Packers vs. Falcons score: Aaron Rodgers goes off, Julio Jones exits early as Green Bay rolls over Atlanta

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The Atlanta Falcons experienced heartbreak in back-to-back games leading up to Monday night's Week 4 showdown with the Green Bay Packers, but they may have experienced something even worse while falling victim to Aaron Rodgers in prime time: Confirmation that they are among the worst teams in the NFL through the first quarter of the 2020 campaign. Decimated by injuries as well as their own defensive ineptitude, the Falcons didn't finish Monday's showdown with star wideout Julio Jones, who left early after aggravating a hamstring issue, but they did finish it with a fourth straight loss -- this one courtesy of Rodgers, who was nearly flawless in another MVP-caliber performance alongside a breakout game for tight end Robert Tonyan en route to a 30-16 rout.

Here are some immediate takeaways from the Packers' big win in prime time:

Why the Packers won

As has often been the case early in 2020, Aaron Rodgers absolutely had his way. And then some. Picking apart a decimated Atlanta secondary, No. 12 made yet another strong case to be an MVP front-runner with one wide-open strike after another. He was so good, capitalizing on virtually every opportunity afforded him by the Falcons "D," that it was easy to forget Green Bay didn't have either Davante Adams or Allen Lazard on the field. Side note: What do you think Jordan Love is worth on the trade market? Kidding, but Rodgers is on fire, and that continued Monday. The trio of Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams and Robert Tonyan stepped up big time to offset the absence of Adams, meanwhile, utilizing ridiculously open space to keep Green Bay comfortably in front all night. Defensively, the Pack were solid enough, too, getting some pressure on Matt Ryan but, more importantly, holding up in a defensive backfield without Chandon Sullivan and Darnell Savage for various stretches.

The Chiefs and Packers won again and there's a lot to go over. John Breech, Ryan Wilson and host Will Brinson break down the two Monday games on the Pick Six Podcast; listen below and be sure to subscribe for daily NFL goodness.

Why the Falcons lost

It's the same reason Aaron Rodgers looked like he was playing a JV team: Dan Quinn's defense was -- and is -- utterly in shambles. Injuries are part of the equation, no doubt, with the secondary, in particular, hit hard. But there's no reason a Packers offense cut down on some of its own starters should've averaged a first down every two plays. Atlanta almost always looked out of position, out of energy, or both. And let's not sugarcoat it: The offense wasn't much better. Again, injuries played a part, with Julio Jones forced off the field after one half of gutting it out at, what, 75 percent? But you're telling us Matt Ryan, Todd Gurley, Calvin Ridley and the rest of the gang aren't capable of more? It shouldn't be surprising, but they looked more desperate than comfortable in far too many important situations, including in the fourth quarter with an 0-4 start staring them right in the face.

Turning point

Third down. Just under two minutes to go in the first half. Falcons down by 10. And Matt Ryan gets sacked on a third-and-short, confirming a three-and-out right after an 11-play, 75-yard Packers TD drive. The momentum stays right with Green Bay, and the Pack proceed to march another 50 yards in 51 seconds, with Rodgers hitting Tonyan on a score to go up 20-3 right before halftime. The Falcons did pull things a bit closer early in the second half, but by that point, the deficit had already been built up too much.

Play of the game

The Falcons were so bad on defense that pretty much all of the Packers' big plays were wide-open breaks, but Robert Tonyan's third TD of the night was especially charming considering he somersaulted on his way to an easy score:

What's next

The Packers (4-0) will get some well-earned rest on their bye in Week 5, sitting comfortably and alone atop the NFC North through the first quarter of the season. The Falcons (0-4), meanwhile, have some serious soul-searching to do ahead of a divisional showdown with the Carolina Panthers (2-2), who are fresh off an upset of the Arizona Cardinals.

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Season Leaders

passing
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M. Ryan 4581 YD, 26 TDS, 11 INTS
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M. Ryan 4581 YD, 26 TDS, 11 INTS
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A. Rodgers 4299 YD, 48 TDS, 5 INTS
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A. Rodgers 4299 YD, 48 TDS, 5 INTS
rushing
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T. Gurley 195 ATT, 678 YD, 9 TDS
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T. Gurley 195 ATT, 678 YD, 9 TDS
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A. Jones 201 ATT, 1104 YD, 9 TDS
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A. Jones 201 ATT, 1104 YD, 9 TDS
receiving
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C. Ridley 90 REC, 1374 YD, 9 TDS
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C. Ridley 90 REC, 1374 YD, 9 TDS
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D. Adams 115 REC, 1374 YD, 18 TDS
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D. Adams 115 REC, 1374 YD, 18 TDS
Live updates
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@AtlantaFalcons via Twitter
October 6, 2020, 4:06 AM

So, the Packers are moving to 4-0, and they look like a contender in the NFC. The Falcons are 0-4, and you have to figure that Dan Quinn's seat is scalding hot.

October 6, 2020, 3:55 AM

Not much going for Atlanta here. Ryan under pressure. Taking throws under the zones. Not that there was any danger of them staging a miracle comeback anyway, but it's definitely not happening.

October 6, 2020, 3:54 AM

Falcons getting the ball back. Let's see if they can put together a garbage time drive.

October 6, 2020, 3:49 AM

This is looking like a pretty easy, comfortable with for the Packers, and without their No. 1 and 2 receivers and their best defensive player (Kenny Clark). Very impressive.

October 6, 2020, 3:46 AM
@packers via Twitter
October 6, 2020, 3:44 AM

How is Robert Tonyan that wide open? He has three touchdowns tonight!

October 6, 2020, 3:43 AM

Ryan finally tries to go for Calvin Ridley and Adrian Amos comes over to make a great play to knock it away. Ryan's got to throw that away from the defender instead of having Ridley come back for it.

October 6, 2020, 3:40 AM

Zacchaeus has had a nice game on a night where the Falcons' top four passing game options are either injured (Julio) or invisible (Ridley, Gage, Hurst).

October 6, 2020, 3:36 AM

Hopefully that knee/leg injury for Rodgers is nothing serious. It didn't look good but it also didn't look that bad.

October 6, 2020, 3:32 AM

All day for Rodgers to throw on third-and-2 but nobody pops open. And the Falcons give up a free first down with a penalty. Carter has had a rough night, but it's tough to be a practice squad guy/fourth-stringer forced into action against Aaron Rodgers.

October 6, 2020, 3:29 AM

How many times is that flat route to the running back going to be wide open tonight? At a certain point the Falcons have to do SOMETHING differently, you'd think.

October 6, 2020, 3:23 AM

Hey nice block by Matt Ryan! Also why did the end of that drive take 2:08 off the clock? Zero urgency from Atlanta.

October 6, 2020, 3:19 AM
@packers via Twitter
October 6, 2020, 3:19 AM

Do the Falcons know they're down three scores? Why are they going so slow???

October 6, 2020, 3:18 AM

The Falcons get bailed out by the Packers taking a couple penalties on fourth-and-6. Za'Darius Smith got called for a weak-ish roughing the passer, but it would have been a first down on the illegal contact anyway.

October 6, 2020, 3:12 AM
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