Ryan L. Fox
Which #12 QB would you want on your team: Tom Brady of the New England Patriots or Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers? That debate has been going on for the past few years. Ironically enough, both quarterbacks have rarely faced off against one another with the last contest coming back in Week 13 of the 2014 season at Lambeau Field where the Packers won 26-21.
This past Sunday night, the two top quarterbacks met again in Gillette Stadium as all eyes were watching. When the final gun sound, only one #12 QB walked away with the victory. Fortunately, he wore a flying elvis on his helmet.
The Patriots started the game with the ball on their own 41 due to a 36 yard return from WR/KR Cordarrelle Patterson and a 5 yard offside by the Packers kickoff team. Quarterback Tom Brady relied on RB James White and WR Phillip Dorsett as his targets as the offense drove all the way down the field. The Patriots got all the way down to the Green Bay 8. On 1st and goal, White ran behind his offensive line and into the end zone for the first score of the game. Kicker Stephen Gostkowski booted the PAT as the Patriots took the early 7-0 lead.
The Packers received the ensuing kickoff before returning it to their own 27. From there, QB Aaron Rodgers led his offense down the field for their first possession. Along the way, the Packers offense was assisted by two Patriots defensive penalties (Neutral Zone Infraction by DE Adrian Clayborn on 3rd and 7 at the New England 48 and a Defensive Holding by S Patrick Chung on 1st and 10 at the New England 14). However the Patriots red zone defense buckled down as the Packers could only go as far as the New England 11. Kicker Mason Crosby booted a 29 yard field goal to give the Packers their first points of the game and make the score 7-3.
After an exchange of punts by both teams, the Patriots got the ball back on their own 12 as they got as far as their own 28 before the 1st quarter ended.
When the 2nd quarter began, Brady hit his receivers on two consecutive passes for 25+ yards (29 yard pass to WR Josh Gordon & 33 yard flea flicker pass to WR Julian Edelman) that got the ball down to the Green Bay 10. However White was stuffed on 1st down and Brady threw 2 consecutive incomplete passes as the Patriots had to settle for a 28 yard field goal by Gostkowski to extend their lead to 10-3.
After another exchange of punts by both teams, the Packers got the ball back on their own 21. After keeping the Patriots defense on their toes with 3 consecutive runs by RB Aaron Jones, Rodgers aired it out once again. The offense got all the way down to the New England 2. There on 3rd and goal, Rodgers found WR DaVante Adams in the left part of the end zone for the 2 yard pass. Crosby’s PAT then tied it all up at 10-10 with under 5 minutes left in the half.
After Patterson returned the Crosby kickoff to the New England 31, the offense started to pound the Packers defense with consecutive running plays. However on 1st and 10 from the New England 45, Patterson ran for 10 yards to the Green Bay 45. However on the play, Packers S Jermaine Whitehead and Patriots C David Andrews got into a physical confrontation with Whitehead essentially slapping Andrews. However the referees deemed that a punch and, by rule, a 15 yard penalty was assessed and Whitehead was ejected from the game.
From there, Patterson ran the ball 3 more times for 30 yards including the final 5 yards on the drive for the score. Gostkowski’s PAT then gave the Patriots the 17-10 with under 2 minutes left in the half.
Looking to try and score before the end of the half, the Packers got as far as their own 43 before being forced to punt with 21 seconds left in the half. Brady took a knee as both teams then went into halftime with the Patriots still leading 17-10 but with the Packers getting the ball back to begin the second half.
The Packers began the 2nd half with the ball on their own 28. They were able to move the ball down the field, including a 51 yard bomb from Rodgers to WR Marquez Valdes Scantling that got him down to the New England 21. Few plays later, Rodgers found TE Jimmy Graham for the 15 yard strike. Crosby’s Pat afterwards tied the game up 17-17.
After the Packers tied the game, the Patriots offense took to the field starting from their own 25. Brady drove the offense all the way down the Green Bay 1. From there, White was stopped on 1st down. Then on 2nd down, Patterson seemingly crossed the goal line for the score. However replay showed he did not and was stopped before the goal line. Brady’s pass to WR Chris Hogan on 3rd and goal fell incomplete setting up 4th and goal at the 1. Unfortunately Brady’s pass to Gordon fell incomplete as the Patriots turned the ball on downs.
The two teams then exchanged punts with each other yet again as the Packers got the ball back on their own 7. They got as far as the New England 34 as the 3rd quarter came to a close.
But then on the first play of the 4th quarter with 1st and 10 at the New England 34, Jones took the hand off and got down to the New England 28. But then DE Lawrence Guy knocked the ball out of Jones’ hands as it was recovered by teammate CB Stephon Gilmore.
Like so many times in the past, the Patriots made their opponent pay for their costly turnover. Brady led the offense down the field, going into No Huddle along the way. Again they got down to the Green Bay 1. This time, White was able to carry the ball over for the score on 3rd and goal. Gostkowski’s PAT afterwards then made it 24-17.
Following a Packers punt, the Patriots got the ball back on their own 28. Following a 17 yard pass to Edelman and a White run, Brady set up shop with 2nd and 10 from his own 45. He then found Gordon deep for a 55 yard touchdown bomb. The Gostkowski PAT after pushed the Patriots lead to 31-17 with under seven and a half minutes left in the game.
With the game getting out of hand, the Packers got the ball back on their own 35. Rodgers led the team down the field, surviving another turnover scare that was nullified by a penalty on the Patriots defense. The Packers got as far as the New England 48 where on 4th and 4, Rodgers pass to Valdes-Scantling fell incomplete.
