Sunday Night Football. Rodgers vs Brady. McCarthy vs Belichick. It’s Goat vs Goat and even the greatest basketball player of all time was looking forward to this match-up.
Aaron Rodgers. Tom Brady. Head-to-head.
“I’ll watch that.” – MJ
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) November 4, 2018
In a much hyped game, the game turned on an Aaron Jones fumble in the fourth quarter. The Packers had momentum and were driving. Since that moment, the crowd got loud and Tom Brady and Bill Belichick delivered the dagger as Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers were completely clueless on how to move the football and respond offensively. Marquez Valdes-Scantling appears to have gained the trust of Rodgers. Aaron Jones has clearly shown he is the best running back on this team and should continue to be the number 1 back. Mike Pettine has turned this defense around and has them playing aggressive and flying around. The defense is young but the potential is there. On the flip side, the Packers suffered numerous injuries throughout the game, and Aaron Rodgers is still not 100%. The offense is completely out of sync and the play calling is questionable at it’s best. The first three quarters were exciting but instead of finding ways to win, the Packers are inventing new ways to lose.
Here is the full recap.
The Patriots wasted no time in getting the fireworks going. Receiving the ball first, Tom Brady engineered a 10 play 59 yard in 3:20. The drive just carved up Mike Pettine’s defense. Aaron Rodgers trying to not be outdone by Brady, was leading a drive of his own that went 14 plays and 62 yards in 6:35. Unfortunately the Packers opening drive ended with a field goal. The Packers inability to score touchdowns continues to haunt them even after Halloween has passed. On second and goal, Rodgers throw to Davante Adams in the end zone, the pass was a little behind him and went incomplete. If Rodgers has led Adams it would have been a touchdown, as he had the defender beat. The next play, third and goal, Rodgers threw to Cobb on a wide receiver screen play. It appeared to be a give up play by the Packers. The defense then settled down and forced the Patriots to punt on their next possession. Unfortunately the Packers offense could not do anything with the opportunity as they punted before the quarter ended. In the first quarter alone, Rodgers had 15 pass attempts. That was his most pass attempts in the first quarter of any game in the last two seasons. When Aaron Jones is involved and running the ball the Packers put points on the board. When he is not and they abandon the run, and go pass heavy, they do not put points on the board. Packers 3 – Patriots 7
The Patriots started out the quarter with the football. Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels out smarting everyone in the stadium on the drive. They caught McCarthy and Mike Pettine with their pants down on a flee flicker play that moves them deep into Packers territory. The defense buckled down and forced the Patriots only to a field goal. Packers first drive of the quarter ended in a punt. On third and 4 Rodgers rolled to his right and throw it away. He had Davante Adams open on the left side if he would have rolled to his left. On the Patriots second drive of the quarter, the defense stepped up and forced a punt. It wasn’t without a little controversy, as Josh Gordon made a huge catch along the sidelines at the midfield but the officials called his second foot out of bounds. A play that Belichick could have challenged and possibly won. Rodgers and McCarthy then put together a drive that include runs by Williams and Jones, short passes to the running backs and Adams. The big plays of the drive were a run by Jones for 13 yards, a short pass to Williams that went for 16 yards, a run by Jones for 10 yards, and two catches by Adams for a total of 19 yards. The drive ended with a touchdown pass from Rodgers to Adams to tie the game. The Patriots then answered with a touchdown to regain the lead in what was a maddening drive for the defense. After a 10 yard gain by Patterson to get the ball to midfield, Whitehead slapped a Patriots offensive lineman on the helmet and was penalized 15 yards and ejected. Belichick then attacked Mike Pettine’s 2 linebacker scheme by running Patterson to score the TD. The half ended with the Packers punting the ball. Third and 2 and they ran a naked bootleg to the left that Rodgers fumbled out of bounds, and you have to wonder who call that ugly looking play, Rodgers at the line or McCarthy. Packers 10 – Patriots 17
The Packers came out of halftime featuring Aaron Jones at running back. On the second play of the drive Rodgers hit Adams for a 15 yard pass play. The offense rushed to the line of scrimmage but did not snap the ball before the Patriots challenged. The call ended up being reversed and called incomplete. After a long delay in the game action, Rodgers hit rookie wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling for a 51 yard pass play. It was the longest play of the game up to this point. McCarthy then featured Aaron Jones on three straight running plays before Rodgers threw to Jimmy Graham for a 15 yard touchdown, on a long developing play. This was Graham’s second touchdown catch of the season. Tom Brady then drove the Patriots offense 74 yards and had first and goal at the 1 yard line. They punched it in on second down, but the call was reversed and Patterson was down at the 1 yard line. The defense stepped up and stopped the Patriots on the third and fourth down to force a turnover on downs. After a magnificent defense stop on the goal line, Rodgers and the offense just can’t get out of their own way. Aaron Jones dove forward for 3 yards on the first play to give Rodgers some breathing room. They then ran a wide receiver screen to Cobb that went no where. On third and 7, typical McCarthy and Rodgers, they throw the ball deep instead of trying to at least get the first down. JK Scott punted out from the back of the end zone. A turning point in the game that the Packers could have taken advantage of and the couldn’t. The defense then came up huge and forced the Patriots to go nowhere but backwards. On fourth and 21 the Patriots were forced to punt, BUT the Packers ran into the punter and called for a 15 yard penalty, automatic first down. It easily could have only been a 5 yard penalty and a fourth and 16. Instead, it’s first down and Patriots ball again. This young defense is showing potential and coming up big in prime time. They forced the Patriots to punt again. Getting the ball with just over 2 minutes before the fourth quarter, Rodgers is going to work. It also is appearing that a star is being born in Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Packers 17 – Patriots 17
After some fabulous catches by Valdes-Scantling for 24 and 26 yards each, the Packers start the fourth quarter by handing off to Aaron Jones. The rookie running back puts the ball on the turf, and turn the ball over deep in Patriots territory. This is something you absolutely can not do if you want to be the number 1 back; especially in a must win game, in New England, on Sunday Night Football. Inexcusable. In what could be a game changer, Tom Brady then took the ball and lead New England 76 yards for a go ahead touchdown. The fumble could loom large as game progresses. The momentum swung back to the Patriots. New England’s defense stepped up in a major way and Rodgers and the offense went back 6 yards on 3 plays and were forced to punt. Bill Belichick, Josh McDaniels and Tom Brady just toy with Mike Pettine and his defense. In 3 plays, New England went 72 yards for a touchdown. This was the dagger. The main play was a screen pass looking play that every one fell for and Brady hit Josh Gordon for the 55 yard TD. He actually could have been tackled early in the play but Tramon Williams playing safety did his best tribute to Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. In a drive that the Packers need to get points on they turn in over on downs. On third and 4, all of the receivers are 25 yards down field. Then on fourth and 4 Rodgers scrambles throws it away. The Patriots run out the clock to end the game. Packers 17 – Patriots 31
Up Next: Green Bay hosts Miami on Sunday, November 11th at 3:25 p.m.
Anthony Haag is a writer for PackersTalk.com. He has been a Packers fan since the day he was born and truly bleeds green and gold. He makes annual visits to Lambeau Field and has attended his fair share of games. You can follow Anthony on Twitter at @anthony_haag