Green Bay Packers: 5 most important defensive plays
Nov 30, 2014; Green Bay, WI, USA; New England Patriots quarterbackTom Brady
(12) is sacked by Green Bay Packers defensive endMike 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
2. Mike Daniels and Mike Neal combine to sack Tom Brady (Week 13)
It was the showdown the world was waiting to see.
Aaron Rodgers going head-to-head with Tom Brady. The best quarterback currently in the NFL against arguably the greatest ever.
“Brady finally held the ball. He was getting it out quick, but I think on that particular play Clay had a good coverage call and I was able to beat him off the edge,” Mike Neal said.
It was always going to be a tight game, but the Packers never trailed the Patriots.
Green Bay raced to a 13-0 lead, and had a 23-14 lead at the half. The Packers were rolling, but New England can never be written off and were always going to make it tight.
And make it tight they did.
Tom Brady found Brandon LaFell early in the fourth quarter for a 15-yard touchdown pass, closing the gap to 23-21. The game was back in the balance.
A 28-yard field goal by Mason Crosby extended the Packers’ lead to five points, but plenty of time was left for Tom Brady to stage a comeback like he so often does.
Nov 30, 2014; Green Bay, WI, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick greets Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy following the game at Lambeau Field. Green Bay won 26-21. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
With 3:25 left in the fourth, Brady had the Patriots on the Packers’ 20 yard line on 3rd-and-9. As Brady stepped back, Mike Neal flew from the outside and was joined by Mike Daniels as the pair sacked the quarterback for a loss of nine yards.
Third-and-9 became fourth-and-18 and the Patriots opted for a field goal attempt with 2:44 remaining.
Rob Gostkowski missed.
The Packers took over possession on their own 37 yard line and never gave it back, winning the game 26-21.
Mike Daniels and Mike Neal came through with one of the biggest defensive plays of the season for the Packers, helping seal a victory over the team that would eventually go on to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.
Next: What was the most important defensive play of 2014?