October 13, 2002
Pats Drop Third Straight, Lose 28-10
BY: Ian Logue/PatsFans.com
FOXBORO, MA -- What was supposed to be a shootout left Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre as the last man standing during the Packers 28-10 victory over the Patriots on Sunday at Gillette Stadium.
The Packers came into Foxboro missing four defensive backs and starting defensive ends Joe Johnson and Vonnie Holiday, and the talk all week was how New England's offense would go out and fire away against what was supposed to be a depleted Green Bay defense.
It didn't happen.
New England quarterback Tom Brady's gun misfired with three interceptions, and the team also lost a fumble and committed 12-penalties for 126-yards on what was a long rainy afternoon for the Foxboro faithful who watched their team drop to 3-3 on the season.
The Patriots miscues began from the opening drive, when Brady drove them from their own 20 all the way down to the Packers 43-yard line. Brady then attempted to go after newly signed Green Bay defensive back Bryant Westbrook on a deep pass to David Patten, but he under threw the pass and Westbrook made a good play on the ball to intercept it at the Packers seven yard line.
New England later took a 3-0 lead on a 32-yard field goal by Adam Vinatieri, but the Packers came back on their next possession and drove down to the Patriots 26 before the drive stalled and Green Bay went on to attempt a field goal. The kick was good, but Pats defensive lineman Richard Seymour was flagged for illegal use of hands after he intentionally hit center Mike Flanagan in the face on the play. The penalty gave the Packers a first down, and after Donald Driver was awarded with an 11-yard catch when the officials overturned what had been called an incomplete pass, two plays later Favre found William Henderson in the endzone for a touchdown, and Green Bay lead 7-3 with 3:46 left in the first half.
On the ensuing possession an offensive holding penalty on wide receiver David Patten found the Patriots facing 1st-and-20 at their own 17-yard line. One play later Brady turned and fired a quick pass to runningback Kevin Faulk who dropped the ball. The ball was on the ground for several seconds as officials hadn't blown the whistle before an alert Green Bay defender dove on it. It was ruled a fumble since the ball didn't go forward, which gave the Packers 1st and goal at the Pats 8-yard line. Favre then found runningback Ahman Green standing all alone in the endzone, and Green Bay now lead 14-3.
Brady was intercepted on New England's next possession, but the Patriots defense did manage to stop the Packers to give the offense one more try before the half ended.
It didn't happen, and New England went into the locker room trailing at halftime.
They caught a break after the Packers opened with a 12-play 49-yard drive that ended on a missed field goal by Green Bay kicker Ryan Longwell. However on their second play Brady was sacked for a loss of 10-yards. Facing 3rd-and-20 he completed an 18-yard pass to Deion Branch, and his team would have to punt the football.
The Packers then started from their own 6-yard line. Patriots defensive back Ben Kelly was called for pass interference which gave Green Bay 1st-and-10 from the Patriots 37. A 29-yard pass one play later to Donald Driver set up a 2-yard touchdown to tight end Bubba Franks. The Packers now had a commanding 21-3 lead with 3:50 remaining in the third quarter.
New England drove from their own 17-yard line down to the Packers 35-yard line following a 30-yard pass interference penalty by Westbrook on a pass attempt to David Patten. But on the next play Matt Light was called for offensive holding which now had Brady facing 2nd-and-20. Brady tried to go down field do David Patten, and was intercepted at the Packers 13-yard line.
Seven plays and 65-yards later Ahman Green was in the endzone, and the Packers lead 28-3 with 12:09 left in the game.
Two possessions later the Patriots went to their running game for the first time in the game, and Antowain Smith made runs of 12, 8, and 13 yards which helped set up a 4-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver David Givens. New England trailed 28-10 with just under six minutes left in the game, but ran just 8-plays on their next two possessions, turning the ball over on downs on both before time eventually ran out.
Now the Patriots will have two weeks to think about what has been a difficult stretch after dropping the last three games. Head coach Bill Belichick told reporters after the game that his team will try and start over as they try to get things going again.
"We're going to start all over and try to build something that's a little better than what we've been able to put out on the field," said Belichick.
"We don't have a chance playing like that."
He's certainly right about that.
They started 3-0, with people calling them "the best team in the NFL". Now they're 3-3 and a team who will spend some time trying to figure out where they're going.
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