In what was supposed to be an epic battle between two of the best signal-callers to ever grace the field, both Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers were about as average as it comes in the Pats’ 31-17 win over the Packers on Sunday night.
Much of this had to do with stellar defensive play on both sides, as both quarterbacks failed to crack 300 passing yards. In fact, were it not for two big catches on consecutive plays at the end of the third quarter by Packers rookie Marquez Valdes-Scantling, totaling 50 yards, Rodgers would have barely topped 200 yards. The Packers also held Brady to just over 220 yards and no scores heading into the fourth quarter.
Basically, if you took the over and were expecting offensive firepower all night, you were severely disappointed.
I will also humbly eat a gigantic piece of crow pie this week, as I was a bit too quick to write off Cordarrelle Patterson as a runner in last week’s game notes. While I do stand by the fact he looked terrible outside of one play in Buffalo, the 27-year-old athletic specimen looked fantastic toting the rock last night, rumbling his way to 61 yards on 11 carries – which included muscling his way into the endzone on a five-yard goal-line score in the second quarter.
(To be fair, two games is still a pretty small sample size from which to draw any conclusions. But all I’m saying is that Patterson looked great last night. Good for you, bud.)
Here are a few other takeaways from last night’s solid win:
- Trey Flowers, man. He finished third on the team in tackles and had a half-sack to boot. But, again, it’s what he does outside the stat sheet that truly counts, as his motor doesn’t stop all game long. The play that stood out to me was a 2nd-and-5 attempt for the Packers with about 1:50 to go in the first quarter, where Flowers absolutely plows through his first blocker and quickly sheds the next two guys on a DOUBLE-block to get in Rodgers’s face, forcing an incomplete pass and a third down. The guy continues to be an absolute force, especially these past couple of weeks. There’s just not much else to say.
- Kyle Van Noy had another nice night as well, particularly as a run-stopper, finishing with nine solid tackles.
- Even with Shaq Mason being out this week, Brady was only sacked twice and hit just one other time. Much of this, however, might have to do with the fact that Brady has been blitzed at the lowest rate in the league this season, as pointed out during the broadcast last night by Cris Collinsworth. Not to take anything away from the offensive line, but apparently teams haven’t really been gunning too hard to get after him – which does, in fact, make a lot of sense considering the Pats’ dink-and-dunk approach which doesn’t call for Brady to hold on to the ball for much more than a second or two. Either way, it’s a good thing. I just thought it was interesting.
- As if he needed yet another feather in his cap, Brady also became the first player ever to surpass 80,000 total yards in his career (including the postseason). The previous record-holder was Peyton Manning, with 79,978, but Brady took the top spot on the team’s go-ahead drive in the fourth quarter last night.
- I couldn’t believe my eyes, but Dwayne Allen actually had a catch last night! He was able to muster up a whole 21 yards on ONE whole target across 66 snaps, all while collecting even more of his totally reasonable $4 MILLION SALARY this year. (Catching the sarcasm at all there?)
- Julian Edelman and Josh Gordon are the best pair of receivers Brady’s had in YEARS. They both dominated last night.
So, while the offense was definitely slowed a bit by a well-performing Green Bay defense, Brady & Co. were able to do just enough to grab a respectable win. Just over halfway through the season, the team is now five games over .500, and besides two respective matchups with the Vikings and Steelers, the Pats only have the Titans, Jets, Bills, and Dolphins left to worry about. (No really, though! That’s it!)
Be sure to check back in with The 300s this Thursday for our preview of Sunday’s matchup with the Titans down in Nashville.