By: Ian Logue
Here’s a quick look back at the best and worst performances from Sunday night’s win over the Green Bay Packers:
BEST PERFORMANCES FROM SUNDAY NIGHT:
Tom Brady – Another solid outing for the Patriots signal caller. He finished 15-of-24 for 163 and two touchdowns and another interception free performance and a QB rating of 110.2. He’s thrown just four picks all season, which is the lowest total among starters in the NFL.
Danny Woodhead – Had another good night running the football, and was a critical factor in the closing minutes of Sunday night’s game.
Rob Gronkowski – With his first grab of the night, he picked up 25-yards and even had Chris Collinsworth suggesting he deserves Pro Bowl consideration.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis – Green-Ellis made a 33-yard touchdown run on New England’s opening offensive possession, giving New England a 7-3 lead. Had a great blitz pickup early in the game, and did a great job running the football throughout the contest. Overall a good night.
Aaron Hernandez – Another good night for the rookie, after he caught two touchdown passes. He finished with four receptions for 31-yards.
Darius Butler – Made a great heads-up play to go after the ball after Julian Edelman called for the fair catch on the Packers first punt and wasn’t able to come down with the football. Had he not recovered it, it could have been a critical turnover and allowed another touchdown.
Rob Ninkovich – Finished with six tackles along with a sack during Sunday night’s game, and played pretty well overall.
Dan Connolly – Returned the ball 71-yards on a kickoff following a Packers touchdown, taking the ball down to the Packers four yard line, which helped set up a field goal right before the half. It was the longest kickoff return ever for an offensive lineman in the history of the NFL.
Kyle Arrington – Made a big interception to start he second half. He picked off Flynn and took it back 36 yards for a touchdown to put the Patriots up 21-17 minutes into the 3rd quarter.
Devin McCourty – Had another great night, finishing with 10 tackles, a pass defensed, and also recorded his first ever career sack. If he was dealing with any rib injuries, it didn’t seem to slow him down very much.
Deion Branch – Branch made a critical 17-yard pick up to give the Patriots the first down on their first drive to keep the drive going, and it lead to a touchdown after he also made a great block to set up a rushing TD from on Green-Ellis’ run. He also made a great diving catch on a play where Brady’s arm was hit as he was releasing it, yet he still got the ball to him. It helped set up Aaron Hernandez’ 10-yard TD reception to put them up 31-27.
Tully Banta-Cain – Banta-Cain made the game clinching strip sack after being called for a hands to the face penalty that replays showed was a bad call. That sack sealed the win for New England, and was definitely one of the bigger plays of the night.
THE WORST PERFORMANCES FROM SUNDAY NIGHT:
James Sanders – Sanders started shifting back and was caught completely by surprise by the onside kick the Packers tried to start the game. Tough to get to upset with him for that one – that was quite a call by Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy.
Brandon Meriweather – Meriweather found himself out of position on the 66-yard touchdown catch by James Jones to put the Packers back up 10-7 just moments into the 2nd quarter. On the play he took a bad angle and took McCourty out of the play, allowing Jones to get away and score.
Julian Edelman – Botched a punt return that was nearly turned over and also had a critical drop late in the contest. He continues to struggle after having such high expectations heading into this season.
NOTES: Fred Taylor didn’t play and was listed among the inactives. Other players out were Taylor Price, Thomas Clayton, Rich Ohrnberger, Mark LeVoir, Myron Pryor, Ron Brace & Mike Wright…Vince Wilfork had zero penalties for the year heading into Sunday night’s game, but actually ended up committing two on the evening…Devin McCourty got called for a helmet-to-helmet penalty late in the 2nd quarter, which happened in front of the commissioner who was on hand Sunday night. He’ll likely face a fine, although the play looked incidental as he lowered his shoulder on the play but his helmet made contact. McCourty also recorded the first sack of his career Sunday night… The Packers did a good job keeping Brady off the field in the second half. He didn’t even get the football for the first time with the offense until nearly 10-minutes into the 3rd quarter… Brady passed Bart Starr for 2nd place all-time for most consecutive passes without an interception Sunday night…. Matt Flynn started the game in place of Aaron Rodgers and played pretty well, and was the first backup QB to start for the Packers since 1992.