The Packer Fan Minute

Flynn Was This Close...But Pack Lose 27-31.


Maybe Reggie White was looking down on the Packers yesterday, and he had something to do with the day getting started off on the right foot. Reggie (December 19, 1961 – December 26, 2004) would of been celebrating his 49th birthday. God Bless You, Reggie. The Lions beating the Bucs, the incredible Eagles win over the Giants and even the Saints losing to the Ravens all played into the hands of the Packers gaining ground in the playoff race. And it all led up to the Sunday Night Prime Time match up with the New England Patriots. And it was a good game.

The players and coaches said all week they had confidence in backup quarterback Matt Flynn running the offense. And now the fans know why too. Despite needing Flynn to make his first NFL start for Aaron Rodgers, who was out with a concussion, the Packers didn’t act like underdogs all week, and they didn’t play like it either. They grabbed the lead in the game three different times, held the ball for more than 40 minutes, and made the Patriots look nothing like the invincible outfit that. Backup quarterback Matt Flynn, and the Packers fought valiantly on the road in prime time Sunday night against a New England Patriots team thought by many to be on their way to a fourth Super Bowl title this decade. But a potential game-winning drive came up 15 yards short, ending in harried desperation as the Packers fell, 31-27, in front of 68,756 at Gillette Stadium. Packers lost their second straight to drop to 8-6, with all six losses this season coming by four points or less.

The Packers now must win the last two games to make the playoffs. The only silver lining is that because the Giants and Buccaneers both lost earlier Sunday, the Packers still control their own playoff fate. Two wins over the Giants and Bears to close out the season will get the Packers into the playoffs at 10-6. That will be the focus going forward, but this loss does serious damage to the Packers’ chances of winning the NFC North over the Bears, who can clinch the division with a win Monday night at Minnesota.

The Packers did a gutsy call with the onside kick and the nice recovery by Nick Collins on the opening kickoff and it truly took the Patriots by surprise. Flynn looked pretty good on the opening drive, but we had to settle for a field goal and a 3-0 lead. The lead was short lived as Tom Brady drove down the field and RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis "The Law Firm" who had a 33 yard TD run. A critical mistake on that Pats drive was the sure INT that Woodson dropped, that would of ended New England's momentum and gave us the ball back on offense.

The first quarter ended with us driving, and early in the 2nd quarter backup QB Matt Flynn connected on a 66 yard TD pass to WR James Jones. And it was nothing short of a thing of beauty, as we took the lead 10-3. But LB Desmond Bishop hard hit on Brady that forced him to fumble, seemed to rattle Brady a little. The Packers missed another chance there and did not recover the fumble. The Packers got the ball back on another New England's three and out and again the Packers drove down and scored by a nice 1 yard TD throw from Flynn to Jennings to go up 17-7. But on the ensuing kickoff the Packers allowed New England lineman Dan Connolly to pick up a squibbed kickoff and ramble 71 yards down the far sideline, (the longest by any offensive lineman in the NFL) all the way to the Green Bay 4. It set up an easy scoring drive for New England quarterback Tom Brady, who hit tight end Aaron Hernandez with a 2-yard TD pass on third-and-goal to get within 17-14 at intermission. OMG, Really? The Packers Special Teams are NOT so special.

The Packers started the second half by receiving the ball. Flynn’s first throw of the third quarter turned into disaster. On third down, Jones got bumped off his slant route and Flynn’s pass went right into the hands of cornerback Kyle Arrington, who broke several tackles in returning the interception 36 yards for a score. Another poor tackling play. The Packers came up short primarily because of three major lapses at critical moments. First, leading 17-7 late in the second quarter after Flynn (1st Packers quarterback to throw for three touchdowns in his first NFL start since Anthony Dilweg back on Sept. 9, 1990, a 36-24 win over the L.A. Rams.) (24-of-37, 251 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT, 100.2 rating). Suddenly, the Patriots had wiped out the 10-point deficit to take a 21-17 lead, and the all-world Brady (15-of-24, 163 yards, 2 TD, 110.2 rating) had only passed for a handful of yards in the process.

You also can’t fail to capitalize on golden opportunities, besides the missed turnover opportunities, another one happened at the start of the fourth quarter. Having taken a 24-21 lead on a 6-yard TD pass to fullback John Kuhn, the Packers got a three-and-out and then put together another solid drive to add to the lead. But with first-and-goal on the 2, Kuhn was stopped twice in a row at the 1 on a fullback dive, and when Flynn threw the ball away under pressure on third down, the Packers settled for a field goal to make it 27-21 and never pushed the lead back to two scores.

Heros: Matt Flynn, for keeping us in the game and playing solid football. I am happy with our backup QB for the future. Our running game that produced 143 yards, including 99 from Brandon "Action" Jackson on 22 carries. Rodgers on the sidelines throughout the game, making sure that Flynn was o.k. and cheering him on! The Packers defense for staying strong, especially B.J. Raji, nice game.

Boos: Special Teams..........Missed INT's.

"Just play with the energy and intensity we played with today. If we play the rest of the season like that, things will fall our way."

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