The (6-2) New England Patriots host the (3-3-1) Green Bay Packers on Sunday Night Football and this should be an incredible game. It features Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers, two of the best quarterbacks in the NFL over the past 20 years, in just their second head-to-head showdown. This could also be their last.
We have our pregame show, game details, and live details below!
Patriots pregame show
Date: Sunday, November 4, 2018
Kickoff: 8:20 p.m. ET
Location: Gillette Stadium, Foxboro MA
SB Nation affiliate: Acme Packing Co.
TV: NBC, with Al Michaels (play-by-play), Cris Collinsworth (color commentary) and Michele Tafoya (sideline)
Local radio: 98.5 FM The Sports Hub, with Bob Socci (play-by-play) and Scott Zolak (color commentary):
What the Patriots have to do to beat the Packers: Offense | Defense
Gameday inactives: No Rob Gronkowski or Sony Michel.
Packers call tails.— Doug Kyed (@DougKyed) November 5, 2018
Packers choose to defer.
Patriots will receive.
The Green Bay Packers won the opening coin toss and elected to receive in the second half so the New England Patriots receiving the opening kick. 10 plays later, Tom Brady tossed the ball to James White, who scampered in for an 8-yard touchdown run. White had 3 carries for 18 yards and 3 catches for 26 yards as the Patriots are without Sony Michel. Phillip Dorsett added 2 catches for 13 yards. The Patriots lead 7-0 after a blazing-fast 3:20 opening drive.
Patriots offensive starters:— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) November 5, 2018
LT: Trent Brown
LG: Joe Thuney
C: David Andrews
RG: Ted Karras
RT: Marcus Cannon
TE: Dwayne Allen
QB: Tom Brady
RB: James White
WR: Josh Gordon
WR: Julian Edelman
WR: Chris Hogan
Patriots starting D:— Doug Kyed (@DougKyed) November 5, 2018
The Packers took the field and led a methodical drive down to the 10-yard line of the Patriots with Aaron Rodgers and Packers gaining more than 10 yards on a play just once in the entire drive. The Patriots buckled down in the red zone and forced the Packers to kick a field goal, to hold on to a 7-3 lead. New England did a good job not allowing Rodgers to escape the pocket and the pressure got thisclose to the quarterback. Hopefully they’ll get home later in the game.
The Patriots wanted to respond, but a Julian Edelman drop and a sack by Mike Daniels- who blew past Ted Karras, in the line-up to replace the injured Shaq Mason- forced the Patriots to punt. Ryan Allen did a good job pinning the Packers on the 13-yard line.
The Packers drove past midfield, but excellent coverage by Jason McCourty and a well-timed blitz by Devin McCourty forced Green Bay to punt the ball back to New England. Edelman collected the ball on the 12-yard line with 14 seconds left in the quarter. This game is flying.
The Patriots picked up two first downs- one via penalty and one via a great run by Cordarrelle Patterson- before the end of the quarter. New England has the ball on their own 28-yard line to start the second quarter.
Brady found Josh Gordon for 29 yards to kick off the second quarter and then called the flea flicker to hit Edelman for 33 yards to get to the Packers 10-yard line. A rush for no gain by White and two consecutive incomplete passes (the second down pass felt a little hurried for no reason) forced New England to settle for a 28-yard field goal and a 10-3 lead.
The Packers went three-and-out (!!!) thanks to great coverage by Stephon Gilmore and good pressure by Adam Butler- and an outstanding job by Butler of not allowing Rodgers to escape around the edge for a first. The Patriots will start their next drive on the 27-yard line.
The Patriots went three-and-out in response, with two targets to James Develin and an acrobatic non-catch by Josh Gordon where his second foot was called out of bounds. Whenever you’re throwing the ball to Develin, your offense is digging deep into the playbook. It also feels like a waste of a play.
Tip of the cap to the Green Bay Packers offense. Rodgers and company led a 13-play, 79-yard drive capped off with a touchdown pass from Rodgers to Davante Adams. The Patriots need to find an answer to the Packers ground game, with Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams combining for 68 yards on 12 carries (5.67 YPC) so far, setting up favorable second and third down situations for the Packers offense. The Patriots have otherwise done a pretty good job against the Green Bay passing offense.
Who is this Cordarrelle Patterson? James White tweaked his leg on the Patriots final drive of the half and the Patriots put Patterson on the field, who promptly gained 40 rushing yards and a touchdown on his four-straight carries. New England regained the lead at 17-10, but they left 1:57 with three timeouts for Rodgers and the Packers. This half isn’t over by a long shot.
