Packers vs. Patriots: Play of the game

Missed opportunities and a mismatch in coverage put away the Packers in Sunday's dreadful performance.

There are no plays of the game in a 35-0 defeat, but one sequence in the second quarter of Sunday's loss to New England put the final nails in Green Bay's coffin.

The Patriots were ahead 14-0 lead when Green Bay took over at its 38-yard line with 5:46 to go in the half. On first down, the Packers' running game finally had an opportunity, but Ahman Green didn't see it.

Left tackle Chad Clifton rode Pro Bowl end Richard Seymour deep to the inside and tight end Bubba Franks had turned linebacker Rosevelt Colvin to the outside. Their work left a huge hole for Green, but Green ran it into the pile and gained 1 yard.

On second down, Packers quarterback Brett Favre rolled to his left and threw the ball over the head of Greg Jennings. Favre, inaccurate the whole game, missed a chance for a 19-yard gain.

On third down, Favre missed a chance for a big gain to tight end David Martin. Martin was running a deep corner route to the left and was open, but Favre threw the ball over Martin's right shoulder instead of to the left. The off-target throw forced Martin to turn around, which slowed him up enough that he couldn't get to the ball.

That left the Packers 0-for-6 on third downs, and those third-down miseries are a big reason why the Patriots won the time-of-possession battle by almost 20 minutes.

While Favre was struggling — he finished 5 of 15 for 73 yards — Tom Brady was thriving. A few plays after the Packers punted, Brady struck. New England somehow got safety Marquand Manuel matched up one-on-one against Reche Caldwell. Manuel has never been strong in coverage, and he was turned 360 degrees as Caldwell faked a corner route and ran to the post, getting open by 10 yards for an easy 54-yard touchdown.

"We got outcoached and outplayed today," Manuel said. "That's all that happened. It was just an embarrassment all the way around."

That made it 21-0. Favre got hurt a couple plays later, and the game was all but over.

Lawrence is a regular contributor to PackerReport.com. Send comments to steve_lawrence_packers@yahoo.com.


Packer Report Top Stories