Packers vs. Patriots: Quick Takes from Green Bay’s 26-21 Win

Quick takes from the Packers' 26-21 win over the Patriots in Week 13. 

The Green Bay Packers (9-3) missed several opportunities but still managed to beat the New England Patriots (9-3) in Week 13, using another dominant home start and an impressive late close to snap New England’s winning streak and establish Green Bay as the front runner to grab the top seed in the NFC. 

 

It was over when…

…quarterback Aaron Rodgers hit on his 24th and final completion, finding Randall Cobb for seven yards through an impossible window on third-and-4 late in the fourth quarter. The Packers were then able to kneel three times and secure the five-point win. 

 

Game Balls

  • Aaron Rodgers: He missed on some early throws that he typically makes in his sleep. But this was another mostly flawless performance, as Rodgers finished with 390 total yards (22 rushing), two touchdowns and no interceptions. He averaged 9.7 yards per attempt and had a passer rating of 112.6. Rodgers should have had a third touchdown to Davante Adams, who made a spirited run at a game ball with six catches for 121 yards but dropped what could have been a dagger touchdown late. Rodgers still out-dueled Tom Brady. 
  • Dom Capers: Brady got the best of Capers a few times, but the Packers were rarely overwhelmed by a hot offense. Overall, Capers’ unit delivered pressure, limited big plays and did just enough in run defense. When it really mattered, the Packers forced New England to attempt a field goal down five. The Patriots averaged 39.6 points per game over the club’s seven-game win streak, and Green Bay held New England to just 21. The Packers won’t lose many games when giving up only 21 points, regardless of opponent and especially at home. Capers deserves credit for the performance. 

 

Stat of the Game 

84: New England ran for just 84 yards on 18 carries. Brandon Bolden scored on the ground and LaGarrette Blount averaged almost six yards per carry, but the Patriots running game was far from the difference-maker many believed it would be. 

 

Other Notes

-- Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson combined to catch nine passes for 138 yards and one huge score (Nelson’s 45-yarder before the half), but it was the secondary targets that consistently hurt the Patriots. Adams was a focal point (team-high 11 targets), Richard Rodgers caught a 32-yard touchdown and Andrew Quarless made two first-down receptions. The Packers received 230 receiving yards from players not named Cobb or Nelson. Playmakers are emerging behind the big two, which is one of the biggest differences between the Packers offense in Week 1 and the Packers offense now. 

-- The Packers won a game in which there was not a substantial gap at the quarterback position. That’s a confidence-building accomplishment. Maybe more importantly, Green Bay did not play its best game and still beat a team that had won seven straight games. The Packers went 0/4 scoring touchdowns in the red zone, missed a field goal, dropped a touchdown, allowed Brady to play relatively well (245 yards, two touchdowns, 102.7 passer rating) and gave up 98 receiving yards to tight end Rob Gronkowski. And still won. The process probably doesn’t matter much when you beat a Hall of Fame quarterback and head coach. Any doubt remaining about whether or not this team is Super Bowl caliber just went out of the window. 

-- Credit is due for both head coach Mike McCarthy and the Packers offensive line. The Patriots tried to use Darrelle Revis and double teams to take away Cobb and Nelson, and McCarthy had all the right counters. The Packers went to Adams early and often, lined up Nelson all over the field and got creative with Cobb, including plugging him in next to Rodgers in the backfield. The result was Green Bay dictating the matchups, and not the other way around. Meanwhile, Green Bay’s offensive line continued its dominating run. Rodgers took three sacks, but he was rarely under immediate pressure. The Packers also rushed for 130 yards, including 98 from Eddie Lacy. Neither McCarthy nor the offensive line has received enough praise for how well the Packers are playing right now. 

-- The Packers enter the final quarter of the season with a legitimate chance to finish 13-3. In fact, the expectation should now probably be 13 wins. Green Bay doesn’t look beatable at Lambeau Field, and road trips to Buffalo and Tampa Bay—while not gimmies—are games the Packers should win. Finishing the final quarter 4-0 would guarantee a division title and home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. 

