The first quarter of the much anticipated match-up between the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots would be one-sided. The quarter ended with the Packers leading the total yards category 209-32.
Green Bay won the toss and elected to receive the opening kickoff. Eddie Lacy did most of the work to get them down the field. Aaron Rodgers was pressured on a blitz and had to release the ball a split too soon before Davante Adams had broken open.
Mason Crosby lines up his first of four successful field goals in the Packers win over the Patriots Sunday. Raymond T. Rivard photograph
The Packers would again drive down the field but it would come to a stop. Crosby would connect from 35 yards out to make it 6-0. Crosby’s kickoff would go out-of-bounds, giving the Patriots good field position at the 40.
TV cameras would show Aaron Rodgers’ left hand that hand been made bloody by a cleat on his 17 yard scramble on a previous drive.
Dom Capers’ defense would again hold, giving Rodgers the ball back. After a huge completion to the first quarter star Davante Adams, Rodgers found tight end Richard Rodgers for a 32 yard touchdown. The score would give Green Bay a 13-0 lead.
Davante Adams was the star of the first quarter catching 3 balls for 90 yards. Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb had 0 receptions in the first quarter, however Green Bay had 209 yards to New England’s 32 yards.
Green Bay would again have a great drive that stalled deep in Patriots territory. Mason Crosby would be the second Packer behind Ryan Longwell to go over 1,000 career points. Crosby would make it 16-7 from 33 yards.
Tom Brady would find a wide-open Brandon Lafell for a 2 yard touchdown. The Patriots would narrow the gap to a score of 16-14.
Darrelle Revis had done an outstanding job on Jordy Nelson during the first half. Nelson would finally prove that a Sports Illustrated cover jinx was just an old tale, as he would haul in a 45-yard touchdown pass with only 14 seconds left in the half.
Green Bay would lead 23-14 at the half. Aaron Rodgers was 14-23 for 282 yards and 2 touchdowns compared to Tom Brady’s 12-16 for 148 yards and 1 touchdown. The Packers led total yards 387-184 at the half while scoring on all five possessions.
Ha Ha Clinton Dix mixes it up with Rob Gronkowkski late in the fourth quarter of the Green Bay Packers win over the New England Patriots. Raymond T. Rivard photograph
The third quarter would be a defensive battle. Mason Crosby would miss only his third field goal of the year from 40 yards out. They also punted for the first time in the game, with 2:30 left in the third.
New England didn’t waste much time in the fourth. Brady connected again with Lafell from 15 yards out to make it a 23-21 game.
Davante Adams had played a magnificent game before dropping a huge third down touchdown pass that would have ultimately iced the game. Crosby chipped one in from 28 yards capping an 0 for 4 red zone rate for the Packers.
Bill Belichick would dial-up a perfect play on 4th and 3 with 6 minutes left to give the Pats a first down. With 3:25 left Ha Ha Clinton-Dix would get mixed up with Rob Gronkowski that ended with Gronkowski being unable to haul in a touchdown pass.
Green Bay would call on Lacy twice before a 3rd and 4. Aaron Rodgers would find Randall Cobb on a 3rd and long 4, for a first down that iced the game, as the Patriots were out of timeouts.
Davante Adams had a career-best day against the New England Patriots. Raymond T. Rivard photograph
In a “Super Bowl Preview” Green Bay would walk away victorious at 26-21 over the New England Patriots.
Game Balls: Aaron Rodgers 24 of 38 368 yards 2 touchdowns, Eddie Lacy 21 carries 98 yards, Davante Adams 6 receptions for 121 yards, Randall Cobb 7 receptions for 85 yards, the entire offensive line as well as the entire defense.
The Packers completed a team effort that will likely have them atop many power-rankings come Tuesday morning. Mike McCarthy and Dom Capers looked to have had perfect game plans drawn up.
At 9-3 the Packers are now tied with the Arizona Cardinals for home field advantage in the NFC playoffs.