The 2017 NFC Championship Game will forever live as a day of disappointment and embarrassment for Packers fans as Green Bay got crushed by the Atlanta Falcons 44-21. A lot has happened to both teams since that game.
Besides defense, the one thing that led to the Packers demise and lack of offense in that game was Ty Montgomery’s limited production. He only rushed for 17 yards and even more dismaying, he only had two receiving yards. For the Packers to keep up with Atlanta’s high-powered offense, Montgomery and his duel-threat abilities must be heavily displayed.
The Falcon’s defense is by no means Seattle’s in which Montgomery had a solid game rushing for 54-yards and receiving for 39-yards. Last week the Falcons gave up 213 yards to Mike Glennon and 118 yards rushing to the committee of Tarik Cohen and Jordan Howard, in an almost upset loss to the Bears.
Another encouraging sign especially in the passing game for Montgomery is that both Seattle and Atlanta have 4-3 defenses which means less speed even though defensive ends Brooks Reed and Courtney Upshaw shouldn’t be looked past. The linebacker committee of Vic Beasley, Deion Jones and De’Vondre Campbell will be crucial for that defense’s success to stop Montgomery. For a long time the linebacker position has been a weakness for the Falcons but those three have really become the core of that defense, as they are talented, young and hungry. In their game against the Bears, that committee including Duke Riley combined for 15 tackles and a sack. Against the Bears, that’s not extremely impressive and their runningbacks managed to get the yardage mentioned before.
The success of the Packers offense will rely on Montgomery himself. The team is very high on Montgomery’s abilities in not only running but receiving. Martellus Bennett drew comparisons to his former teammate James White who was crucial in that Super Bowl LI comeback against the Falcons.
“He was hot,” Bennett said. “I mean, James is a unique player with his style of play and the things that he’s capable of doing. And the way that the game was going, I think he had the best matchup throughout the whole game. I think Tom just locked in on that matchup.” (ESPN’s Rob Demovsky)
If the Packers can expose that weakness in Atlanta’s defense with Montgomery much like the Patriots did with White in the Super Bowl, they will be successful. Former Packer runningback and current Offensive Coordinator Edgar Bennett is also very high on Montgomery.
Without a doubt, [he] could potentially be a matchup nightmare for some teams because of his ability as a receiver out of the backfield — his quickness, his speed, his change of direction,” Bennett said. “So, certainly he could be a tough matchup with some opponents. So I would say yes, just as far as the type of versatile player he is. He brings a lot to the table in the backfield or when we displace him out of the backfield.” (Demovsky)