New England Patriots Lose 26-21 to Green Bay Packers


Nov 30, 2014; Green Bay, WI, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) is sacked by Green Bay Packers defensive end Mike Neal (96) and defensive end Mike Daniels (76) during the fourth quarter at Lambeau Field. Green Bay won 26-21. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots and the Green Bay Packers played a championship-level game on the frozen tundra of historic Lambeau Field. After a rough first half (find the first-half Instant Analysis here) the Patriots valiantly clawed back into the game before falling 26-21.

The Patriots started the second-half with a dysfunctional drive that saw Julian Edelman tweak his left leg on a short reception and exit the game. After the three-and-out the Patriots again let the Packers charge down the field before a missed field goal ended the Packers first non-scoring drive. Unfortunately, after another short drive, the Patriots were forced to punt as their first two drives of the second half were as inefficient as their first two drives of the first half.

Fortunately for the Patriots, the defense was able to shake off a horrible non-call by the officials on third-down after a blatant push-off and offensive pass interference call on Green Bay wide receiver Davante Adams. Arms were extended, the cornerback Alfonzo Dennard went flying through the air, and the officials who had no problem calling penalties on the New England secondary swallowed their flags.

New England’s offense continued to sputter as they were unable to get any traction and looked ripe for another three-and-out. Fortunately, Green Bay cornerback Tramon Williams was flagged for illegal contact and extended the drive. On first down it was tight-end Rob Gronkowski once again with a big play as he went for 19-yards out of the two-tight end set lining up next to TIm Wright.

For the first time in a while there were Jonas Gray and Aaron Dobson sightings near the end of the third quarter. Gray rushed for four yards on the last play of the third quarter and earlier it was Dobson on a deep route coming up lame with what looked like a hamstring issue on the one time the Patriots called his number.

However, it was the start of the fourth quarter so the Patriots turned to their hammer, LeGarrette Blount rushing for 13 yards on third-and-one and then for 15 more on the next play. Once in the red zone, it was Brady to LaFell in the left corner of the end zone on a back shoulder throw with young back-up cornerback Davon House playing for starter Sam Shields who was injured in the first half with a possible concussion. The touchdown cut the lead to 23-21 with just under 14 minutes to play in the game.

The Packers were quick to respond as they added a field goal and put the Patriots in position to win the game with a touchdown drive. Unfortunately it was not to be. After driving down deep into Green Bay territory, the drive stalled. When Stephen Gostkowski missed a 47-yard field goal it seemed as if the game was over.

Many were questioning the decision to go for three rather than take a shot on four-and-forever. The Patriots would have been down two points had Gostkowski made the kick. With two timeouts and the two-minute warning the Patriots would have needed a stop and field goal to win. As it was, a stop on third down would have created an exciting least minute either way. Unfortunately, like most of the game the defense was unable to force an incompletion as Rodgers converted essentially ending the game.

Yes, it was a tough loss, but New England fought back and lost a close road game against a top opponent after a grueling stretch of tough foes. It was a disappointing loss, but a positive loss. The Patriots have a chip back on their shoulder as they head into December. A tough loss, but one to motivate down the stretch.