-- The Packers stay home to welcome the NFC South-leading Atlanta Falcons (5-7) to Lambeau Field next Monday night. Atlanta just handed Arizona its third loss of the season, and a healthy Julio Jones is a game-breaker. Still, the Falcons are 5-7 for a reason. The Packers will be expected to get win No. 10 in Week 14.  

 

Zach Kruse contributes to Cheesehead TV. He is also the Lead Writer for the NFC North at Bleacher Report. You can reach him on Twitter @zachkruse2 or by email at [email protected]. 

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Comments (24)

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

November 30, 2014 at 10:17 pm

Linsley has been incredible. That was Vince Wilfork he neutralized.

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jbromusic's picture

November 30, 2014 at 10:53 pm

he should be a candidate for rookie of the year. i can't think of too many guys that have played better than him

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

November 30, 2014 at 10:15 pm

"84: New England ran for just 84 yards on 18 carries."

I was surprised the Patriots ran so little. Especially in the 2nd half. I think Josh McDaniels will regret that then he does the film.

Overall a gutty game by the Packers. If I had known they were going to go 0-4 I would never have thought it would be a win.

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FITZCORE1252's picture

November 30, 2014 at 10:30 pm

"Finishing the final quarter 4-0 would guarantee a division title and home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs."

Question - If the Cards run the table, they would have home field throughout, no? I don't know that anybody thinks they will (i think they have a couple more losses coming), but if we (yes, we) run the table, we're not "guaranteed" HF... at this moment in time. Right?

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jbromusic's picture

November 30, 2014 at 10:56 pm

if both the packers and cards win out both teams would end up with the same record. wouldn't the tiebreaker be the amount of total wins in the NFC?

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lucky953's picture

November 30, 2014 at 10:59 pm

If two teams have identical records, the first tiebreaker is head to head, then won-lost % within the conference.

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jbromusic's picture

November 30, 2014 at 11:01 pm

correct and since we don't play AZ this year it would be decided by wins in the NFC

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Bearmeat's picture

November 30, 2014 at 11:35 pm

Zach is wrong. If GB and AZ both win out, AZ gets homefield. However, the desert red birds goose is cooked. Their remaining schedule is brutal and they've got a massive black hole at QB and a banged up OL/RB core that has fizzled at the wrong time.

Seattle's going to win that division. AZ may miss the playoffs. Our real motivation to keep winning is to stay a game ahead of SEA and keep pace with PHI. We DO NOT want to be going to either of those places in January (esp SEA). Much easier wins at home in both cases.

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Zach Kruse's picture

December 01, 2014 at 08:15 am

Guaranteed was the wrong word there, but I was working under the assumption that Arizona loses at least one game over the next four.

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FITZCORE1252's picture

December 01, 2014 at 12:09 pm

Gotcha

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Mojo's picture

November 30, 2014 at 10:25 pm

Thought that ARod was trying to run out the clock on the play where he held the ball for 12 seconds. Don't know if people realize how good this o-line is playing.

And that leaves me to one of my pet peeves. If you're doing nothing as a d-lineman and getting your ass kicked, the best thing that can happen to you is to hit the ground. Then for whatever reason the refs will call a hold on the guy you're going against. It's happened to Linsley a few times already this year and they called one on Buluga tonight. Don't care about the arms are outside his body crap - it's complete bs. And as long as I'm ranting another crap call is when a receiver runs into a stationary DB, like what happened to Tramon, and then gets a defensive holding call, Once again - bs,

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

December 01, 2014 at 01:33 am

I agree with your pet peeves, but not as applied to those two plays. Looked to me like Bulaga was holding, and I didn't think Tramon was exactly stationary. I thought both were pretty clear cut penalties.

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lucky953's picture

November 30, 2014 at 11:05 pm

Excellent analysis. Big confidence builder, which will help in the bigger games to come. I'm simply amazed this defense held the Pats to 7 points in the second half. That is championship defense and we didn't even need a turnover to win, which I was convinced we would have to get. Soooo impressed with this defense.

