GREEN BAY, Wis., Jan. 4 (UPI) -- A blocked punt that Artie Ulmer recovered for a touchdown symbolized a shockingly one-sided effort Saturday night that allowed the Atlanta Falcons to become the first visiting team ever to win a playoff game at Lambeau Field in a snowy, 27-7 triumph over the Green Bay Packers.
The Falcons, appearing in the playoffs for the first time since they went to the Super Bowl four years ago, will now go to Philadelphia to take on the NFC's top-seeded team in the divisional round.
Green Bay had been 13-0 in playoff games on their home field -- 11 of those coming in Green Bay and two in Milwaukee.
As the Falcons walked off the field at halftime with the snow swirling and the Green Bay fans booing the home team, they not only owned a 24-0 lead but had seen just about everything possible go their way.
During the opening two quarters, Atlanta recorded an interception, blocked a punt for a touchdown, benefitted from a tipped pass, made an amazing goal-line stand, saw the Packers miss a field goal and then took the final 6:34 of the second quarter off the clock by marching from their own six-yard line to the Green Bay four to set up a field goal on the final play of the half.
Most of all, the Falcons had received a huge break when, already leading by 14 points, they recovered what was ruled to be a muffed punt at the Green Bay 21, setting up their third touchdown in the game's first 18 minutes.
Vick threw for one touchdown, consistently escaped the Green Bay rush to make positive yardage and played a mistake-free game.
"We wanted to show the world we could play with this team," Vick said. "We felt we had the potential to make history. The coaches had a great game plan, everybody came to play. We believe if we play together, nobody can beat us.
"We expect a great game next week. Philadelphia has a great defense. We have to go there and do the same thing we did tonight."
The Atlanta defense, meanwhile, made life miserable for Packers quarterback Brett Favre, who was taking part in his 17th playoff game. The Falcons came up with five turnovers, intercepting Favre twice and recovering two of his fumbles.
Green Bay was in position last week to claim home-field advantage throughout the playoffs and enjoy a bye week. But a loss to the New York Jets in the final regular-season game forced the Packers into action Saturday night and they appeared lethargic from the start.
Vick stunned the Packers by driving the Falcons 76 yards on the opening series. Atlanta had not scored on its opening possession all season.
The Atlanta quarterback hit Shawn Jefferson with a 10-yard scoring pass 5:43 into the game and the Falcons boosted their lead with 6:38 to play in the first period when Mark Simoneau broke through on fourth down from the Green Bay 12-yard line to block a punt by Green Bay's Josh Bidwell.
Ulmer fell on the ball at the one and rolled into the end zone for a touchdown.
The Packers put together a drive on their next possession only to have Brian Longwell miss a 47-yard field goal, but Green Bay held Atlanta again -- setting up the play that made it clear it was not going to be the Packers' night.
Atlanta punted the ball away on the third play of the second quarter from the Green Bay 49 and punter Chris Mohr tried to pin the Packers deep in their own end with a high, relatively short effort.
The punt wound up traveling a much shorter distance than he intended and it came down at the Packers' 20, where Eric Metcalf signaled for a fair catch. But Atlanta's Kevin McCadam shoved Green Bay's Tyrone Williams back into Metcalf as the ball was arriving, giving Metcalf no chance to catch the ball.
Officials ruled the ball hit Williams as it came down, giving Atlanta a chance to recover. George Layne did so and the Falcons had the ball at the Packers' 21. Replays not only made it obvious that Williams was pushed into Metcalf, but they showed the ball actually hit McCadam.
Green Bay Coach Mike Sherman chose not to challenge the play and the Falcons needed five plays before T.J. Duckett scored on a six-yard run to make it 21-0. One of those plays came on second and 11 from the 22 when a Vick pass was tipped, only to fall into the hands of Atlanta's Alge Crumpler.
The Packers then made a move to get back in the game by driving to a first down on the Atlanta one. But Favre threw an incompletion, Ahman Green was thrown for a yard loss and Favre was incomplete again, bringing up fourth down.
Sherman chose to go for the touchdown, but the fourth-down play never had a chance when Green, taking a handoff from Favre, was thrown for a four-yard loss by tackle Ellis Johnson.
Atlanta finished off the half by driving the length of the field for a Jay Feely field goal of 22 yards on the final play before intermission.
The only points of the second half came on Favre's 14-yard touchdown pass Donald Driver early in the third quarter and on Feely's 23-yard field goal on Atlanta's ensuing possession.
Show flurries began to fall late in the first half and grew heavier during the second half as one Green Bay possession after another was frustrated by the Atlanta defense.
Vick, executing a conservative game plan after Atlanta jumped into the lead, completed 13 of 25 passes for 117 yards while Favre was 20 of 42 for 247.
Vick also picked up 64 yards on the ground on 10 carries, Warrick Dunn added 64 more for the Falcons and Duckett gained 45. The only consistent offensive weapon for Green Bay was Javon Walker, who caught five passes for 104 yards.