Patriots Squeak By Packers, Pierce Leads Celtics

With the Green Bay Packers missing their starting quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, many felt that the Patriots should have little trouble with backup QB Matt Flynn and his Green Bay teammates.  The Packers had other thoughts, coming out aggressive with an onside kick to start the game, and kept the energy level high throughout the night. The Patriots got a boost on a 71-yard kickoff return from offensive guard Dan Connolly to set up a touchdown just before halftime.

The Patriots defense was burned much of the night, but made enough plays in the end to hold off the Packers in closing seconds of the game, to pull out a 31-27 victory, improving to 12-2 on the season.

Expect plenty of  “Imagine if Aaron Rodgers had played”  from the likes of Tony Massarotti, (and Michael Felger, as he actually used that line in his CSNNE column today) as if the game was played in a vacuum. Also expect plenty of “blueprint” talk over the next week, as all media members tell you that future opponents, especially in the postseason, will be able to copy what the Packers did, with success.

Get all the Patriots coverage at PatriotsLinks.com. Here are a few of the more noteworthy articles from this morning.

Ten Things We Learned Sunday: Patriots just good enough in win over Packers – After technical difficulties on the WEEI.com site last week, Christopher Price is back this week with what we learned from this one.

Pats are good, not lucky – While many in the media will choose the doom-and-gloom outlook after this one, Andy Vogt chooses to be reassured that the Patriots can beat a top opponent even when they’re not playing their best.

Patriots defense comes through in end – Mike Reiss has the Patriots exhausted defense getting the job done in the closing seconds.

Lesson not lost on Patriots – Karen Guregian has the Patriots knowing that they have a lot of work to do.

Pats have little margin for error – Tom E Curran says that the Patriots can’t afford to make mistakes and penalties.

Rookie ignores the pain – The Globe notebook by Shalise Manza Young and Monique Walker has Devin McCourty playing his usual high number of snaps despite his rib injury. The Herald notebook from Ian R. Rapoport has Tully Banta-Cain atoning for an earlier penalty with a game-ending sack. The Two-minute drill from Hector Longo lists McCourty as one of his “no-shows” even NBC showed a graphic near the end of the game with the impressive stats that McCourty had put up last night.

Paul Pierce had his second consecutive game with double-digit assists and recorded a triple-double as the Celtics won their 13th game in a row, 99-88over Jim O’Brien’s Indiana Pacers. Get all the stories at CelticsLinks.com.

Can’t pin down Truth – Steve Bulpett looks at what makes Pierce so valuable to the Celtics. More on Pierce from A. Sherrod Blakely | Chris Forsberg | Julian Benbow

Paul Pierce gives the game what it needs – Paul Flannery has more on Pierce, as well as Shaq, Nate Robinson and the bench.

Davis’s game is growing on them – Gary Washburn looks at the former Big Baby.

Diesel back, Pierce hot, Celtics streak on – Mark Murphy’s Herald notebook has Shaq returning to the lineup. The Globe notebook from Julian Benbow has conference rival Orlando making major moves in advance of Saturday’s game with the Celtics.

There probably will not be morning links tomorrow, as we’re set to head into the hospital for the birth of my second son. I’ll try and get some things up here and there over the course of the rest of the week.

  • Claude45

    I thought when the Jets were winning close games against seemingly inferior opponents that this was a sign for us footie pajama fanboys to be worried? "They win when not at their best." "They get it done when it counts." " They are maturing as a team." All so refreshing.

    When the Pats do the same, against a pretty good team, especially defensively, the blueprint to beat the Pats has been discovered. Too bad, I was enjoying the season but now with blueprint out there the winning has come to an end.

    I have to run now, put my footie pj's away and accept my scolding from the Felger's of the world for getting excited about this team now that they will not win another game. They tried to tell me that it was all a mirage but I decided to follow the team anyway. At my peril, I have blatantly disregarded the massive intellect of the Boston sports media.

  • Classless

    You're a little defensive about the Pats today, Bruce. While I won't take the doom and gloom approach the media jackals surely will, you have to admit (after 14 games) the defense is still the achilles' heal of this team. Allowing the likes of Brandon Jackson and John Coon to gash you is bad, but allowing a QB making his first ever start to throw 3 TD's is even worse.

    The playoffs will surely bring rematches vs. Pitt, Bal, NYJ, S.D., or Indy. I'm nervous the 2nd time around vs. those teams.

    • Tony

      I agree that the defense is still the team's weakness, but I wouldn't read too much into Green Bay's success on the ground last night. The Pats were without Spikes, who's very good against the run, and three of their better defensive linemen. They were short on personnel up front and the guys that were healthy enough to play were just gassed.

  • mandb97

    I was pleasantly surprised with some of the clear headed thoughts by Felger this afternoon. He said even if Aaron Rodgers had played, he is not so sure that the Packers would have won. He said that McCarthy is a great coordinator and used his game plan, which was terrific, as an example, but he is not a great head coach. He said it made no sense for the Packers to not go for it on fourth and goal at the one. He also said the way McCarthy managed the last three minutes not just the last thirty seconds was pretty bad. I started to drone out though once he got into the playing the best and being the best team minutiae.

    • Jon

      Good to hear. I expected him to go off on a "the defense sucks. Fact not opinion rant." followed by 2 hours of Mazz agreeing with him. And really, I can't argue the point, but they come up with big plays when they need to.

  • PatsFan

    Why am I not surprised that in the incredibly rare case a Boston media person holds himself accountable for making a mistake, that person is Mike Reiss:

    http://espn.go.com/blog/boston/new-england-patriots/post/_/id/4690132/acknowleding-error-with-wilfork

  • Alex

    Good luck with everything, Bruce

  • mandb97

    Best of luck on your child Bruce.

  • latetodinner

    So a little birdy told me there was a brand new baby boy for the Allens. Congrats Bruce (assuming it is true). I hope mom, son and now sleepless dad are doing great. Hey if you are not going to sleep…does this mean you can do the links earlier and more completely…afterall this is all about us :-P Just kidding Bruce, we all love the site and think you are awesome for doing what you do…good luck with the baby and when you return we will be here waiting.

    • mandb97

      I second that lateto. Congratulations Bruce on your addition. This is my favorite site without question. I want to thank you for putting together what I know has to be a labor of love.