Follow the action LIVE with 985TheSportsHub.com as Tom Brady and the New England Patriots clash with Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in the marquee matchup of Week 9 on Sunday Night Football.
Check below for live updates, instant analysis, and highlights during the game. Pre-game news updates will roll in until kickoff.
FINAL: Patriots 31, Packers 17.
Q4, 3:48: The Packers showed a surprisingly low amount of urgency on this drive. They’re down two touchdowns and if they gave the Patriots the ball back with around three minutes left, they could be dead in the water. As it turns out, Rodgers’ fourth-and-4 attempt falls incomplete thanks to pressure up the middle, and the Patriots get the ball back with just 3:48 left and a chance to ice the game away.
Q4, 7:20: Oh hi Josh Gordon! The Patriots make quicker work this time, going 72 yards on three plays. Josh Gordon hit the big one, going 55 yards for the touchdown after a missed tackle. 31-17 Patriots, and suddenly the Packers have their proverbial backs against the wall.
Q4, 8:30: After a huge drive by the offense, an equally huge stop for the Patriots defense. Jason McCourty breaks up a pass to Equanimeous St. Brown, then Trey Flowers and Adrian Clayborn combine for a huge sack on third down that forces the Packers to punt.
Clayborn has had a very nice game since his early penalty. Flowers has been his usual disruptive self, and the pair get rewarded for their efforts by finally bringing Rodgers down.
Q4, 10:06: Championship drive for the Patriots off the Lawrence Guy forced fumble. A 17-yard catch for Phillip Dorsett on third down sparked it. After a series of short gains, all of a sudden they run a double-pass with Julian Edelman and he hits James White for 37 yards. White finishes off the drive to, at long last, make it 24-17 Patriots.
Q4, 14:26: J.C. Jackson replaces Jason McCourty at cornerback, and Aaron Rodgers immediately exploits him. He hits Marquez Valdes-Scantling for 24 yards after Jackson holds up decently in coverage, but loses sight of the ball at the last moment and Valdes-Scantling high-points it. On the very next play, Rodgers goes back to Valdes-Scantling, this time for 26 yards.
But wait! Lawrence Guy forces a fumble against Aaron Jones and Stephon Gilmore recovers it. And the Patriots once again have a chance to retake the lead.
Q3, 2:34: Packers CB Josh Jackson broke up a pass intended for Julian Edelman to set up third-and-long for Tom Brady, and he has to take another nothing-I-can-do sack.
However, the Packers commit a very dumb penalty as TE Robert Tonyan roughs punter Ryan Allen to give the Patriots a gift first down and keep their drive alive. Unfortunately, they can’t covert on third-and-3 and ultimately have to punt again. No penalty this time, but Ryan Allen is able to pin the Packers at their own 7-yard line. Patriots playing a pretty good field position game in the second half. They just look out-of-sorts on offense at the moment.
Q3, 5:14: After the Patriots can’t score from the 1-yard line, the Packers can’t move the ball past the four. Jason McCourty comes up big, wrapping up Randall Cobb for a short gain then blanketing him down the field on third down. Patriots force a punt and get the ball back at their own 38 after a holding penalty pushes them back 10 yards.
Q3, 7:02: Josh Gordon gets another nice chunk play, but looks to hurt his hand or finger on the play. He gets back in there after a quick check-up on the sideline. Gordon’s hand looks fine as he makes another catch, this time for 14 yards.
DWAYNE ALLEN ALERT! The tight end makes a catch in the flat and takes it 21 yards to set up first-and-goal.
First attempt in the end zone is incomplete to Gordon, who’s still favoring his left hand. Second attempt is a little behind Edelman but out of danger, so it falls incomplete. Third down goes incomplete, but a costly pass interference flag sets up first-and-goal from the 1. After the officials reverse a Cordarrelle Patterson touchdown run, the Packers have a goal line stand to keep the game tied. Packers take over on the 1.
Q3, 11:18: The Patriots win their first challenge of the game on the Packers’ first drive of the third, after replay shows that a catch by Davonte Adams actually hit the ground. Good call for Belichick to throw the red flag. Unfortunately, Rodgers burns the Patriots for the Packers first big play of the game, hitting Marquez Valdes-Scantling for 51 yards.
A holding penalty on tackle David Bakhtiari pushed the Packers back, and Rodgers has to throw it away under duress on first-and-15. On the next play, Rodgers has time to throw and he hits Jimmy Graham in the back corner of the end zone for a touchdown. It’s 17-17, and this game is shaping up to be a classic slobberknocker.
HALFTIME: Patriots 17, Packers 10. Aaron Rodgers loses the football on third-and-2 before he could get the first down, and the Packers are forced to punt. Adrian Clayborn got good pressure on Rodgers to chase him down and cause the fumble.
Overall, a strong first half for the Patriots in all three phases. The offense hasn’t been perfect, but had a great opening drive and got a clutch touchdown drive late in the half thanks to some explosive running by … Cordarrelle Patterson?
On defense, they’re really doing a good job up front of forcing Rodgers off his spots and making him improvise or go to his secondary options. Rodgers and the Packers have made their share of plays, but only 10 points allowed should be considered a success.
Q2, 1:57: They give their own running backs some burn to start the drive. That includes “running back” Cordarrelle Patterson. James White looked to injure his left leg on his first carry, flexing it repeatedly on the sideline. Patterson picked up the slack with some explosive running to help set up the Patriots in the red zone. And of course, Barry Sanders over here runs it in. Extra point is good to make it 17-10 Patriots.
