Atlanta Falcons playoff rewind: Alge Crumpler helped conquer Lambeau Field

Alge Crumpler in action against Carolina. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Alge Crumpler in action against Carolina. (Curtis Compton/AJC)


Who: Falcons tight end Alge Crumpler

What: NFC wild-card game, Falcons vs. Packers

When: Jan. 4, 2003

Where: Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wis.

Score: Falcons 27, Packers 7

What happened: The Falcons punched a hole in the Lambeau Field mystique.

The way people were talking, the Falcons might as well have stayed in Atlanta.

Certainly the Falcons, a team from a Southern city that played in a dome, couldn’t win at Green Bay in January. This Atlanta team, with flashy quarterback Michael Vick and losers of three of its past four games, wouldn’t be the opponent to sully the Packers’ 11-0 playoff record at Lambeau Field.

If any of the Falcons thought the same, Crumpler said that changed when the team got to Green Bay.

“For some reason, it wasn’t very cold in Green Bay,” he said. “Once we were able to get over that, we were able to focus on the game.”

Until that day, the closest the Packers had come to losing at Lambeau Field in the playoffs was in the famous “Ice Bowl” game, a 21-17 victory against Dallas in the 1967 NFL Championship game. Against the Falcons, the Packers never had a chance.

Packers fans and many watching on television may have been stunned, but Crumpler said the Falcons relaxed once it became clear the weather wouldn’t be a major factor.

“Everybody tried to make it about a dome team being at Lambeau and about (the Packers) never having lost a game there, but I don’t think we saw it like that,” he said.

The temperature was a tolerable 31 degrees at kickoff. Still, Packers quarterback Brett Favre had won all 35 of his home starts in which the temperature was 35 degrees or less.

Even Favre was helpless against the Falcons. Atlanta scored a touchdown on the opening drive, recovered a blocked punt for a touchdown to go up 14-0 and led 24-0 at halftime.

Snow started falling at halftime, but it was too late for the Packers.

“We’d already imposed our will on both sides of the ball in that game,” Crumpler said. “We just had to hold on.”

The Falcons lost 20-6 at Philadelphia the next week to start a streak of four consecutive postseason losses that’s still alive.

The Falcons earned a place in the NFL history books with the victory at Lambeau Field, but Crumpler said the team didn’t consider it a milestone. The Falcons had been to the Super Bowl four seasons earlier, and the focus was on getting back.

“I don’t think we ever viewed it as a major accomplishment,” he said. “We were thinking, ‘This is a team that is going to get to the Super Bowl and win the Super Bowl’ and everybody else was worried about elements and all this other stuff.”

Where is he now: Crumpler works for Atlanta television station WGCL.

“I enjoy it,” he said. “I do get excited when I am back (covering the Falcons) because I get to see familiar faces. It’s a comfortable environment for me. I just talk about what I see. I figure that’s enough.”

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10 comments Add your comment

Rockyford

January 10th, 2013
10:07 pm

1st +

“The Falcons lost 20-6 at Philadelphia the next week to start a streak of four consecutive postseason losses that’s still alive.” Really? 2005 didn’t count? Simple fact checking or basic franchise memory.

http://scores.espn.go.com/nfl/recap?gameId=250115001

[...] a hole in the Lambeau Field mystique. The way people were talking, the Falcons might Source: Atlanta Falcons – D. Orlando Ledbetter AJC Blog Share this: atlanta falcons football, atlanta falcons news, falcons football news, falcons news [...]

james

January 11th, 2013
9:19 am

OMG are you kidding me? We did roll-up 47 points on the St. Louis Rams inside the dome in January 2005, didn’t we? Or was that just an illusion? This should not have even required fact check. Should have been easy enough to remember. Geez guys!

Section 126

January 11th, 2013
9:32 am

Great article D.Led. Let’s go FALCONS!!!

Chef Boyardee

January 11th, 2013
9:56 am

james
January 11th, 2013
9:19 am

OMG are you kidding me? We did roll-up 47 points on the St. Louis Rams inside the dome in January 2005, didn’t we? Or was that just an illusion? This should not have even required fact check. Should have been easy enough to remember. Geez guys!

_______________________________________________________________________________

This is standard fare for DOL. Why can’t this city have a competent beat writer for the Falcons?

Pietas81

January 11th, 2013
11:04 am

Yeah, come on. I gotta say playoff history is a must. You’re a great reporter DLed, but please try to tighten that up.

On another note, any updates on Abe and the extent of his injury? I know he’s practicing, but what is he doing exactly?

banger49

January 11th, 2013
4:04 pm

we the Minnesota Vikings beat Green Bay January ninth 2005, 31 to 17 at Lambeau Field in a wild card playoff game. so I don’t know where this reporter is getting his fax about the closest Green Bay came to losing a playoff game was the Ice Bowl?

Robert08

January 11th, 2013
4:22 pm

Falcons last playoff win was over Rams in 2004. They lost to Philly in the NFC title game the following week to start the 4-game losing streak. Vikings win over Packers in Green Bay came after the Falcons victory, which was in 2002.

Robert08

January 11th, 2013
4:24 pm

I should have said the 2004 playoffs and the 2002 playoffs.

FalconsDiva

January 11th, 2013
4:32 pm

banger49 – he’s referring to the fact that the Falcons were the first to beat the Packers at Lambeau – the Vikings win was after ours. “Until that day” are the key words…