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Tom Brady and the Patriots out-duel Aaron Rodgers and the Packers

Tom Brady threw for 294 yards and a touchdown in the win.Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff


■   The video game-like numbers that were predicted by many never materialized as the Patriots’ defense stiffened at all the right times in a 31-17 win over the Packers before the liveliest crowd of the season Gillette Stadium. (Read more)

■   Jim McBride’s game breakdown: The best, worst, and everything in between from New England’s win. (Read more)

■   Ben Volin: The Patriots had some iffy moments in this win. But the game gets chalked up in the W column, and New England’s record says 7-2, so ultimately that’s all that matters. (Read more)


■   Tara Sullivan: For sure, this was a matchup to be savored, to be appreciated, to be noted for posterity precisely because it happens so infrequently for two veterans . And even if the reality of game didn’t quite live up to that advance billing, Tom Brady walked off the field leaving one similarly crucial message in his wake: Sure, these matchups may be great for hype and history, but this is my house. (Read more)

■   The New England coaching staff is finding ways to get Cordarrelle Patterson the ball in space, and he’s responded with his best games of the season at a time when the team is shorthanded on offense. Against the Packers, he ran for 61 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries along with one 7-yard catch and two kick returns for 64 yards. (Read more)

Photos from the game

Patriots linebackers Elandon Roberts (52) and Kyle Van Noy walking off the field after the win.Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff
Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers hugged after their second all-time meeting.Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff
Bill Belichick waved to the stands after the win.Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff
Adrian Clayborn sacked Aaron Rodgers, with the help of Trey Flowers, in the fourth quarter.Jim Davis/Globe Staff
Trey Flowers (left) rushed to congratulate Adrian Clayborn after Clayborn's sack of Aaron Rodgers during the fourth quarter.Jim Davis/Globe Staff
Aaron Rodgers was hit six times and sacked once in the Packers’ loss.Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff
Tom Brady and Josh Gordon hugged after they connected for a fourth-quarter TD.Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff
Josh Gordon scored a 55-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter, his second as a Patriot.Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff
Julian Edelman completed a pass to James White, who gained 37 yards on the catch-and-run in the fourth quarter.Jim Davis/Globe Staff
Tom Brady completed 22 of 35 passes for 294 yards and a touchdown in the winMatthew J. Lee/Globe Staff
Lawrence Guy caused Aaron Jones to fumble during the fourth quarter.Jim Davis/Globe Staff
Stephon Gilmore recovered Aaron Jones’s fumble.Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff
Gilmore held up the ball as his teammates congratulated him.Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff
Aaron Rogers threw his hand up after going three-and-out in the third quarter.Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff
Tom Brady yelled at field judge Steve Zimmer during the third quarter.Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff
A pass to Davante Adams ruled incomplete after Bill Belichick challenged the call in the third quarter.Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff
Josh Gordon held his hand after failing to come up with the catch during the third quarter.Jim Davis/Globe Staff
Packers safety Jermaine Whitehead was escourted off the field after he was ejected for smacking David Andrews in the second quarter.Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff
Cordarrelle Patterson plunged into the end zone to score a 5-yard touchdown in the second quarter.Jim Davis/Globe Staff
Tom Brady congratulated Cordarelle Patterson after Patterson’s second-quarter rushing touchdown.Jim Davis/Globe Staff
Cordarelle Patterson was tackled by the shirt during a second-quarter run.Jim Davis/Globe Staff
Jimmy Graham couldn’t make the one-handed touchdown grab with Devin McCourty in coverage in the second quarter.Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff
Tom Brady scrambled to elude pressure and Clay Matthews in the second quarter.Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff
Tramon Williams tackled Julian Edelman after a reception during the second quarter.Jim Davis/Globe Staff
Trey Flowers pressured Aaron Rodgers during first quarter action.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Tom Brady and the Patriots out-duel Aaron Rodgers and the Packers

FOXBOROUGH — A defensive struggle. Just like everyone thought.

OK, maybe not. After all, 48 points were scored Sunday night.

But the video game-like numbers that were predicted by many never materialized as the Patriots’ defense stiffened at all the right times in a 31-17 win over the Packers before the liveliest crowd of the season Gillette Stadium.


There were some gaudy numbers achieved, as Tom Brady became the first player in the NFL history to crack 80,000 combined passing, rushing, and receiving yards — that’s regular season and postseason together.

“I think we fought pretty hard . . . Defense made so many plays, and glad we kept them off the field there at the end,” Brady said on the field after.

Deadlocked at 17-17 early in the fourth quarter, the Patriots erupted for 14 straight points that were sparked by their opportunistic defense.

With the Packers on the move, