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2023 Long Island EFL: NFC Divisional Game Atlanta Falcons (5-2) at Green Bay Packers (4-3) What a Game!

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                                                        Long Island EFL Tournament of Champions


The Playoffs are brutal! The Final Four have arrived! With two major upsets in the tournament so far, we saw the Rams fall to the Bears 35-31, and in another tremendous upset we saw the Ravens stomp the Broncos 31-25! Will there be another upset in the 2023 Tournament of Champions? Indeed there is!

Which Green Bay Packers (4-3) will show up today against the "Dirty Birds" Atlanta Falcons (5-2). For sure, this is a great game scheduled between Coach Ed Viggs Pack and the huge winner of the Ravens Broncos battle yesterday, Johnny-Freeport, who had perhaps, the upset of the LIEFL Tournament of Champions thus far! 
Coach Ed Viggs Green Bay Packers started the season like trail blazers on a mission with wins over New Orleans, Carolina, Chicago, and division rival Detroit, but that changed Midway through the season when they lost a tough battle to the NY Giants, then the Las Vegas Raiders, and finale they dropped the season finale to the Kansas City Chiefs, 24-21. That was a blow to Coach Viggs, but he vows revenge in his own way. The one thing that has been solid for the Packers all year long is running back Terdell Middleton the NFC Rushing Champion and LIEFL #2 ranked rusher who best out the usual rushing God, Gerald Riggs. Middleton balled his way through opponents with 674 yards rushing with 12 touchdowns, and that says something about the Green Bay Packers offensive line. LIEFL All-Pro Cullen Jenkins lead the way. The Packers have to be one of the most underestimated teams in the NFC, but they proved their worth in LIEFL-Super Bowl XVI when Sterling Sharpe ran back a 100-yard kick return on the last play of the game with seconds left to beat the Miami Dolphins 52-49 in a Super Bowl stunner! The Pack needs to manage the clock, control the ball, stop Gerald Riggs, and most of all, they need that high-calibur playstyle from Sharpe today.The Packers have to take risks and unleash Sharpe in order to stay in this game, and the Falcons just have to rise to the occasion on the road and do what they do best, score points.
The Atlanta Falcons come into this game once again as a Wild Card Team after a tremendous disappointing upset loss in last year's Wild Card game when the Falcons lost the the NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers 37-31, in overtime!  But judging by the way Johnny-Freeport just played against the Denver Broncos, in his Ravens upset, Freeport showed us some serious discipline, and his ability to play under immense pressure in a fast-paced game was Freeport t his best. He will need to be sat his best against the Packers and coach Viggs today. Freeport loves to set the pace and he loves to control the narrative. The league is very mindful of this character.
The Packers have dropped in defense this year, or the competition has improved.  At #12 in the LIEFL, Green Bay better show immense pressure to the Falcons, or it's going to be a long day because they are playing a better than average offense in Atlanta who ranks #2 in the LIEFL.  Atlanta is at #18 defensively. Stopping the best offense in the NFC will be a challenge for Green Bay, but Coach Viggs will never tell his plans.  Besides receiver Julio Jones, when Gerald Riggs gets the ball opponents never know what is going to happen. Johnny-Freeport has relied heavily on Jones who was the NFC Receiving Champion this year, to make big plays when Riggs gets stopped in the running game. Jones also won the LIEFL Best Receiver Award! Freeport said he doesn't care about awards, he wants titles!
Coach Kevin Mac said, "One of the biggest problems is the expectations coaches have after a Bowl victory. We can't expect the same teams to win back to back to back titles in this fiercely competitive league, and with the great LIEFL Draft we hold annually. We are seeing that to win a $3200 dollar Super Bowl is getting harder and harder." Coach Paddy Brannigan said, "But, if a team has great players, then that's that. The talent has to continue to improve and process improvement is everything in this league. That's why the draft is so important. To win two titles in this league or I am sure, any league these days, is next to impossible with the competition out there."




