2002 flashback: Falcons 27, Packers 7

This has nothing to do with this Saturday’s game, but I thought you’d be interested. I’ve been doing the Falcons playoff memories stories this week, which featured Wallace Francis, Jeff Merrow, Chris Hinton, Moe Gardner and, Saturday, T.J. Duckett. In making sure I got somebody for Saturday, I also reached out to former linebacker Artie Ulmer, who I spoke with Thursday.

Ulmer, you may remember, recovered Mark Simoneau’s blocked punt in the 2002 wild-card game in the Falcons’ 27-7 win over the Packers, which was the first time a visiting team won a playoff game at Lambeau Field. I helped cover the team then and that certainly ranks as one of the most memorable games I saw. (Least memorable? Most of the 2003 season.) It was stunning how the Falcons went into Lambeau and just took the game from the Packers. Anyway, Ulmer was always a good interview when I covered the team then and was no different Thursday.

“I just remember them talking about no one had ever won at Lambeau Field in the playoffs. I don’t even remember what the temperature was, it was freezing or snowing, no one was cold. I don’t know what the deal was. I think for some reason we just believed we were going to win. We weren’t intimidated at all. The mystique and all that, that’s more for fans and media. It’s good to talk about, but once the ball is snapped, that’s all over with. I do remember just something in the air that night, just the confidence. Everybody kind of knew the deal.”

Ulmer making one of the biggest plays of his career. Funny how dated the uniforms and logo look.

Ulmer making one of the biggest plays of his career. Funny how dated the uniforms and logo look.

On the blocked punt (which gave the Falcons a 14-0 lead in the first quarter): “The center kind of dropped his butt right before he snapped the ball, so we keyed on that. As soon as he dropped his butt, everybody just kind of took off. We were able to run a stunt on ‘em. Simoneau came free and the rest, as they say, is history. That was a good little tidbit that I think (then-special teams coach) Joe (DeCamillis) and them came up with. It worked to perfection.”

After his career, Ulmer completed his degree work at Georgia State and is now an assistant coach at Heritage High in Conyers.

“It’s different,” Ulmer said of coaching high schoolers. “You can’t overload ‘em. You still have to remember they’re 14-, 15-, 16-years-old. They’re still worried about who’s sitting next to their girlfriend in the stands.”

11 comments Add your comment

clay

January 14th, 2011
12:01 pm

Go Falcons. Can’t wait till tomorrow. Lets dominate like we did in 02. 27-7 Falcons. Rise Up. Oh yeah. 1st

justfalconbaby

January 14th, 2011
12:17 pm

If in the first game Roddy does not get an unsportsmanlike penalty on the first drive and the refs call the delay fo game on the Packers last drive the game would have been won with a typical Falcon demonstration. We do not have the one hit wonder at running back, we have the better coach, we are not traveling on a short week. Falcons rise up 27-13!

Billy

January 14th, 2011
12:20 pm

Not first, I hope we come out with a great offensive game plan. not worried about their one game wonder at running back.

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PMC

January 14th, 2011
12:35 pm

This was one of the great wins in Falcon history.

Najeh Davenpoop

January 14th, 2011
12:51 pm

Will MARTA be running Sat night because of all the downtown events, Falcons game? Online schedule doesn’t say anything about special change for this weekend.

Season Ticket Holder

January 14th, 2011
1:38 pm

Falcons, let’s take the game to the Packers. We need to play to win,and don’t play not to lose. Rise UP!

G

January 14th, 2011
1:41 pm

Yeah we had no chance in that game too! Packers had never lost at home and everyone always hates on ATL. Same thing new year! Go Birds

C

January 14th, 2011
2:49 pm

I don’t think those uniforms looks dated at all. Love them. Clean, classic looking.
Go Falcons!

Ken Sugiura

January 14th, 2011
3:12 pm

Najeh- yes. trains are running. fans are encouraged to take it. not sure what the schedule will be. good question that i’ll look into.
C – perhaps dated was a poor word choice. it’s more that i’ve gotten so used to the current uniform and logo, and it’s been awhile since the old logo was retired.

Matt Ryan is highly overrated

January 15th, 2011
9:49 pm

all this year they gave Matt Ryan all the praise I said it when they dradted him he is overated. Add pressure and he become Patty melt. So goes turner so goes the falcon!!!