ATLANTA (AP) — When Arthur Smith sent the word to his offense — we’re going for it on fourth down — the Atlanta Falcons were fired up.
Bijan Robinson and his blockers were determined to make it the right call.
Capping another dynamic day for the rookie running back, Robinson ripped off a 7-yard run on fourth-and-1 to set up Younghoe Koo’s 25-yard field goal with 57 seconds remaining as the Atlanta Falcons rallied for a 25-24 victory over Green Bay Packers on Sunday.
“When you get told, ‘Get the first down,’ you’ve got to do everything you can to do it for your team,” Robinson said.
He rushed for 124 yards on 19 carries and hauled in four catches for another 48 yards, showing why the Falcons (2-0) selected him No. 8 pick in the draft even though running backs aren’t supposed to go that high anymore.
“When you get the right guy for your team, that’s all you can ask for,” Robinson said, breaking into a big smile.
The fourth-down conversion came with the Falcons in field-goal range at the Green Bay 23, but 2:08 left on the clock. Smith decided to gamble, not wanting to leave the Packers plenty of time to drive for a field goal of their own.
“It shows he’s got a lot of confidence in us,” left tackle Jake Matthews said. “It was exciting to get that fourth down.”
The Packers (1-1) squandered a 24-12 lead and three more touchdown passes from Love, who now has a half-dozen scoring throws in his first two games as Aaron Rodgers’ replacement.
While the Falcons converted a couple of huge fourth-down plays in the final period, the Packers messed up one of their own that could have helped them fend off the Atlanta comeback.
After the Falcons closed to 24-22, Green Bay decided to go for it on fourth-and-1 at its own 34. Love dove through a gap on the right side, but there was a problem.
He didn’t have the ball. It was never snapped and no one else on offense moved.
“I said the wrong thing, so it’s pretty much not a play until I give the live word,” Love conceded. “I gave the wrong live word on that one.”
The Packers were penalized for a false start and had to punt. The Falcons drove for the winning field goal.
Ridder threw his first career interception and had a couple of other errant passes that should have been picked off.
He came through when it mattered, though.
“He’s a winner,” Smith said. “The guys believe in him. You can see it in their eyes, In critical situations, he’s at his best.”
Ridder finished 19 of 32 for 237 yards passing, including a 3-yard touchdown to Drake London with 12 seconds remaining in the first half. The Falcons quarterback also ran 10 times for 39 yards.
Packers: FB Aaron Jones (hamstring), WR Christian Watson (hamstring) and LT David Bakhtiari (knee) didn’t dress, and Green Bay lost another offensive starter when left guard Elgton Jenkins went down in the first half with a knee injury. In the second half, LB Lukas Van Ness was sidelined by an elbow injury.
Falcons: No injuries were reported during the game, but RB Cordarrelle Patterson (thigh) did not play for the second straight week even though he was not included on the team’s final injury report.
Packers: Face another NFC South team, the New Orleans Saints, in Green Bay’s home opener at Lambeau Field.
Falcons: Stay in the NFC North for their first road game of the season, traveling to Detroit’s Ford Field to meet the Lions. A victory would give Atlanta only its seventh 3-0 start in 58 seasons.