An interception for a touchdown, a 70 yard kickoff return by an offensive lineman, throwing the ball deep late when extending a drive was needed and finally, not being ready with a play and wasting most of the last 20 seconds of the game.
Unfortunately the mistakes overshadowed a lot of very good things the Packers did:
They ran the ball with success.
They chewed up the clock, keeping the ball away from Tom Brady as much as possible.
They played the Patriots toe to toe, which many people (including myself) thought would not be possible without Aaron Rodgers.
Matt Flynn showed real grit. He doesn’t have the greatest arm, but with the right play calling, he can be and was effective.
They dominated the time of possession, 41 minutes to 19.
So while we can all be satisfied with the effort, handing the Patriots 14 points is a sure way to watch them walk off the field as winners.
The Packers know they outplayed the Patriots, but they have nothing to show for it other than the belief they can play with anyone. But are moral victories useful at this point in the season? Probably not.
Luckily, it doesn’t affect their playoff chances and we can all be proud of the Packers. Just a shame they couldn’t have a win to show for it. To borrow a quote from Vince Lombardi, “We didn’t lose the game, we just ran out of time.”
My game day impressions:
The Packers day couldn’t have started any better today. Needing help from the Philadelphia Eagles and the Detroit Lions, both came through with come-from-behind wins. Down by 21 with less than seven minutes left in the game, the Eagles win could certainly be called a miraculous early Christmas present for the Packers.
Thanks to those two wins, the Patriots game tonight really doesn’t matter as far as playoff implications go. The Packers once again control their own playoff destiny. Win out, and they’re in.
If third string QB Joe Webb and his Vikings were to somehow upset the Vikings on Monday Night, the Packers would still win the Division by winning out.
This all makes watching tonight’s game so much more relaxing.
MY KEY TO THE GAME: If I had to pick JUST ONE thing, it would be this: If ever the Packers could use some points from the defense or special teams, this would be the game. If the Packers can get some “bonus” points in this game, then there is hope for the Rodgers-less Packers.
My 1A key to the game: Control the clock and keep the ball out of Brady”s hands as much as possible. That doesn’t just mean run the ball. A short possession passing game with some runs thrown in will do fine. Limit the Patriot’s offensive opportunities.
Inactive for Green Bay on Sunday: Aaron Rodgers, Pat Lee, Josh Gordy, James Starks, Frank Zombo, Nick McDonald, Marshall Newhouse, Cullen Jenkins.
God, it hurts to see that first name up there.
James Starks inactive is a mild surprise. My theory is you’ll see more of the Packers RBs catching passes tonight. Simplify passing game for Flynn. And Jackson and Nance are better at pass protection than Starks. Packers don’t want to go to QB #3
MM Comments on WTMJ Pregame show:
Eagles: Can’t worry about what’s going on around the league.
Aaron will be evaluated on Monday and we’ll have more information about him on Wednesday.
I don’t think it’s a big moment for Matt Flynn, it’s important for our entire team to come out and do their jobs.
We’re not going to reinvent the wheel. We’re going to beat this team with fundamentals.
Belichick: Distinctive way he approaches the game of football. Not afraid to change completely defenses from week to week.
Brady: Great vision. Knows where everybody is at all times.
Detroit loss: We’re clearly past it. Important for us to come out of here tonight with a win.
Mike McCarthy, as much as I criticize you, the move to defer to the Pats and then onsides kick the opening kickoff was stunningly ballsy and the perfect moment. Bravo!
And Mike, does this mean you feel the need to go above and beyond to have a chance to win this game?
The Packers rarely fool anybody with their screens. Very much telegraph it and the timing is always off.
Packers offensive line are just not that swift when it comes to picking up blitzes. Without Rodgers back there to burn them, expect NE to blitz more than they usually do.
Not to sound ungrateful for the good start, but the Packers will need to score TDs tonight.
And this is why… The patriots march right down thye field for a quick 7.
AJ Hawk once again turns his back when blocked and completely loses sight of the ball carrier. So weak. Result: TD
They can throw at Shields all night, but they’re not going to out run him on deep routes…
SCORE: Packers 3 Patriots 7
Perfect throw by Flynn to Jones for the TD, but what does Jones seemingly have against leaving his feet to go get the ball? Gives the DBs too much of a chance to get a hand in…
McCarthy shows confidence in the D. 3rd and seventeen and he just runs John Kuhn and punts the ball.
BJ Raji unusually active tonight. Covering a lot of ground.
So far, Packers D doing as well as we could possibly ask for…
Nice job by Flynn on a third down pass to Nelson, as the Packers again fail to pick up the blitz. Two guys on Clifton again. Um, Daryn, where are you?
A good running back immediately sees there is nothing there outside and quickly cuts it inside. Jackson waits, and waits and gets tackled for a loss.
Packers finally timed a screen right and the OL actually blocked! Amazing. Great hurdling effort by Kuhn, also…
After a great clock-eating drive Thank you Mike McCarthy for calling that play at the right time… Always my biggest criticism of your goalline playcalling.
And then the most embarrassing special teams play of the season – and that’s saying a lot. An offensive lineman with a 70 yard runback?
More poor clock management. If Packers call a timeout with New England on the 3 yard line on 3rd down, they get the ball back with 1:40 left in the half. Plenty of time to attempt to gain some first downs instead of just conceding the half. I thought you wanted to win this game, Mike?
McCarthy came into the half roaring like a lion and left like a scared lamb. If you really want to win this game, the go for it! 1:40 would have been plenty of time to get into field goal position.
SCORE: Packers 17 Patriots 14
Jones being his passive self once again = INT. Awful tackling = TD
When did Kuhn turn into an Olympic hurdler?
I just saw Scott Wells block on a screen. Really, that’s like seeing the rarest of birds…
John Kuhn can fly like superman…
LOL – Danny Woodhead trying to block BJ Raji. I don’t think Raji even felt him on the way to his second sack.
So, is Mike McCarthy a better play-caller with an average quarterback? YES!
SCORE: Packers 24 Patriots 21
Packers can’t run the ball in on the goal line: And that’s why passing on first down to jennings on the last goal line situation was such a great call. OL can’t get a push down there.
I don’t think they should have gone for the TD on 4th down, but I sure think they needed to try different plays on the goal line. The Kuhn dive is expected and not the best choice.
Desmond Bishop might be wearing down a bit. Has looked gassed on several plays. He’s never played this much in a season before, also.
Shields WAY too unsure of himself on kickoff returns. Just pick a lane and blast into it – whatever happens, happens.
Can the Packers please get that pick now? Should of had a few…
Well, New England takes the lead 31-27 and the Packers have seven minutes and sixty yards to the end zone.
3rd and eight, packers on the New England 40, need to sustain the drive and McCarthy has Flynn throw deep to a tight end. Yes, the old MM rears his ugly head again. He obviously doesn’t see the value in extending drives…
Packers defense holds and the Packers get the ball back again, this time with 4 minutes left and 57 yards to go. Let’s go!
McCarthy AGAIN tries to go deep with Flynn. His floater is intercepted, but the Packers luck out with a penalty against the Patriots. HEY MIKE, FLYNN IS NOT AARON RODGERS. HE CAN NOT MAKE THOSE PASSES. YOU WERE DOING WELL, CALLING GOOD PLAYS FOR FLYNN. WHAT HAPPENED?
Matt Flynn doesn’t have much of an arm, but he’s got grit.
What a disappointing way to end the game. Flynn looking to the sideline for help and apparently getting none…
Clock management… again…
Final Score: Packers 27 Patriots 31——————
Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.