The moment we’ve all been waiting for has come. Aaron Rodgers vs. Tom Brady. And the moment did not disappoint. The best of the best clashed Sunday in Lambeau Field as the visiting New England Patriots met the Green Bay Packers.
These first class franchises are at the top of their game with future Hall of Fame quarterbacks. Not to mention, the Packers and Patriots came into this game as the two hottest teams in the league, both with division leads.
In a classic matchup, it was the Pack still standing at the end, victorious 26-21 as A-Rod was on fire throwing for 368 yards and two touchdowns.
The first was a gorgeous highlight, one for the books. Rodgers stood tall in a clean pocket. He pump faked so hard, he faked out the camera man. He somehow held on in the frigid Wisconsin cold, and lofted a rainbow to Richard Rodgers 32 yards for the score. The rookie tight end made a tough catch look easy as A-Rod dropped it perfectly over the shoulder.Jordy Nelson caps the half with a touchdown dive.
The next touchdown was an amazing retaliation to Brady’s own score bringing the Patriots to within a field goal. With just over a minute remaining in the half, boom!
Rodgers slung a ball to Jordy Nelson who broke free from the blanket coverage by Darrelle Revis. Nelson caught a short slant and ran the rest, 45 yards to the touchdown. Teammate Randall Cobb helped him downfield with just enough of a block for Nelson to dive inside the pylon and give Green Bay a 23-14 cushion going into halftime.
But among the highflying arsenal attack, it was the rookie wide receiver Davante Adams who became the go-to target for Rodgers. Adams caught six balls for 121 yards. Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick showed it was no fluke putting Brandon Browner on Adams, the most physical cover corner they had to guard the rookie.Davante Adams makes the beautiful fingertip catch down the sideline.
Adams could’ve made this game a staple of his young career with a game clinching touchdown. But after juking the defender in the redzone, he dropped an easy grab for six. In the face of an all-out blitz, Rodgers threw a perfect slant to Adams right at the goal line and it slipped right through the rookie’s fingers. Admittedly, Adams said he made a mistake already thinking of a Lambeau Leap before the catch.
Better he learns that now rather than later.
The Pack settled for a field goal, Mason Crosby’s fourth, to extend the lead.
But giving the ball back to Tom Brady with any time left on the clock is dangerous. Not too many have won that gamble. But the defense stepped up and stopped the three-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.
In the midst of a 13 play drive, taking over six minutes, the Packers had to find a way. They’ve been steamrolled by LeGarrette Blount. They’ve been pushed around by the Gronk, the league’s best tight end and honestly a mismatch for any defense. They’ve pressured Brady, but haven’t been able to force a sack or turnover all game. The Patriots were driving.
Brady converted on countless third downs, third and longs, even a fourth down conversion. It was down to the wire between these two premier quarterbacks.Mike Neal and Mike Daniels sandwich Tom Brady for the sack.
Fighting to hold onto the lead, rookie safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix made a game saving play. Brady launched a bomb to Gronkowski deep left in the corner of the endzone. The Gronk dove for it and got his hands under the ball. Diving too was Clinton-Dix and he stuck his hand in between Gronk’s arms and somehow jarred the ball loose, keeping the Packers alive.
It’s crunch time, third and nine in Packer territory. Brady scanned the field, and was finally sacked. Mike Neal and Mike Daniels dropped Brady for a nine yard loss knocking the Patriots out of field goal range. Kicker Stephen Gostkowski missed wide right from 47 yards out in the blistering wind falling victim to the homefield advantage of Lambeau Field.
Enter, the closer, Eddie Lacy. Lacy loves the winter as he gets more and more carries in the cold. Lacy ran for 98 yards and set up a critical third down for Rodgers to ice the game. Killing the clock, up 26-21, facing a pivotal third-and-four, Rodgers threw to Randall Cobb in traffic for the first down and dagger.
The Packers and Patriots both (9-3) tied now for the best record in the league, have possibly showed a Super Bowl preview. One thing’s for sure, after watching Rodgers vs. Brady for the first time, we’re hoping for a sequel.