“That’s the first in five years for me,” linebacker Clay Matthews said. “But you’ve got to expect it.”
But it did not rattle them.
Neither did Matt Flynn's fluke interception that was deflected by defensive tackle Peria Jerry, bounced off of linebacker Paul Warrilow's right foot and into the hands of linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, who returned it 71 yards for a touchdown that gave the Falcons a 21-10 halftime lead.
“I told them it’s lonely being a warrior sometimes,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said.
“They make a huge play with the tipped interception for seven points, so it definitely has a chance to take some air out of your balloon,” McCarthy added. “But our guys didn’t blink and we played our best football in the second half. As a coach, that’s what you look for in your football team.”
The calming influence of Flynn helped, and after the 22-21 victory, they could laugh about it in the home locker room.
“Obviously, I need to work on my tackling,” said right guard T.J. Lang, who missed a chance to bring down Weatherspoon at the Packers’ 21-yard line. “It’s something that’s just one of those bad bounces that go against you. Acknowledged that at halftime and knew we were going to have to play mistake-free football in the second half, and that’s what we did.”
Flynn rebounded from a poor performance in the Thanksgiving blowout loss at Detroit to complete 24-of-32 passes for 258 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
McCarthy went back to the no-huddle offense, something he didn’t use at all against the Lions, and Flynn spread the ball around to eight different players. Although he was sacked five times -- some of which were the result of his indecisiveness -- and lost a fumble, Flynn played well enough to give the Packers their first win since Oct. 27, and their first since Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone on Nov. 4.
“The thing about Matt is he’s always very calm, and that’s great to have an in a guy that’s running your offense,” tight end Ryan Taylor said. “It’s great to have a guy in the huddle that’s even-keeled. Whether you’re down by 11 or you’re up by 1 and needing a first down to win the game, he’s always the same guy. It’s nice to have a guy like that in the huddle. It keeps everybody calm. It keeps everybody going.”