ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Falcons bounced back from a two-game losing streak by defeating the Green Bay Packers 33-32 thanks to their prolific offense.
So what's the secret to the offense's success? They don't throw to the top receiver in the NFL, Julio Jones.
Well, let me clarify. They don't throw to Jones unless the defense completely forgets to cover him (that's you, Carolina Panthers).
The Packers didn't forget about Jones, who torched their defense in the last meeting in 2014. So this time the Packers were determined to takeaway Jones as a threat, double-teaming him on almost every play.
No matter, quarterback Matt Ryan found seven other receivers to throw to, including Mohamed Sanu-- who joined the team this year from Cincinnati-- who caught an 11-yard touchdown pass with seconds remaining in the game to give the Falcons the victory.
Ryan found Taylor Gabriel, who had a 47-yard touchdown catch for the Falcons first touchdown. Austin Hooper, who picked up the slack after tight end Jacob Tamme left the game in the first half with a shoulder injury, caught five passes for 41 yards and had the best game of his career.
Oh yeah, and don't forget about the running backs catching passes this season, too. Devonta Freeman nabbed a pass for a touchdown.
So what did Jones do? He had three catches for just 29 yards. And that stat line really isn't out of the ordinary for Jones this season. He only has two games this season with more than 100 receiving yards: Oakland, and the record 300-yard game against Carolina (seriously, how did you forget to cover him?)
How does Jones feel about this strategy?
"We need to just keep taking advantage of it. Defenses are going to try and do that and take me away. The offense is going to be explosive. We just got to find those guys," he said. "I don't cry about not getting the ball or are they doubling me. I'm doing my job and taking two guys away."
Even by doing next to nothing, Ryan calls him a game changer.
"There's no question about it. You can tell, with the way they planned going into that game that they were going to try and count two players on their defense to try and handle him. And when you do that, other guys are going to have advantageous looks," Ryan said. "He just opens up so many other looks for other people when defenses want to play, and I thought we did a nice job of adjusting it and trusting our other guys to make plays."
There's just no winning here for defenses. Cover Jones, the rest of the offense takes advantage. Cover everyone else, expect someone to lose his job (yep, you again Carolina).