Patriots' Brandon LaFell catches a touchdown pass in front of
Green Bay Packers' Davon House (31) during the second half.
GREEN BAY, Wis. — Aaron Rodgers made trademark pinpoint passes. Eddie
Lacy powered out tough yards on the ground. The defense held firm in
a frantic fourth quarter.
This could be one super combination for the Green
|Green Bay made the
biggest stop in the end after sacking Brady.
"So when you've got a guy like that, you have to just
keep on chopping wood
and you never know when you'll get to him," Daniels
said. "And as you saw, the last defensive play of the
game is when we got to him."
Rodgers threw for 368 yards and two touchdowns,
and Green Bay fended off the New England Patriots 26-21 Sunday in a
high-profile matchup between Super Bowl contenders.
"We have some big goals, and we're getting into
December football now with a chance with everything right in front
of us," Rodgers said.
He bested Tom Brady in the first meeting between
the star quarterbacks as starters. They were the main attractions in
a down-to-the-wire thriller.
Rodgers connected with Richard Rodgers and Jordy
Nelson for long touchdowns in the first half.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers celebrates a 45-yard touchdown
Jordy Nelson during the first half.
Leading by five, the defense made a
late stand for the Packers (9-3). With Green Bay back in zone
coverage, Mike Daniels and Mike Neal combined to sack Brady on third
down for a 9-yard loss, and kicker Stephen Gostkowkski pushed a
47-yard field-goal attempt wide right with 2:40 left.
The Packers sealed it after Rodgers converted to Cobb on third-and-4
with the Patriots out of timeouts.
"The point total was enough to win the game," coach Mike McCarthy
said. "I thought (the) defense did a lot of good things, and really
I think the end of the game is what you're looking for as a coach."
Not quite the ending Brady had in mind.
"I hate to take a sack in that situation. I really would have liked
to score there," he said.
"I just wish we would have won this one. We put a lot into this one,
and this was a great test for us. I think the guys knew how
important this was for our season."
Brady finished 22 of 35 for 245 yards and two touchdown passes to
Brandon LaFell for New England (9-3), which had its seven-game
winning streak snapped. The second score came from 15 yards early in
the fourth quarter to get within 23-21.
The lead could have been wider for the Packers if not for some
hiccups in the red zone.
Green Bay settled for four field goals from Mason Crosby of 35 yards
or less, including a 28-yarder to make it a five-point lead with
8:41 left. That kick came after rookie Davante Adams dropped a
potential touchdown pass on third-and-5 from the New England 10.
On his knees, a frustrated Rodgers buried his helmet into the turf
But he was celebrating at the end. Green Bay has won four in a row
and eight of nine.
Packers' Jordy Nelson scores a touchdown in front of New England
Devin McCourty after a catch during the first half.
"I just go back to our philosophy of winning. First,
you have to find ways to win. Learn how to win, No. 1, but then
you've got to find ways to win and you have to do it as many
different ways as possible," McCarthy said.
Rodgers finished 24 of 38, while Lacy had 98 yards
on 21 carries, including 26 on the ground in the fourth-quarter
drive that led to Crosby's field goal. Adams had a career-best 121
yards on six receptions.
"I said all week they had good skill players. They
have good everything," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said.
Rodgers extended his NFL-record streaks to 360
consecutive passes at home and 31 touchdown passes in a row at home
without an interception. His last interception at home came nearly
two years ago on Dec. 2, 2012.
The Packers had been blowing past opponents at
home with big early leads, turning the final 30 minutes of games at
Lambeau Field into glorified practices. But this game had the feel
of a championship fight down to the final minutes.
Patriots' Tom Brady walks off the field after talking to Green
Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers.
New England punched back after falling behind 13-0
in the first quarter.
Brandon Bolden twisted his way up the middle for a
6-yard scoring run early in the second quarter to get New England on
the board. LaFell's 2-yard catch with 1:09 left in the quarter drew
New England within 16-14.
But the quick-strike Packers were at their best
late in the first half. Rodgers found Nelson in stride over the
middle, and the receiver beat standout cornerback Darrelle Revis for
a 45-yard touchdown, outracing safety Devin McCourty and tagging the
front pylon before falling out of bounds.
Six-foot-6 tight end Rob Gronkowski had 98 yards
on seven catches, proving to be a matchup nightmare once again for a
Green Bay made the biggest stop in the end after
"So when you've got a guy like that, you have to
just keep on chopping wood and you never know when you'll get to
him," Daniels said. "And as you saw, the last defensive play of the
game is when we got to him."
NOTES: Packers CB Sam Shields left after
suffering a concussion in the second quarter. Backup LB Jamari
Lattimore left with an ankle injury in the second while on the kick
return unit. ... New England was held to its lowest point total
since falling 41-14 on Sept. 29 at Kansas City, the Patriots'