Falcons come through in clutch
ATLANTA — The Falcons found themselves in another tight game.
This time, they came through with the winning play.
After two excruciating losses, the Falcons rallied for a 33-32 victory over the Packers when Matt Ryan threw an 11-yard touchdown to Mohamed Sanu with 31 seconds remaining Sunday.
With Julio Jones shut down in the second half, Ryan turned to Sanu to bail out Atlanta. He caught five passes for 50 yards on the final possession, the last a touchdown pass in the back of the end zone after he got matched against linebacker Jake Ryan.
The Green Bay player didn't have a chance. Sanu raced past him and hauled in the pass right in front of the goalposts, the ball easily clearing Ryan's outstretched hands.
"We've got the greatest receiver in the NFL (in Jones), but we've got other great guys in that room, too," Sanu said. "When our number is called upon, we went out there to do what we do."
The Falcons were coming off a 26-24 loss at Seattle and a 33-30 overtime setback to San Diego in which they squandered a 17-point lead at home. Given what happened a year ago — Atlanta started 6-1, then lost six in a row and missed the playoffs — it was imperative to turn things around against the Packers. It didn't look good when Aaron Rodgers threw his fourth touchdown pass, putting the Packers ahead with 3:58 left.
"It's just finishing," Sanu said. "We didn't finish the last two weeks and we finished this week."
Sanu had nine catches for 84 yards, both season highs in his first year with the Falcons. Atlanta needed every one, since Jones was held to three catches for 29 yards and targeted only once in the second half — a dropped pass on the final possession.
"They don't call the guy Matty Ice for no reason," Sanu said of Ryan. "The guy has ice in his veins."
Packers receiver Geronimo Allison, a former Riverview High standout just promoted from the practice squad, got his first NFL catch and his first touchdown.
Two other Green Bay receivers — Trevor Davis and Jeff Janis — got their first career touchdowns, as well.
"That's our job, to go out and make plays regardless of who's in there," Allison said.