It was a tough break. The Packers were clearly the better team last Sunday as they got the better of the Patriots on both offense and defense. Sure, the New England defense held tough in the red zone, and yeah, the offense scored three touchdowns. But the Packers offense was playing incredibly consistent football and they would've beaten pretty much any team in the league with their output.
That said, the Patriots put up a great fight and there were a lot of quality moments from the game.
Hightower A-Gap Rush
Dont'a Hightower doesn't do anything fancy here. The Patriots drew up a plan to open up an inside lane for Hightower to crash the pocket and it worked beautifully. With both Chris Jones and Vince Wilfork lined up across from the guard, the Patriots had them scrap the line to the outside to draw the attention of both the guards and the tackles. In the mean time, the defensive ends drop into coverage in case the interior pressure doesn't work.
This leaves Hightower in isolation against rookie center Corey Linsley. Let me preface by saying that I'm a huge fan of Linsley. I want to claim responsibility for getting him some notice during the draft period. For whatever reason, he decides to help the left guard block Chris Jones, leaving a huge gap for Hightower to attack.
He gets through pretty much unimpeded. Chris Jones does a nice little flip after the sack. All is well.
A Hoomangous Catch
If the Patriots didn't have Brian Tyms in the preseason, or Rob Gronkowski for the regular season, this might be one of the most impressive grabs that you'll see in a Patriots uniform all year. The fact that it was from the blocking tight end Michael Hoomanawanui makes it even more impressive.
Look at the high pointing of the pass. Look at the torque to get the body turned and parallel with the sideline. Look at the dainty toe touch. Look at how much freaking separation he has from the defense.
Should there be more passes in Hooman's direction? My brain says "no", but my heart says, "ehhhhh."
Gronk Doing Gronk Things
Everyone loves Rob Gronkowski. He's the J.J. Watt of offense. Every single week he'll doing something that will make the viewer go, "Oh damn, I didn't know anyone on this planet could do that." Gronk is that person on this planet. He can do anything.
It takes five Packers to bring him down. I guarantee the fact that he didn't score comes as a surprise to Patriots fans because that's how unrealistic our expectations are at this point. The fact that he did it while his pants are falling down?
Is there anything we can say about this? The little hop-skip by the trainer is adorable. The way Tom Brady hesitates and dips his left shoulder as he starts to saunter looks calculated. It's like they wanted to time their first steps in tune, but then Brady decided he didn't want to go for a walk anymore. Because he's not a dog. He's a football player.
LeGarrette Blount is a Bowling Ball
The first thing you should note is that Blount is hit five yards in the backfield. FIVE. Rookie center Bryan Stork was destroyed by Packers nose tackle Letroy Guion. In fact, right guard Ryan Wendell is trying to pull to lead Blount into the pocket, but Guion has such a great first step he blows up the pull blocker's path.
By all rights, this play should have been dead.
Instead, Blount goes through pretty much every single player on the Packers defense in order to pick up some yards. Blount is good when he picks up steam. Perhaps the offensive line should give him space to gain such steam.
Bill Belichick Belly Rub
We all laughed when we saw it. Belichick seemed to love his discussion with Packers head coach Mike McCarthy. But did he love it as much as he loved his belly getting rubbed? Did he? Did Belichick like that? Who's a good boy?
Maybe Brady should give the leash to Coach.