The Patriots also picked up an extra 15 yards because of an Unsportsmanlike Penalty against the Packers, which saw DB/LB Jermaine Whitehead ejected for slapping David Andrews in the helmet. Andrews definitely started the extracurricular contact after the play, but Whitehead went for the head and was caught.
Outstanding defense by the New England Patriots, including an open-field tackle of Randall Cobb by Jonathan Jones and a forced fumble by Adrian Clayborn on Aaron Rodgers forced Green Bay to punt. New England kneeled down the ball to end the half with a 17-10 lead.
The Patriots have been forced to make-do without Rob Gronkowski and Sony Michel and they’ve been doing well-enough so far. Patterson has 51 rushing yards and a touchdown on 5 carries; White has 53 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown on 9 touches. Edelman has 53 yards on 3 catches. It will be interesting to see if Patterson can continue to be successful rushing the ball in the second half, and whether or not any of the Patriots receivers can emerge as a reliable target.
On the other side of the ball, the Patriots have held Aaron Rodgers to 16 completions on 27 attempts (59.3%) for only 123 yards and a touchdown. That’s an outstanding effort by the Patriots pass defense, which is clearly an emphasis for New England. It seems like the Patriots are focusing on stopping the pass, which is why the Packers running backs have 75 rushing yards on 13 carries (5.77 YPC). The Patriots would rather the Packers win on the ground than through the air.
The Packers get the ball after the half.
Oof. On 3rd-and-6, Rodgers found rookie receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling for 51 yards on the inside of Jason McCourty, who was stuck on an island without any safety help. Aaron Jones picked up 16 yards on his next two carries to get to the Patriots 5-yard line, but a holding call pushed the Packers backwards. It was all for nothing as Rodgers found Jimmy Graham for a 15-yard touchdown to tie the game at 17.
Double oof. The Patriots had an outstanding drive with Gordon picking up 31 yards and Dwayne Allen (!!) picking up 21 yards. The Patriots made it to the Packers goal line, but James White was stuffed on first down, Patterson was stuffed on second down, and Brady was incomplete on third and fourth down. The Patriots end up with zero points and give the Packers the ball on the 1-yard line.
The Patriots defense forced an impressive three-and-out, but a holding call by Jonathan Jones on special teams pushed New England back 10 yards. Brady was sacked for an 11-yard loss to set up 4th-and-21, but a roughing-the-kicker penalty gave the Patriots new life. Patterson picked up 7 yards, but an ugly throw to nobody by Brady forced the Patriots to punt again. Allen pinned the Packers on their 7-yard line.
Apparently Valdes-Scantling is Jerry Rice? Rodgers round Valdes-Scantling for 24 yards on 3rd-and-1 with J.C. Jackson in near-perfect coverage, and then connected again for 26 yards over Jonathan Jones in solid coverage to get to the Patriots 34-yard line to close out the third quarter.
How quickly fortune changes! Lawrence Guy forced the fumble on Aaron Jones and Stephon Gilmore recovered the ball on the 23-yard line.
Brady found Phillip Dorsett for 17 yards on third down to extend the drive and Julian Edelman threw a pass to James White that picked up 37 yards to the Packers goal line. White plunged in for the score and a 24-17 lead. White has 103 yards from scrimmage and 2 touchdowns. Not a bad day.
That’s one way to help close out the game. Jason McCourty made an outstanding pass break-up on second down and Trey Flowers and Adrian Clayborn split a 9-yard sack on third down to force a three-and-out and give the Patriots the opportunity to both drain the clock and extend their lead.
How about that? Julian Edelman rushed for 17 yards around the edge, James White was stuffed for no gain, and then Brady connected with Gordon for a 55-yard touchdown to take a 31-17 lead.
Gordon: 115 yards, 1 touchdown— Rich Hill (@PP_Rich_Hill) November 5, 2018
White: 103 yards, 2 touchdowns
Edelman: 88 yards, 37 passing yards
Patterson: 73 yards, 1 touchdown
Doing all this without Gronkowski and Michel. Nice.
Ballgame? The Patriots defense rose to the occasion yet again, forcing the Packers to three third down attempts before they crossed midfield. Clayborn generated a ton of pressure (including a strip-sack called back for a penalty), and Rodgers’ fourth down prayer fell incomplete, giving the Patriots the ball back at midfield with 3:48 left in the game and a chance to ice it.
And they do it! What a gorgeous fourth quarter from the Patriots on both sides of the ball. Brady found Gordon for 15 yards and Patterson ran twice for 5 yards to burn the Packers’ remaining time outs. Edelman picked up 11 yards on an end-around to get to the two-minute warning and end the game.
The Patriots win 31-17 and move to 7-2. They are on the road next week to face the (3-4) Tennessee Titans.