The Packers defense held Tom Brady to 163 passing yards Sunday night. Matt Flynn threw three touchdown passes in his first NFL start. And it still wasn’t enough.
On a night where the Packers did so many things right, Flynn’s inexperience running the two minute offense ultimately cost Green Bay in Foxborough. The Packers lost 31-27, but had the ball on the Patriots’ 32-yard line with 53 seconds to play. They only ran three more plays before time expired.
On third-and-11 from the Patriots’ 25-yard line, Flynn found Donald Driver for ten yards. (Safety Patrick Chung’s tackle was the unsung play of the game.) Flynn then panicked. He took a ton of time getting up to the line of scrimmage, finally snapping the ball with five seconds left. He was sacked and lost the ball. Game over.
The final sequence shouldn’t distract from Flynn’s excellent overall effort. (He finished with 251 yards, three scores and a pick on 37 throws.) The Patriots were somewhat fortunate to be in the lead at the end of the game.
The Patriots won by taking the turnover battle 2-0 and scoring a defensive touchdown. They won with the help of the all-time record kickoff return by an offensive lineman. (It’s also a record for most awesome in a single play this year.)
They won despite going three-and-out late in the fourth quarter with a chance to take time off the clock.
The Packers out-played New England for much of the night, but the Patriots scored ten quick points early in the fourth quarter. That’s what good teams do, and this game will give Bill Belichick plenty to harp on during the week.
At 8-6, the Packers can only take so much consolation in a moral victory. They need real victories the next two weeks to get to the playoffs.
If Green Bay can continue to play complete team football like they did Sunday night, they should have a good chance.