Elliott Harrison from NFL.com has been counting down the top 20 games of 2010, and number three on his list is the New England Patriots-Green Bay Packers Sunday night sizzler from Week 15. The eventual super Bowl champions were without QB Aaron Rodgers, but backup Matt Flynn did an admirable job filling in. The Patriots went on to win 31-27, but Flynn had the Packers in the red zone in the final seconds of the game. Miscommunication between Flynn and the sidelines prevented the Packers from getting a play off in the final seconds, time ran out, and the Pats secured the victory. Here is why Harrison elected to make this the #3 game of the season:
After a long day on “NFL Redzone,” eyes bloodshot and taxed, this was not a game I expected to stay glued to. Yet, I couldn’t shut it off.
Despite Flynn at quarterback and the myriad of injuries Green Bay already had prior to losing Rodgers, the Packers showed — cheesy sounding or not — the heart of a champion. Meanwhile, New England gave a glimpse of its vulnerability, an ominous sign of an early playoff exit.
Beyond that, this game felt like a Super Bowl preview, as even though the Packers’ playoff future was in doubt, they sure looked like the NFC’s most complete team.
Harrison has a great point about the Patriots in this game. Their inability to put the Packers away with a backup QB starting in place of Aaron Rodgers was not a good sign. Patriots fans held their breath all season when the defense was on the field, but prior to this game, it looked like it was on the upswing. The Packers and Matt Flynn surely put fresh doubts into fans’ minds, and they were realized when the Pats were eliminated in their first playoff game once again.
The most memorable play from the game? No argument with Harrison here, it was Dan Connolly’s 71-yard kickoff return. Who can forget Connolly carrying the ball like a loaf of bread as he kept on rumbling down the field. Connolly’s return was the longest ever by an offensive lineman. Unfortunately, Connolly would suffer a concussion later in the game and miss most of the rest of the regular season.