Pats pound Packers, 35-0

Back to earth for the Green Bay Packers, who hit a brick wall in the form of the New England Patriots Sunday afternoon at Lambeau Field. The Packers not only suffered their worst shutout at home since 1970, but had to play without an injured Brett Favre for the second half of the game. Here's more from PackerReport.com's Todd Korth:

Tom Brady and the New England Patriots not only knocked ironman Brett Favre out of the game, they KO'd the rest of the Green Bay Packers.

The Patriots took an early 21-0 lead and went on to a 28-0 victory at Lambeau Field before 70,753 fans. New England (7-3) won its seventh straight game on the road and snapped a two-game losing streak by completely out-executing the Packers from the get-go. The Packers fell to 4-6, losing their veteran quarterback just before halftime, and perhaps their grip in the chase for a NFC wild card berth.

"We did not perform well and that starts with me," said a disappointed Packers coach Mike McCarthy, whose team was shut out at home for the second time this season, a first in team history.

The Packers also fell 26-0 to the Chicago Bears in the season opener on Sept. 10. It was Green Bay's worst shutout at home since it fell 40-0 to the Detroit Lions on Sept. 20, 1970, in the season opener at Lambeau Field.

Favre injured his right elbow on a sack by linebacker Tully Banta-Cain with 1:41 left in the second quarter. The 37-year-old quarterback left the game and was carted to the locker room at halftime. He returned to the Packers' bench early in the third quarter and warmed up, but did not return to the game.

McCarthy said afterward that he thought Favre was hit on the "funny bone" and had weakness in his hand strength.

"I think he took a shot on the nerve," McCarthy said.

Aaron Rodgers, playing his first meaningful minutes of the season, was as stifled by the Patriots as Favre, and sustained what appears to be an ankle injury. Rodgers left the Packers' locker room with a noticeable limp after getting sacked three times. Neither he nor Favre addressed the media afterward. McCarthy, in his post-game press conference, did not mention Rodgers among the players who were injured in the game.

New England, playing a regular season game in Lambeau Field for the first time since 1979, could do nothing wrong on offense or defense, and it showed in the box score. The Patriots rolled up 357 yards of offense to 120 for Green Bay, including a 235 passing to Green Bay's 77.

"It's one game, we have to remember that," said defensive end Aaron Kampman. "This doesn't define us as an organization or as a team. We're very, very frustrated, but we have to regroup and get ready for Seattle."

Brady, who allegedly had a sore shoulder entering the game after getting sacked four times in a loss to the New York Jets last Sunday, was razor sharp. He threw for 244 yards and four touchdowns before giving way to backup quarterback Matt Cassel midway through the fourth quarter.

When Brady wasn't picking apart the Packers through the air, rookie running back Laurence Maroney and veteran Corey Dillon were gashing the Packers on the ground. Maroney, who entered the game averaging 5.4 yards per carry in four road games this season, finished with 82 yards on 19 carries (4.3 yards per carry) while Dillon had 31 yards on 12 carries and a touchdown.

"They did a nice job with their play-action game," Kampman said. "They really kept us off-balance. Give them credit. They did a nice job doing different things to beat us."

As much as Favre was off the mark with his passes in the first two quarters, Brady had all kinds of time to pass the ball, and completed 13 of 18 passes for 158 yards and two touchdowns.

Brady's 54-yard pass to wide receiver Reche Caldwell late in the second quarter put the Patriots up by three touchdowns and again exposed Green Bay's susceptible secondary. Caldwell broke open over the middle on a post pattern as safety Marquand Manuel turned the opposite way, and Caldwell, one of Brady's favorite targets in recent weeks, was wide open near the 10 yard line.

"I've played against him before," said Manuel. "If you let him pick you apart, he will. He's a great game manager. He's not going to make those throws that put his players in bad positions, or put his team in a bad position. He came out and executed well."

The Patriots held the Packers to one first down through the first 28 minutes of first half. New England held the ball for two-thirds of the first half and limited the Packers to 67 total yards.

"There's plenty (of blame) to go around," McCarthy said.

Favre's inability to connect with his receivers, many of whom were wide open, consistently hurt the Packers. Favre completed just 5 of 15 passes for 73 yards, and the bulk of his passing yards came on a 38-yard completion to wide receiver Donald Driver a play before he was injured.

Rodgers took over for Favre in the second half, but the Patriots continued to play drum-tight defense. Rodgers completed 4 of 12 passes for 32 yards and was sacked three times.

"I think I put him in a tough situation, trying to get out there and throw the ball every time," McCarthy said of Rodgers. "He made some plays with his feet, and I think you could see his athletic ability. It was a great test for his preparation. Without seeing film, I thought that he was OK."

The Patriots scored touchdowns on two of their first four possessions in the game, including Dillon's one-yard plunge early in the second quarter for a 14-0 lead. The Patriots took advantage of a 22-yard pass interference penalty on linebacker Brady Poppinga against tight end Daniel Graham at the 1 to set up the touchdown.

Brady and the Patriots moved 63 yards on seven plays to take a 7-0 lead early in the first quarter. Brady hit running back Kevin Faulk with a catch-and-go pass over the middle for a 13-yard gain. On the next play, Brady connected with a deep pass over the middle with tight end Ben Watson to the Packers' 11. On fourth and inches from the 1, Brady dropped back and found tight end Daniel Graham in the back of the end zone for a touchdown.


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