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.
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.