Pats pound Packers, 27-3

Offense struggles against defending Super Bowl champs

The two-time defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots made the Green Bay Packers play like a bunch of chumps Friday night.

Green Bay's struggles on offense and its problems with penalties and special teams continued against the Patriots at Lambeau Field. The Patriots took a 20-3 halftime lead and went on to a 27-3 preseason win in the 45th annual Bishop's Charities Game before 69,501 fans.

The Packers, who were whipped by the Buffalo Bills six days earlier continued to commit penalties and turnovers. Green Bay (1-2 in the preseason) turned the ball over four times to the Patriots, three times on interceptions and once on a fumble.

The turnovers combined with penalties (eight for 55 yards in the first half), plus little to no execution on offense made for a long night for Green Bay.

"We did'nt play very well, it is very obvious that we didn't," said Packers coach Mike Sherman. "I thought we did some decent things on defense. I saw some improvement there, but certainly offensively we've been pretty consistent. Today we certainly lacked that. Anytime you turn the ball over four times you're going to look ugly."

The only bright spot for the Packers came from their special teams late in the first half. The Packers caught a break when B.J. Sander's 37-yard punt hit the back of New England's Tyrone Poole, who was attempting to block on the play. Green Bay's Chris Johnson picked up the muff at the Patriots' 8, but the Packers had to settle for Ryan Longwell's 26-yard field goal to close Green Bay to 10-3.

The Packers' first-team offense was offensive throughout the game. Prior to gaining zero yards on four plays from the Patriots' 8, Green Bay's first four drives resulted in an interception and three consecutive punts.

"We haven't executed our offense in the way we should, the way we have," said Sherman. "We seem to be in tough situations more times than we should be, but certainly the special teams didn't help us again and penalties have been a nemisis of ours and continue to be, and they have to stop."

The Patriots (2-1) had an impressive 12-play, 77-yard drive near the end of the first half. Tom Brady's 12-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver David Givens capped the 77-yard drive, giving New England a 17-3 lead.

"They've got a pretty good offense," said Packers defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila. "I see why they're the Super Bowl champs. We have to know our stuff, communicate and execute better to stop a team like this."

For as sharp as Brett Favre has been in training camp practices and in the team's previous preseason game at Buffalo, he was the opposite against New England. Favre completed just 9 of 21 passes in the first half for 69 yards. His second interception of the half resulted in a 38-yard field goal by Adam Vinatieri that gave the Patriots a 20-3 lead with 44 seconds left in the first half.

"We just need to make plays," Favre said. "Our chances were there to make those plays. We just need to capitalize on a consistent basis. We'll get there. I have confidence in our offense. We'll be fine."

Green Bay finished with 199 yards of total offense compared to New England's 306. Green Bay's first time had 112 yards of offense in the first half (51 rushing, 61 passing).

The Packers were penalized twice in the first 15 seconds of the game, and New England capitalized by marching 41 yards in four plays to take a 7-0 lead. Corey Dillon ran three times for 28 yards in the drive, including an easy 12-yard run into the end zone.

Green Bay's Earl Little drew a facemask penalty on the kickoff return, and cornerback Al Harris was flagged for illegal hands to the face on the Patriots first play from scrimmage.

The Packers' first-team offense was on the move on its first series of the game. Favre's 13-yard pass to wide receiver Donald Driver put Green Bay on New England's 39 yard line. But New England pushed Green Bay backwards, thanks to a sack and two penalties, into a third-and-35 situation. Favre sailed a pass high over Driver and it was intercepted by cornerback Asante Samuel, who returned it 29 yards to the Packers' 32.

Green Bay's defensive line, which again played without veteran defensive tackles Grady Jackson, Corey Williams and Cletidus Hunt , stemmed the Patriots' rushing attack before Gbaja-Biamila sacked Brady for an 8-yard loss to the 26. Vinatieri's 44-yard field goal gave New England a 10-0 lead.

Wide receiver Antonio Chatman was taken off the field on a stretcher with 13:18 left in the second quarter after he was hit by safety Rodney Harrison on an interception return. Chatman was attempting to tackle cornerback Asante Samuel when Harrison blocked Chatman in the back of the neck. Seven Packers were on the field, surrounding Chatman, as he was wheeled off the field.

Team doctors reported that Chatman has movement in his extremities, but was experiencing tingling in his arms.

New England stretched its halftime lead to 27-3 on Dillon's 3-yard touchdown run. The Patriots capitalized on Ahman Green's fumble on Green Bay's 27 on the first play of the third quarter.

Dillon rushed 14 times for 70 yards for the Patriots.

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