Mike Florio at profootballtalk.com writes about the difference between the Atlanta Falcons and the Green Bay Packers after yesterday’s domination:
“Widely regarded as the best young quarterback in the game, the man known as Matty Ice [Matt Ryan] goes liquid-nitrogen cold when it counts the most. Two years ago, a superior Falcons team lost in Arizona during the wild-card round. This year, with a 13-3 record and the top seed in the NFC playoff field, the Falcons and Ryan were dismantled by a Packers team that suddenly looks a lot like the Super Bowl favorite that so many thought they would be before the season.”
“Said [Green Bay quarterback Aaron] Rodgers after the game, to Pam Oliver of FOX: “To be able to put up that kind of performance as an offense, it’s incredible.”
“It was the kind of spanking that the top seed in a division-round game is supposed to periodically administer to the visiting team. Instead, it was the worst loss by the NFC’s top seed in the division round since 1987, when the Vikings shocked the 49ers in San Francisco, 36-24.”
Basically, Florio is saying that the Falcons are a good team but that they don’t have the intestinal fortitude to do it when it counts. The Packers, on the other hand, rose to the occasion for the third week in a row.
Merril Hoge and Trent Dilfer at ESPN totally agree and put it more bluntly than usual in this nice video breakdown of the game:
I’ve been writing one thing consistently since the season began in September – that the Bears are a high character team. Now, today, is when they really start to prove it. Tomorrow writers in Chicago and elsewhere will be characterizing the Bears one of two ways – like the Falcons or the Packers. The ability to create that distinction is in their hands and its in their hearts.