The Green Bay Packers opened the game with Sterling Sharpe returning a 46 yard run. The Packers emerged immediately on some nifty running by this year's NFC Rushing Champ, Terdell Middleton! On the first four plays from scrimmage, Middleton ran for two, 39, five, and three yards, landing the Packers at the 5-yard line of Atlanta. Middleton could not get in though! He was pushed back by a wall of Falcons to the 15-yard line by a ferocious defense. On the Packers next play, Don H u s t o n broke free on a pass play from Coach Viggs for the score from 15-yards away to give the Packers the lead 7-0!pack1(5)art1.thumb.jpg.874169e761b8bcb96b2d9227e7531c7a.jpg

Green Bay used up nearly the entire first quarter time clock. That told Johnny-Freeport the obvious, that when Coach Ed Viggs Packers get the ball, their number one priority is to keep the ball out of Falcons running back Gerald Riggs hands, by managing the clock. Riggs ran just two plays back to end quarter, one was the 34-yard kick return, and on the next play, he was stopped on first down by the Packers defense. 

To begin the second quarter, Gerald Riggs burst 16-yards right through the gut of the Packers defense, and then on second down he ran for another 23-yards with the Falcons front line barreling through the Packers defense again. This time on first down, Green Bay stepped up with Ray Nitschke making a monster tackle on Riggs. On second down, Riggs ran for another 10-yards to earn another first down for the Atlanta at the Green Bay 17-yard line, where the Packers stopped the Falcons on second down. The Pack front three of LIEFL-All-Pro Cullen Jenkins, Willie Davis, and Reggie White, pushed the Falcons front line, but the Dirty Birds led by LIEFL All-Pro Bill Fralic battled right back. Atlanta was at the 19-yard line of Green Bay with 5:57 remaining in the half. This game has been mostly a defensive game so far but a darn good one!  On first down for Atlanta, Green Bay's Don H u s t o n crushed Gerald Riggs in the backfield for another 8-yard loss, bringing the ball to the Green Bay 28-yard line with second down coming. On third down with huge coverage on Falcons receiver Julio Jones by the Packers, Johnny-Freeport had a play of his own up his sleeve when Jamal Anderson came out nowhere from the left side of the field and he was wide open to catch a 28-yard touchdown play to tie the score at 7-7, with 3:08 remaining and a half in the Packers call their first time out of the half! WOW!pack3(2)rt3.thumb.jpg.e772cb4f4b487acbf61c116581bec1a0.jpg
This is turning into a great war between Viggs and Freeport! After a 41-yard kick return by Packers Sterling Sharpe  Viggs had all the faith in the world in Terdell Middleton as Middleton exploded on a 59-yard touchdown run on first down to give the Packers the lead 14-7, with 1:19 remaining in the half! It forced the Falcons to take their first time out of the half! What a run by Middleton as he got away from the Falcons defense to score!
With 1:19 remaining in the half Gerald Riggs returned an electrifying 61-yard kick return to the Packers 39-yard line. Johnny-Freeport decided to air it out, but there was no one to throw to and instead the quarterback ran for a 10-yard first down bringing the ball to the 29-yard line with the clock running as the Falcons kicked the field goal from the 29 to make the score Green Bay 14 - Atlanta 10 to end the first half!pack4art4.thumb.jpg.57faff47a7ddc8094587d537a1658077.jpg
Both teams toughed it out!
The Falcons will get the ball to start the third quarter!
To kickoff the third quarter Gerald Riggs ran back on 92-yard blazing kick return going out of bounds at the eight yard line! What a run for Riggs and great way to start the third quarter!
The Packers stop the Falcons on first down for a 1-yard loss, but on second down Gerald Riggs busted through the three hole and into the end zone for his second touchdown of the game on a huge play with 11:26 remaining in the third quarter, the Falcons are in the lead for the first time, 17-14!
