After all the hype, all the talk, we finally got another installment of Brady vs. Rodgers in prime time Sunday night, at Gillette Stadium. And while some of New England's most important players were out of the lineup, the matchup didn't disappoint.
The Patriots, missing Rob Gronkowski and Sony Michel, played a close game with the Packers until an Aaron Jones fumble early in the fourth quarter sent New England on its way to a 31-17 victory.
Well, there are some options here:
-- How Aaron Rodgers (259 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT) still might have "outdueled" Tom Brady (294 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT).
-- How the offense still had its bad moments: The Patriots couldn't get in the end zone with first-and-goal from the 1 against a bad Green Bay defense in the third quarter and eventually turned it over on downs.
-- How the Patriots were bailed out a couple times, including by a roughing-the-kicker call after Tom Brady was sacked to give them 4th-and-21 in the third quarter.
After James White left the game early with some sort of left leg/foot injury, the Pats turned back to Cordarrelle Patterson after using him in the seemingly nonsensical role last week against Buffalo.
Yet Patterson the running back paid off early Sunday. He ran for 51 yards and a touchdown on five first-half carries and was initially credited with a second touchdown in the third quarter, but the call was reversed after review.
White would fortunately return to the game in the second half and rush for a fourth-quarter touchdown.
The Pats needed a huge game from a pass-catcher with Gronkowski out, and they got it from Gordon. The formerly possibly punished-then-not-punished receiver finished with five catches for 130 yards and a touchdown.
Packers safety Jermaine Whitehead was ejected for slapping David Andrews in the second quarter. It was only one slap, but a slap is a slap and you can't slap people. That moved the Patriots 15 yards closer to the end zone, where Patterson would be three plays later.
The Patriots are probably going to win out and finish the season 14-2. Look at their remaining schedule. Not very hard.
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