Green Bay Packers beat sliding Atlanta Falcons 34-20, 1st win under Joe Philbin
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — A tough week for the Green Bay Packers ended with a sorely needed win that relied on a familiar formula.
They beat a warm-weather team on a chilly afternoon at Lambeau Field by building a big lead and winning the turnover margin.
Aaron Rodgers threw two touchdown passes and set an NFL record for interception-free football, and the Packers beat the Atlanta Falcons 34-20 on Sunday to win their first game under interim head coach Joe Philbin.
Aaron Jones ran for a 29-yard score in the third quarter. The defense forced two turnovers — their first takeaways in three games — and limited quarterback Matt Ryan after a game-opening touchdown drive to hand Atlanta its fifth straight loss and guarantee the Falcons a losing record for the first time since 2014.
The Packers (5-7-1) regained some swagger with Philbin taking over for the fired Mike McCarthy. They've still got work to do to avoid a losing record, but at least Green Bay snapped a three-game losing streak.
"It was an emotional week, we all know that. I feel very happy for the organization, players and staff that work so hard to make this a unique place," Philbin said. "I told the team I was very proud to be their head coach today."
In return, the team gave the game ball to Philbin.
"He's a great man. I love Joe. I love everything that he's about, and it was a lot of fun," said receiver Randall Cobb, who caught a 24-yard touchdown pass with 12:44 left in the third quarter to make it 27-7.
That pass also turned out to be momentous for other reasons for Rodgers, giving him 359 consecutive attempts without an interception to break the league record previously held by New England's Tom Brady (358 in 2010-11).
Rodgers finished 21 of 32 for 196 yards and two scores. Linebacker Deion Jones had a couple chances to snap Rodgers' interception streak, but couldn't hang on either time.
"You need a little bit of good fortune when you have a streak like that," Rodgers said.
The Falcons (4-9) had trouble keeping up after their first series. When they did, they hurt themselves with eight defensive penalties.
"It's definitely frustrating, maddening, disbelief, all of those things when we don't execute on those," coach Dan Quinn said.
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