Comeback win over Falcons cause for concern

Najeh Davenport

If this were the regular season, the Packers' 27-21 win over Atlanta Saturday night would be called a happy ending.<P> Instead, the Packers will have to address the game's bad beginning.<p>

For the first 15 minutes, it was all Michael Vick. The Packer defense was unable to offer evidence that much has changed since Vick marched on the Packers in a devastating playoff loss last year.

Vick was 6-for-7 for 110 yards in one quarter of play. He led the Falcons on two touchdown drives, highlighted by a 43-yard TD pass to Brian Finneran.

Brett Favre played two series, going 4-for-7 for 32 yards. Doug Pederson played his projected single series, then the backup quarterback derby took center stage.

Craig Nall helped his chances by completing eight of 13 passes for 80 yards. Akili Smith, however, is probably not thrilled with his long-awaited debut. He was picked off by Recardo Wimbush and had another near miss.

Meanwhile, the Packer starters found themselves in a quick 21-3 hole, although the lineup has already been significantly altered by injury and ongoing recuperations. Green Bay was whistled offsides five times in the first half.

From the opening whistle, things went badly for Green Bay starters. Former Packer Allen Rossum returned the opening kickoff 49 yards to set up the first Atlanta touchdown. Minutes later, Warrick Dunn drove it in with a three yard run.

The news got worse as the first quarter wore on. Green Bay cornerback Bryant Westbrook was assisted off the field after injuring his right Achilles' tendon. He did not return.

Ryan Longwell got Green Bay on the board with a 40-yard field goal.

After that, the tide turned thanks to running back Najeh Davenport. The converted fullback scored on a 3-yard run late in the first half, then sparked a 17-point third quarter with a 4-yard TD run.

The Packers went ahead for good when Bobby Jackson pounced on a loose ball on the Falcons 2 and returned it for a touchdown with 2:49 left in the third quarter.

The Packer reserves put on a late stand to preserve the win. Atlanta was given first-and-goal at the Packers 1 after a pass interference call. Falcons' ight end Derek Rackley dropped a pass in the end zone and Green Bay's Jacoby Shepherd fell on the ball to seal the game.

One bright spot for Green Bay was free-agent return specialist Antonio Chatman, who looked good last week and even better Saturday night. He produced kick returns of 35, 29 and 21 yards.

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