On the ensuing kickoff Sterling Sharpe ran back a swift 45-yard kick return to set up Terdell Middleton. On first down, Middleton ran for 5 yards, but on second down he was blasted hard in the backfield by Julio Jones for a loss of a yard. The ball is at the Green Bay 44-yard line on third down with 6:06 remaining in the third quarter. On a risky play Viggs decided to keep the ball on the ground and he picked the guy who got the Pack here all year, Terdell Middleton, who ran for 12-yards for the first down. Viggs is smart. He's doing the best he can to keep the ball out of Gerald Riggs hands. On first down Middleton ran for another seven yards, but he was stopped on second down by the Falcons defense and that was the end of the third quarter!
So we are in the last quarter of play with Atlanta in the lead 17-14 over Green Bay with 15 minutes left to go in the game! It's third down for the Packers. On a huge play it was Middleton again who grabbed the first down on a 15-yard pass to set up the Packers at the eight yard line with first and goal to go!
What a battle by these two coaches! There's 12:16 remaining in the game.
The Packers set up on 4th down in an I-Formation after Sterling Sharpe came up 1-yard short of scoring a touchdown! It leaves coach Viggs an opportunity to kick the field goal or score the touchdown, and he chose to take the risk and run from the one yard line for the seven points. That play may turn out to be the key play of the game. It didn't happen, Terdell Middleton was stopped at the 4-yard line by Falcons lineman Claude Humphrey, and the ball went back to the Falcons! Do we have another upset in the making? pack5(1)art5.thumb.jpg.e8bf2e6ed47a696274d3c37b547e4763.jpgJohnny-Freeport is "in-the-zone" playing championship football!
There's 4:42 remaining in the game. And what might be the biggest mistake of Ed Viggs LIEFL career with the score 17-14, he let his Packers down as they were stopped on the last play and on Atlanta's first run Gerald Riggs had six yards followed by an 89-yard electrifying run from the line of scrimmage to the one yard line and Johnny-Freeport is going out of his mind! Freeport said, "Stop that Viggy! ... Yes baby yes, just win!" Prime Time Gerald Riggs ran quite the play and it forced the Packers to take their last time out!
Freeport took full advantage of another score from one yard out as Jamal Anderson scored his second touchdown of the game, and the Falcons are going to earn a trip to Washington to play the undefeated Redskins (7-0) in what promises to be a battle of Titans!
On Sterling Sharpe's last kick return of the game, he returned the ball 32-yards to end the game in a colossal upset with the Falcons winning the game 24-14 over the tough Green Bay!
The Falcons had 17 touches for 378 total yards with three touchdowns. It was Gerald Riggs who carried them with 11 rushes for 152 yards including a game-stuffing 89-yard run, plus a touchdown. Riggs did a lot of damage on kick returns with three touches for 187 yards on kick returns with a 92-yard blast to stop Viggs Green Bay Packers. In hindsight, even if they scored that last touchdown, Atlanta had everything in them to score again! pack6(2)art6.thumb.jpg.6c2ade9a26cf307e921dd5d93b9c169c.jpg
Terdell Middleton had 16 carries for 153 yards, with a 59-yard touchdown run. He totaled 17 touches 168 for one touchdown in the game. Sterling Sharpe had five touches for 183 all-purpose yards, with his longest play 46 yards. Green Bay as a team totaled 23 touches for 366 yards with two touchdowns, and the longest one was a 59-yard run. Atlanta topped them with 17 touches for 378-yards and three touchdowns with Gerald Riggs 92-yard return being the longest!
What a game Johnny-Freeport upsets coach Ed Viggs!
Viggs said, "I'm not going to sit here and make up excuses. We played a really good game against an excellent team, and I gotta tip my hat to JF, because he played a hell of a football game, and he's playing like a coach whose mission is to win a Super Bowl. Towards the end of the game I realized I still have one more shot at his Falcons, and that's going to be with my Redskins." Johnny-Freeport said, "That was a fantastic football game and we will be ready for Viggy's Redskins just like we were ready for these tough Packers."
Edited by Long island EFL
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