Rapid Reaction: Green Bay Packers

GREEN BAY, Wis. – A few thoughts on the Green Bay Packers22-21 victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday at Lambeau Field.

What it means: The Packers kept their playoff hopes alive and live to fight another day. They got back to .500 at 6-6-1. Their much-maligned defense pitched a shutout in the second half, and oft-criticized cornerback Jarrett Bush made two big fourth-quarter plays, including a game-clinching interception. The Packers won for the first time since quarterback Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone on Nov. 4 against the Chicago Bears.

Stock watch: The Packers have been looking for more production from their tight ends ever since Jermichael Finley sustained a season-ending neck injury in Week 7. They finally got it from Andrew Quarless, who had a career-high 66 yards receiving on six catches. He caught the go-ahead touchdown pass on a 2-yard back-shoulder fade with 12:01 left in the fourth quarter.

Wacky play: In perhaps one of the wackier plays of the season, quarterback Matt Flynn’s dump-off pass for fullback John Kuhn in the second quarter was tipped and kicked before Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon returned it 71 yards for a touchdown. Defensive tackle Peria Jerry deflected the pass before it bounced off the right foot of linebacker Paul Worrilow and into Weatherspoon’s hands. The play stunned the Lambeau Field crowd. The Packers did not appear to realize the ball was intercepted until well after Weatherspoon took off running. Guard T.J. Lang was the only one to have a chance to stop him, but Lang missed the tackle at the Packers’ 21-yard line, and the touchdown gave the Falcons a 21-10 lead.

Lacy’s production: Running back Eddie Lacy set two Packers rookie records on Sunday. His seventh rushing touchdown of the season broke Samkon Gado’s rookie record set in 2005, and he surpassed John Brockington’s mark of most carries by a rookie. Brockington had 216 in 1971. Lacy returned from a second-quarter ankle injury to rush for 65 yards on 20 carries.

What’s next: The Packers play at the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. Will Rodgers return? If not, the Packers appear likely to stick with Flynn.