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Falcons respect every aspect of Aaron Rodgers' game

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What do Falcons need to do to beat Packers? (1:43)

The NFL Insiders crew breaks down what the Falcons need to do to get a win over the Packers in the NFC Championship game. (1:43)

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Free safety Ricardo Allen didn't need to hear someone recite Aaron Rodgers' statistics to understand what the Atlanta Falcons are up against on Sunday.

Allen is well aware of the challenge the Green Bay Packers quarterback presents, particularly when Rodgers moves around. In two games this postseason, Rodgers is 14-of-17 for 220 yards with two touchdowns outside of the pocket, according to ESPN Statistics and Information research. During the regular season, he had 13 touchdown passes outside of the pocket, three of them coming in a 33-32 loss at Atlanta in Week 8.

Now Allen and the rest of the Falcons' defense will have the task of containing the two-time MVP Rodgers in the NFC Championship Game -- and a spot in the Super Bowl is on the line.

"You can't replicate what he does," Allen said of Rodgers. "It's not too many people in this world that can roll right or left and not have to set their feet and can deliver passes like he does. He's deadly in everything.

"He's fast enough to take off running and get first downs. He has a strong enough arm to deliver any ball anywhere. He's smart enough to be in the pocket and read every defense. He's just a beast in everything he does."

The Falcons played with confidence and physicality during last week's 36-20, divisional-playoff win over the Seattle Seahawks. They rattled Russell Wilson with pressure and stuffed the Seahawks' running game.

But the Falcons will have to turn up the intensity another notch against Rodgers, who has guided the Packers to eight straight victories after proclaiming they could run the table. And Rodgers doesn't even need top receiver Jordy Nelson to do his damage. Nelson is unlikely to play Sunday after taking a hit to the ribs against the New York Giants in the NFC wild-card game.

So how do the Falcons plan to slow down Rodgers?

"You just have to get out there and you've got to compete," Allen said. "You've got to make his wide receivers and running backs compete at the highest level. The balls are going to be thrown in a good spot. You just have to fight those guys to the ground. You've got to try and get some balls out here and there. Rodgers doesn't put it in a spot where most [defenders] can get balls. But if you do get an opportunity to catch one on him, you can't drop it."

Some defensive coaches would tell you to do everything possible to keep Rodgers in the pocket, but he excels there, too. Some would say blitz him from his right so he's forced to throw across his body while running left.

"Everybody blitzes him," Allen said. "He picks those blitzes up so fast because he knows everybody tries that. He sees that stuff. And his wide receivers are smart enough to sight-adjust."

When the Falcons edged Rodgers during the regular season, they sacked him three times as he threw for 246 yards and four touchdowns. Defensive end Adrian Clayborn recorded two of those sacks, but he was placed on injured reserve Tuesday with a torn biceps.

Seven-time Pro Bowl defensive end Dwight Freeney, who played through a quad tear during the first meeting with the Packers, once sacked Rodgers three times in a game while with the Arizona Cardinals. Filling all the rush lanes and containing Rodgers is key.

"It will be a tremendous challenge," Freeney said. "That team that we're going to be playing this week is a different team than we played whatever week it was that we played them (Oct. 30). They have a lot of experience in the playoffs. Aaron Rodgers is a guy that can do everything. He can throw the ball; he can run the ball. He can run the ball; he can throw the ball. He's a guy that's going to be a definite challenge for us.

"But it's not just him. It's just what they do over there. They do a great job of making crucial plays at crucial times."

Rodgers has become the master of the "Hail Mary" play, including one against Freeney and the Cardinals in last year's playoffs and one against the New York Giants in this year's wild-card round. He'll draw penalties for offsides with a hard count and ones for 12 men on the field by speeding up the tempo.

In other words, Rodgers is sure to test the discipline of a young Falcons defense that relies on four rookies and three second-year players. Plus, he'll have weapons such as receiver Randall Cobb, running back/receiver Ty Montgomery and tight end Jared Cook, who didn't play against the Falcons in Week 8.

"I've always watched him on T.V., and watching him on T.V. is different than seeing him in person," rookie linebacker De'Vondre Campbell said of Rodgers. "It's like, 'Man, he's just really a good football player.' He's a first-ballot Hall of Famer."