First half thoughts as the Patriots trail the Packers 17-14:
- On defense, the Packers have gone to tight man coverage on the Patriots receivers. The Pats offense has struggled at times to deal with this. The Patriots best option with the tight man coverage: Aaron Hernandez, who's made some nice plays including a touchdown at the end of the half. Still, while the team has had success on the ground, something needs to be figured out in the passing game.
- The defense has been up and down this half. They've shut down the run for the most part, and have done well on the pass rush when bringing the blitz. However, when they aren't bringing more than three guys, Matt Flynn has had all time and is picking the Patriots defense apart. In addition, the 14 play, 82 yard drive on the Packers' final possession of the first half, was back breaking. While the Patriots had a couple of terrible calls go against them on the drive, they forced the Packers to four third downs, and couldn't stop them once. Terrible.
- In addition, the long James Jones touchdown to give the Packers the lead was inexcusable on Brandon Meriweather's part. You can make the point that he hasn't made as many bad angles this season, but when you allow one big one (James Jones touchdown today, Ray Rice last postseason), it can be back breaking. You have to trust your back line, and Meriweather needs to prove he can be trusted.
- What can be said about the Dan Connolly 71 kick return touchdown? When he made the stiff arm and cut back... I can't even explain how hard I was laughing... with joy of course. That was one play I will remember for my entire life, and I'm sure Connolly will as well. Did anyone else see how excited Welker was coming onto the field after that play? Definitely a momentum changer as the Patriots were able to punch the ball in with a touchdown pass from Tom Brady to Aaron Hernandez.