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Allan Murphy's picture

November 30, 2014 at 11:07 pm

Hey Kate Nolan 11 guys still like ya ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha :)

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Otto's picture

November 30, 2014 at 11:35 pm

I've watched the pass to Cobb for the last 1st down of the game at least a dozen times. I still don't see A. how Rodgers fit the ball in there and B. how Cobb catches (holds on) the ball with two guys on him.

Rodgers - MVP
Cobb - pay the man

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Idiot Fan's picture

December 01, 2014 at 12:12 am

I've gone to NFL.com and watched ESPN a couple times, and I can't find anyone who will show a replay of that play from the high-wire cam or something else closer. I want to see just how close it was. From the LOS cam it looked absolutely incredible.

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Bearmeat's picture

November 30, 2014 at 11:37 pm

MM out Belichicked the man himself.

Let that sink in.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

December 01, 2014 at 01:43 am

Cobb was impressive. Great catch and pass to secure the 1st down dagger. As Otto wrote, pay the man. I did not see many particular attempts on GB's part to free up Nelson. Did they move him to the slot at all? I did see some bunch formations - loved it.

Kudos to all of the rookies for playing so well. Linsley had a nice game against Wilfork, a tall task. Adams, other than the rather significant minus when he dropped the sure TD pass, stepped up. Ha-Ha, other than failing to wrap up on Gronkowski (of all players!), played pretty well. R. Rodgers had the long TD pass.

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Turophile's picture

December 01, 2014 at 04:29 am

In some games the Packers seem to have extra 'juice'. This was one of those games where everyone seemed to give just a little extra.

Big props to Rodgers for taking what was there, much easier said than done.

To misquote Terry Pratchett, Linsley, him diamond (in fact the whole O line was).

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RCPackerFan's picture

December 01, 2014 at 07:14 am

Great, Great, Great Win!

My biggest take away from this game is that they are playoff ready. If they can play at Lambeau throughout the playoffs I think it will be similar to Seahawks playing at home. Its going to be very tough for anyone to come in and win.

What I like about the offense right now, is that its as dangerous as its ever been. I love how they started the game basically using Lacy the entire way down the field. What that did was set a tone for the game. They forced the Patriots to have to bring help up more.
And now if teams focus to shut down Cobb and Nelson, they have other ways to beat you. Adams, Rodgers, Quarless, Lacy are all weapons for Rodgers.

The defense played really, really well... Sure they weren't perfect, but to hold the Patriots to 21 points when they are averaging 40+ is about all that you can ask for.

Yesterday was the first time that I felt like Dujuan Harris was going to break off a long run on a KR. He was so close a couple of times.

Great Team victory.

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egbertsouse's picture

December 01, 2014 at 08:26 am

I was surprised and happy that The Hoodie didn't run the ball 30 times. Maybe he bought in to all that network Brady vs. Rodgers hype?

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pacman's picture

December 01, 2014 at 09:04 am

My favorite part of the game was the camera on Brady after the last Packer 1st down. But you have to appreciate his competitiveness.

The other was the camera on AR after the game holding the ball. This was one ball he wanted to save - beating Brady. Now he has to get more rings than Brady!

It was a bit painful and nerve-racking seeing the Pats come back and march down field but to expect to shut them down would be too much. But after the dropped TD pass and missed FG, I must admit to being nervous about bad karma.

Kudos to MM for a good game plan and to Capers (who I was ready to fire last year) and all coaches for getting this new system working.

With Raji back next year, D line should send us straight to the SB (after winning it this year, of course!). Not much to improve on offense. LOL!

My biggest concern is that we don't have enough money to keep everyone and that AR will want to renegotiate his contract for about $40M/season.

Go Pack!

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Clay Zombo's picture

December 01, 2014 at 12:39 pm

The Buffalo game freaks me out a little bit, they are tough and the last time GB faced neckbeard Orton, he ruined a perfect regular season. Lions will be tough too.

I dont count chickens until they hatch.

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Samson's picture

December 01, 2014 at 04:21 pm

Good points. Somehow the Bills have already won 7 games. Plus that's also @ Buffalo. Also, the Lions may be much healthier by the last game of the season. ---- Hopefully the Pack aren't as over confident like too many fans seem to be at this point.

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