Patriots Review: The Kid Can Play
In a game that had more turns than a Nascar race, the Green Bay Packers beat the New England Patriots by a score of 27-24 in overtime. The game was close throughout it's entirety and saw a unique set of circumstances lead to the Patriots 4th-round rookie draft pick Bailey Zappe play most of the game as signal caller and outperform almost everybody's expectations.
The game started off quite slow as both team's struggled early. Brian Hoyer got the original start for the Pats and was accurate but not efficient in his 2 drives of play. He was ruled out of the game in the first quarter from a head injury only 10 minutes into the game. Elsewhere, the Patriots would also lose tight end Jonnu Smith for the week with an ankle injury also sustained in the first quarter, however that is where their bad luck would end.
Once the 3rd-string, rookie quarterback entered the game the line on this game shifted from the Patriots +9.5 to +13, indicating how much "better" Packers are than them. Little did the bookies know the Patriots would actually spend more time in the lead from this point than the Packers, even leading to their eventual loss. The team surrounding Zappe played their best game of the season at least offensively. The team only had 1 turnover resulting from a fumble from the rookie which is tied for their best mark of the season. Zappe would also complete two-thirds of his passes for 96 yards and throw a touchdown, which was the first touchdown thrown by a rookie quarterback this season.
The Patriots defense came into this game knowing they would have to be elite. Coming into this game, the defense had been one of the best units in the entire league and was looking forward to one of their toughest matchups yet. Last week was a tough outing against a very strong Baltimore offense and because of this, Belichick's defense was hoping to get back to business and shut down the 2-time reigning MVP. It wouldn't quite go as well as anyone on that side of the ball hoped, but it wouldn't go badly either.
This defense had a very mediocre day which is somewhat praiseworthy when facing the Packers offense. They would force two turnovers, one interception and one fumble recovery in which rookie corner Jack Jones was the recipient of both. They would also only allow 244 passing yards and would sack Rodgers. Unfortunately, one of the defense's strong suits would not be up to par on that day and that would be their run defense. The team would allow 199 rushing yards on only 35 attempts, which was good for 5.7 yards per attempt. Star running backs AJ Dillon and Aaron Jones would both have a heavy workload getting over 180 yards by themselves.
This oversight in their game plan would still result in a 24-17 winning score with only six minutes left in the game before Aaron Rodgers would connect for a game-tying score and eventually send the game into overtime. After both teams stalled in an overtime drive, the Packers efficiency was too much for the Pats and they would kick a game-winning field goal to win.
This game puts the Patriots at a 1-3 record for the second time in as many years. On the bright side, they made a comeback and made the playoffs last year and their three losses this season are to all top-10 teams this year. There are other bright spots to look at, namely Bailey Zappe looking competent enough to start in the absence of Mac Jones for the foreseeable future, however out of respect for Bill Belichick, their is nothing to look at but the loss on the scoresheet and we will begin moving on to next week's home game against the Lions and what should be a winnable game.
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