson in the back of the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown pass with 24 seconds left in the half.
Green Bay had outscored foes 167-44 before halftime coming into the night.
The Falcons got off to a fast start in the third, with Ryan finding Julio Jones for a 79-yard catch-and-run to the Packers 3. Ryan later hit Eric Weems over the middle on fourth down for a 5-yard touchdown pass.
The teams exchanged field goals later in the period.
At 9-3, the Packers were seeking a fifth straight win to stay a game ahead of Detroit atop the NFC North.
Lacy accounted for 67 yards on the ground to go with 33 yards receiving through three quarters. His 1-yard touchdown run on the first play of the second quarter was set up by a 5-yard scramble by Rodgers, who recovered his own fumble at the end of his run.
Defensive tackle Tyson Jackson was whistled for unnecessary roughness on Rodgers on the play. Officials had to separate players from both sides following a brief shouting match.
The Packers added a 38-yard field goal by Mason Crosby in second, and then capitalized on Burnett's interception and 32-yard return with Lacy's scoring grab.
Green Bay also scored on the game's opening drive on James Starks' 3-yard touchdown run. Atlanta countered quickly with a 4-yard TD run for Steven Jackson to cap a nine-play, 72-yard drive at 7:05 of the first quarter.
But Atlanta followed with four consecutive empty possessions. The Packers' Brad Jones finished off the first half by blocking Matt Bryant's 53-yard field goal attempt.
It wasn't the start envisioned by the Falcons, who were looking to claim sole possession of first place in the mediocre NFC South despite a 5-7 record.
Two defensive starters for Atlanta hobbled off the field in the first half. Safety William Moore departed in the first quarter with a foot injury, while tackle Paul Soliai left in the second quarter with what appeared to be a left shoulder injury. Their returns were questionable.
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