Looks like White didn’t need extra attention and will likely be back in on the next possession.
Q2, 4:49: Whole new ballgame. After the Patriots spend most of the first half encouraging the Packers to run, they commit to the run to get the drive rolling toward an eventual touchdown.
They go to running back Aaron Jones on three straight plays to start their next drive. Rodgers then escapes pressure to hit Jamal Williams in the flat, then finds Davante Adams for nine yards, followed up by an easy first down pickup by Williams.
Patrick Chung comes up with a big pass breakup on Lance Kendricks in the end zone, but the Patriots had 12 men on the field to make it second-and-3 from the Patriots’ 24. A completion to Davante Adams on a crossing route at the line to gain sets up first-and-10 from the 14. A draw play to Aaron Jones sets up first-and-goal at the 1.
First, Devin McCourty breaks up the attempted fade with tight coverage. Rodgers has nowhere to go on the second-down roll-out and has to throw it away. On third down, they break through as Rodgers sells the throw to the corner before hitting Adams over the middle.
Q2, 11:37: Josh Gordon very nearly made another acrobatic completion from Tom Brady, but his second foot was just barely out of bounds. More pressure up front forces Brady to shift around in the pocket and the third-down throw falls incomplete, forcing a punt.
Q2, 12:37: Aaron Rodgers is doing his best to try to get Davante Adams involved. He hits him for six quick yards on the first play, but Stephon Gilmore breaks it up on the next play and nearly has an interception. Pressure up the middle from Adam Butler forces Rodgers to roll out to his right, and nobody’s open so he has to throw it away. Another solid possession for the Patriots defense, and solid field position.
Q2, 13:30: An explosive start to the Patriots’ first drive of the second quarter. First, Josh Gordon wins his one-on-one matchup by just going up and getting the ball. Next play, a flea-flicker as James White tosses it back to Tom Brady and Brady quickly heaves it to an open Julian Edelman. Unfortunately, three straight incompletions lead to a 28-yard field goal for Stephen Gostkowski to make it 10-3 Patriots.
First Quarter Thoughts: Overall, a great first quarter for the Patriots. Aaron Rodgers is going to make some plays, so it’s hard to get on the defense too much for allowing the Packers to get into the red zone on their first drive and letting up a 19-yard completion to Jimmy Graham. Their coverage could be better, but they’re disrupting things pretty effectively up front. In addition, the Patriots got the fast start they wanted on offense, giving them a severely acceptable 7-3 lead after one frame.
Q1, 0:14: Patriots force another third down, but Aaron Rogers finds Jimmy Graham for 19 yards after he slips out into the flat wide open - again. Jason McCourty breaks up a deep pass intended for Marquez Valdes-Scantling on the next play. Devin McCourty gets in Rodgers’ face on yet another third down, and Rodgers throws it nowhere near Equanimeous St. Brown to force the Packers’ first punt of the night.
Q1, 3:41: Julian Edelman kick-starts another drive like he’s done so many times with a 16-yard catch on the first play. However, a costly drop on second down led to a tough third-and-7, and then Tom Brady has to eat the ball and take a sack. Backup guard Ted Karras, starting in place of the injured Shaq Mason, got beat for the sack by Mike Daniels.
Still 7-3 Patriots, but Aaron Rodgers has the ball back with a chance to take the lead.
Q1, 5:05: The Patriots got pretty close to the exact start they wanted. The offense scored quickly, and the defense bent but didn't break. If they can take away the big plays and tighten up in the red zone all night, it'll be tough for the Packers to overcome.
Packers’ first play from scrimmage is … a six-yard run for Aaron Jones. But Aaron Rodgers follows that up with a roll-out and a five-yard completion to Randall Cobb for a first down. Adrian Clayborn gives the Packers a free five yards with a neutral zone infraction on third down, and Green Bay easily converts on third-and-2. The Patriots get decent pressure on the next snap, but Rodgers is able to dance in the pocket and find Jimmy Graham wide open in the flat for another first.
Patrick Chung commits the second penalty of the drive with holding on Graham in the end zone, giving the Pack first-and-goal at the 9-yard line. But the Packers give it back with a delay of game penalty on second-and-goal. Stephon Gilmore breaks up a pass intended for Davante Adams in the end zone. Clayborn makes up for his penalty by sniffing out the screen to Cobb on third down, and with that, a looooong Packers drive ends in a Mason Crosby field goal to make it 7-3. Jonathan Jones almost blocked the kick.
Q1, 11:40: Well, that was easy.
Patriots get a solid-enough start with a 35-yard return for Cordarrelle Patterson, and Tom Brady goes to work from there. He tries to hit Josh Gordon deep early, but Gordon can’t quite fight through the double-coverage. The real weapon on this drive was James White, who made three catches for 27 yards and ran in the touchdown from eight yards out.
Looks like the Packers are going to have trouble containing White all night. The Patriots went hurry-up on that first drive, clearly looking for a fast start and to make the Packers play on their heels from the get-go. Time to see what Aaron Rodgers can do to respond. If the Patriots defense similarly struggles, we could be in for a real barn-burner.
-- Packers win the coin toss. They defer to the second half.
-- Patriots inactives: OL Cole Croston, LB Nicholas Grigsby, TE Rob Gronkowski, TE Jacob Hollister, OG Shaq Mason, RB Sony Michel, OL Brian Schwenke
-- Packers inactives: WR Geronimo Allison, QB Tim Boyle, CB Tony Brown, P Drew Kaser, OL Alex Light, OL Justin McCray, LB Korey Toomer
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