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Quick-hit thoughts on the Patriots’ 31-17 win over the Packers

Thoughts on a matchup between two greats.

NFL: Green Bay Packers at New England Patriots Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

The Patriots won the battle of the GOATs (haha) against the Packers on Sunday night. Here are my quick-hit thoughts from the game. In case you’re a new reader, these are my in-game notes that will break down individual plays and drives. Here we go:

  • I have to believe the Patriots intentionally brought in Fran Rogers to sing the National Anthem. Aaron must know he’s not the only talented Rogers in the building. It must be messing with his head pre game.
  • Both the Patriots and Packers start their first drives without a huddle. Works very well for both teams, but the Packers stall in the red zone. Their screen call on 3rd and goal from the 15 was just bizarre.
  • That call on Patrick Chung for holding Jimmy Graham on that first drive is just terrible.
  • The Patriots then go four-and-out after a first down on the drive’s first play. When it looked like they’d be flipping field position, Ryan Allen booms a punt and pinned the Packers deep in their own end.
  • The Packers only rush three on the sack of Brady but drop a ton of guys off the line and confuse the Patriots offensive line. Never a good sign when they rush three and two get into the backfield.
  • The Patriots bring pressure and Devin McCourty forces an incompletion from Aaron Rodgers which in turn forces a Packers punt.
  • After a great catch by Josh Gordon on the sideline, they run a Flea Flickahh to Edelman down to the 10.
  • But they finish the drive in disappointment in only a FG. The big play was Edelman not looking for the ball on 2nd down. Yes, there was a guy there, but I think Edelman breaks that tackle and walks into the end zone
  • Heck of a play by Davante Adams to knock the ball away from Stephon Gilmore on what would’ve been a sure interception. The Patriots force a punt on the next play thanks to some pressure up the middle by Adam Butler.
  • Kenjon Barner decleats Clay Matthews on the first play of the next drive, but the Patriots go three-and-out after Josh Gordon can’t keep his second foot in on what would’ve been a sensational catch.
  • Adrian Clayborn should be cut immediately. I have yet to see him make a play. He gets fooled badly by Rodgers and was unable to pressure him at the goal line, which allows him to find Adams for a touchdown to tie the game.
  • The Packers decision to throw three consecutive times from the 2 when they have to gain less than two on any given carry this game is just plain stupid though. They may have scored, but that decision made absolutely no sense.
  • James White just has a Charlie horse. James White just has a Charlie horse. James White just has a Charlie horse. James White just has a Charlie horse.
  • Cordarrelle Patterson may not be a running back, but damn does he run hard. May want to invest in some tear-away shirts though.
  • Rodgers can take a shot at the crown here. Has a chance for the Brady Parlay (a score right before the half and then a score on the first possession of the second half), let’s see what he does with it.
  • Clayborn finally makes a play, but the strip goes out of bounds. But he does force them to punt. So Rodgers does not complete the Brady Parlay.
  • Overall, an up and down first half, but the Patriots have the lead, so it’s not all bad. Need to see more out of the offense, but I’ve loved Patterson at running back this half. Hope they keep it up in the 2nd half.
  • After the Packers tie it on the first drive of the second half, the Patriots drive stalls at the goal line when Brady and Gordon can’t hook up on 4th down. Hate them calling pass plays on 3rd and 4th down in that situation.
  • The Patriots do nothing to capitalize off a roughing the kicker penalty. The drive ends with Brady making a particularly bad throw on 3rd down, missing a wide open Chris Hogan.
  • The third quarter ends with Aaron Rodgers making two nice throws and Marquez Valdez-Scantling making two fantastic catches to drive the Packers all the way to the Patriots 34 after having 3rd and short deep in their territory. The Patriots are going to need to step it up on offense in the fourth if they expect to have a chance to win this game.
  • They start the quarter with a great strip by Lawrence Guy and a very heads-up recovery by Stephon Gilmore. Let’s see if the offense can make something happen
  • More trickeration! After a 3rd and long completion to Phillip Dorsett, Brady throws behind the line to Edelman who throws it across the field to James White, who follows a caravan down to the 2. White cashes in with his second rushing touchdown of the night three plays later.
  • Adrian Clayborn makes another play! But let’s not get carried away, it was only a half sack with Flowers getting the other half.
  • Gordon with a huge play for the touchdown! I thought the throw was going to be late, but Brady got it in just in time, and Gordon broke the arm tackle and walked in 55 yards later.
  • Clayborn with two plays on the ensuing drive by the Packers, one of them didn’t count because of a penalty, but he pushes the pocket and forces the bad throw by Rodgers on fourth down. He must have heard me ranting on here, and in the stands, and stepped his game up.
  • Brady quick snaps to catch the Packers with 12 men on the field, then hits Josh Gordon to pick up a first down to almost seal the game, then a reverse to Edelman gets the final first down of the game.
  • The Patriots weren’t perfect, but they played good enough to win. They’re missing a ton of players, and not just role players, great players, and they still win these games. No Rob Gronkowski, no Sony Michel, no Shaq Mason — and they still put up 31 points.
  • Davante Adams is a beast, and Stephon Gilmore shut him down tonight. He is becoming one of the best corners in the league, and is a huge weapon for the Patriots on defense.
  • I’d be surprised to see either Gronk or Michel next week in Tennessee. You obviously want them in the game as much as you can, but I want them healthy in January. If sitting them out another game helps make that possible, I’m on board.

Pat is the host of The Patriot Nation Podcast

Interact with him on Twitter @plane_pats