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Falcons D must Replicate Game Plan in Super Bowl

All the talk was about the Atlanta Falcons’ high-octane offense in Sunday’s NFC Championship demolition of the Green Bay Packers, but the Dirty Birds’ much-maligned defense came out fast and fearless against Aaron Rodgers. A similar game plan against Tom Brady will be pivotal to the franchise earning its first Super Bowl.

Rodgers had no answer for a furious Falcons’ pass rush that significantly cut down his decision-making time in the pocket and prevented the miracle plays that only quarterbacks like he and Brady can pull off. Wary of Rodgers’ ridiculous stats when throwing on the move, too many teams opted for a “softer” blitzing approach, aimed at sealing off rushing lanes within the pocket and keeping him from escaping outside.

Aaron’s response to that game plan? Congratulations, you played yourself. The Green Bay QB was all too happy to stand tall in the pocket and shred opposing secondaries behind arguably the best pass protecting line in the league.

The Falcons couldn’t limit the damage entirely – Rodgers’ escape to his right followed by a zooming cross-body pass to the middle of the field was one of the season’s most impressive throws – but it was certainly enough to keep the Pack playing catch-up behind Atlanta’s barrage of firepower on offense.

Now Brady is not the athletic specimen Rodgers is, but other teams throughout the playoffs have shown that generating interior pressure early and often is the blueprint to success against the Pats.

The Denver defense of last season pummelled Brady into submission in last year’s conference championship. The Texans followed suit in this year’s divisional round, and would’ve been a lot more competitive if they boasted anything close to a starting NFL offense. Brady completed less than 50% of his passes for a 1:1 TD-INT ratio in the win, which is about as poor a showing as can be expected from Tom Terrific in the playoffs.

Atlanta has just over a week to work out how to disrupt New England’s air game without resorting exclusively to blitzes. If they can crack the code, you might as well hand them the Lombardi right now.

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