Green Bay Packers (26) Outlast Surging New England Patriots (21) in Lambeau Field
GREEN BAY, WI – 12/1/2014 – Tom Brady vs. Aaron Rodgers. Regardless of team records, that alone would be enough for the average NFL fan to tune in. The team records were just as good as the quarterbacks leading them, as the 9-2 Patriots came in to chilly Lambeau Field to take on the 8-3 Green Bay Packers. In what many believe to be a Super Bowl XLIX preview, the game definitely lived up to its billing. It was a game that saw two high-powered offenses, two improved defenses, and was a dropped ball away from becoming even more crazy, the Packers walked out of this one with a 26-21 victory.
The Packers would draw first blood, as Mason Crosby capped off a nine-play, 58-yard drive with a 32 yard field goal on the first possession of the game. New England’s fortunes wouldn’t change throughout the first quarter either, as another Crosby field goal (35-yards) sailed through the uprights before Aaron Rodgers found Richard Rodgers from 32-yards out on a beautifully thrown ball for the game’s first touchdown.
Tom Brady is Tom Brady for a reason however. The Patriots would get back within one score after a five-play, 73 yard drive that was capped off by a Brandon Bolden six-yard run that saw him break tackle after tackle. The Packers offense would keep the heat on the Patriots offense though, as another scoring drive, this one a 13 play drive, gave the Packers yet another field goal, putting them up 16-7. The second quarter was truly a flurry of throwing and taking punches for both teams, as Tom Brady would lead a long drive of his own (12 plays, 4:45), that culminated with Brandon LaFell hauling in the first of his two touchdowns on the day with 1:09 left in the half. It looked like the Packers were going to go into halftime up just two points after really dominating the Patriots in the stat sheets all half long. As Tom Brady is Tom Brady for a reason, so is Aaron Rodgers Aaron Rodgers. The University of Cal product would find Jordy Nelson for a 45-yard catch and run that gave the Packers a 23-14 lead going into halftime, a much needed touchdown for a Packers offense that was kicking more field goals than scoring touchdowns; a common recipe for disaster.
The second half was not as exciting as far as scoring goes, but saw drama to its fullest. A defensive struggle in the third quarter that saw zero points, the Packers were able to hold Tom Brady and the Patriots offense down. The Patriots’ defense was able to do the same to Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. The Patriots would pull within two points for the second time to start off the fourth quarter as Brady found LaFell for the second time in the game, this time from 15 yards out. The Packers would respond with another time-consuming drive that ended with Mason Crosby putting his fourth field goal of the game through the uprights, giving the Packers a five-point lead. Brady would lead the Patriots deep into Packers territory, but for the first time on the night would walk away without a touchdown, as Mike Daniels & Mike Neal sacked Brady for a nine-yard loss on third down. Stephen Gostkowski lined up for a 47-yard field goal attempt, but pushed it wide right with 2:40 left. The Packers would run much of the clock down, and drove in the dagger as Aaron Rodgers found Randall Cobb on a 3rd & 4 after the Patriots used all of their timeouts.
As the bell tolled, the Packers came out on top 26-21 and improved to 9-3 while maintaining their one game lead in the division, while climbing to the #1 slot in the NFC! Aaron Rodgers continued his MVP-type season, going 24 of 38 for 368 yards including two touchdowns. Eddie Lacy didn’t score a touchdown, but was still effective when it counted, carrying the ball 21 times for 98 yards. Despite his touchdown, Jordy Nelson was bottled up for most of the afternoon by Darrelle Revis, only hauling in one other catch. Davante Adams was the apple of Rodgers’ eye this day, as he totaled six receptions for 121 yards. Randall Cobb also had himself another solid start with seven catches for 85 yards. No other Packers receiver caught more than two passes. Defensively, while they only recorded the one sack, the Packers put plenty of pressure on Tom Brady, who was hit six times. Tramon Williams led the team in tackles with nine.
For New England, Tom Brady was right on par with Rodgers, going 22 for 35 for 245 yards along with the two touchdown passes to LaFell. Rob Gronkowski led the way with 98 yards receiving on seven catches, followed by Julian Edelman’s seven receptions for just 48 yards. Inexplicably, the Patriots only ran the ball 18 times while facing the 30th run defense in the NFL. LaGarrett Blount led the way with 10 carries for 58 yards, while Branden Bolden gained 17 yards on his three carries, including his touchdown run. Where the Packers had zero players with double digit tackles, the Patriots had three. Linebacker Jamie Collins led the way with 13, while safety Patrick Chung had 11, and linebacker Dont’a Hightower had 10. The Patriots were able to sack Aaron Rodgers three times, but the rush wasn’t as consistent as coach Bill Bellichick would have liked.
Other game notes: Cornerback Sam Shields suffered a concussion in the second quarter and is day-to-day, while LB Jamari Lattimore also suffered an apparent ankle injury.
Be sure to tune into 98.3WRUP next Monday Night as your Green Bay Packers will host the NFC South leading Atlanta Falcons in beautiful Lambeau Field. Join Wayne & Larry for all of the pre-, in-, and post-game coverage starting at 6:30pm with an 8:30 kickoff. Packers. Falcons. Monday Night Football right here on Marquette County’s official Packers station: 98.3WRUP!
-Carl Leander Johnson