The Patriots got the ball back on their own 48 with under 4 minutes left in the game. The Patriots offense simply ran the clock down, even with the Packers calling time outs. Brady drove the offense down to the Green Bay 21 before taking 3 consecutive knees to run the clock down to 00:00. When the final gun was sound, it was Brady that was the #12 that walked off the field with the victory.
Notable Patriot Statistical Standouts
QB Tom Brady: 22-for-35 for 294 yards, 1 TD for a QB Rating of 99.0, 5 carries for -1 yards
RB James White: 12 carries for 31 yards, 6 catches (on 7 targets) for 72 yards
WR Josh Gordon: 5 catches (on 10 targets) for 130 yards and 1 TD
WR Julian Edelman: 1-for-1 for 37 yards, 2 carries for 28 yards, 6 catches (on 10 targets) for 71 yards
WR Cordarrelle Patterson: 11 carries for 61 yards and 1 TD, 1 catch for 7 yards, 2 kick returns for 64 yards
DE Trey Flowers: 5 tackles (2 solo, 3 assist), 0.5 sacks
DE Lawrence Guy: 6 tackles (2 solo, 4 assist), 1 forced fumble
CB Stephon Gilmore: 3 tackles (3 solo, 0 assist), 1 pass defended, 1 fumble recovery
Numbers! Numbers! Numbers!
150 – The number of receiving yards WR Josh Gordon had for the game, his most since Week 13 of the 2013 season
61 – The total number of receptions RB James White has for the season, a new career high
2- The number of times that Tomb Brady and Aaron Rodgers have played against each other since both have been in the league
.950 – The winning percentage (58-3) of the New England Patriots when leading at any point in the 4th quarter since 2013
6 – The number of consecutive wins the Patriots have had since starting the season at 1-2
68,653 – Total number of career passing yards Tom Brady has up until his point
Where is Gronk?
That is the question that a lot of Patriots fans are asking right now. The Patriots again were without All-Pro TE Rob Gronkowski for the second week in a row.
Now there have been reports that Gronk has been suffering through some injuries (ankle, back spasms) throughout the season. But when he has gotten out onto the field and actually played, it feels that he’s become more and more invisible.
Even when WR Julian Edelman was out due to suspension, you rarely heard Gronk’s name get called during the game broadcast. In fact, the Patriots TE has not found the end zone since Week 1 against the Houston Texans.
There are multiple theories as to what is going on. Perhaps injuries are slowing the tight end down, hampering his playing abilities. Or defenses have now schemed into taking out Gronk, playing him more physical and forcing him out of plays. Or, dare I say, he’s starting to fall out of favor with Brady, who is relying more and more of WR Josh Gordon, RB James White, and WR Julian Edelman as his new top targets.
Whatever the case may be, one thing is for certain is that the window of Gronk’s time in New England is slowly closing down.
There is No Contest
Leading up into this week, everybody has been talking about the match-up between the likes of Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. Who is the greatest QB between the two? Would you rather have Rodgers as your QB over Brady? But let’s be honest, this is like comparing the New York Mets to the New York Yankees.
First off, let’s look at the hardware. Brady has 3 AP NFL MVPs, 13 Pro Bowls, First-team All Pro 3x, and named to the 2000s All-Decade Team. Rodgers has 2 AP NFL MVPS, 6 Pro Bowls, and First-team All-Pro x 2. Advantage: Brady.
Now let’s look at the stats: Brady has 68,653 career passing yards, 505 career passing touchdowns, a career QB rating of 97.6, a career completion percentage of 64.0, and has played in 262 games. Rodgers has 41,044 career passing yards, 328 career passing touchdowns, a career of QB rating of 103.5, and a career completion percentage of 64.8, and has played in a total of 157 games. Advantage: Brady
Finally, let’s look at postseason: Brady has a career postseason record of 27-10, 5 Super Bowl victories out of 8 Super Bowl appearances, and has 4 Super Bowl MVPs to his name. Rodgers has a career postseason record of 9-7, 1 Super Bowl victory out of 1 Super Bowl appearance, and 1 Super Bowl MVP to his name. Advantage: Brady
So please, let’s stop this debate on who the greatest QB right now is. It’s no question of who it is. Maybe if Rodgers played a few more years (as well as stay healthy) and adds to his resume, he could enter the debate. But as of right now, the only GOAT that wears #12 plays in New England.
Fox Fist Bump
This week’s Fox Fist Bump goes to WR Josh Gordon. I was not on board with this trade when it happened, thinking the Patriots were putting all their trust into a player who continuously disappointed as well as a player who would not be able to learn the Patriots offensive playbook. But not only has Gordon fit into the Patriots offensive game plan, he has become one of Brady’s go-to guys.
He got a game high 130 yards receiving, including snagging in a 55 yard bomb from Brady for a score that pretty much put the game out of reach for the Packers. Big, fast, good hands, and staying out of trouble so far. I expect to give more fist bumps out to Gordon as the season continues.
The Meatball of the Week
This Meatball of the Week is goes to Packers S Jermaine Whitehead. In the second quarter he got into a scuffle with Patriots C David Andrews resulting with Whitehead throwing what appeared to be a slap to Andrews’ face. The result was a 15 yard personal foul and a, rather controversial, game ejection.
Regardless of whether you think Whitehead should have gotten ejected or not, the fact of the matter is you gotta keep your cool. If he didn’t get tossed, the 15 yard penalty he drew helped move the ball for the Patriots into better field position to score, which they did later on that drive. Dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb!
Play of the Game
12 + 10 = An Easy 6
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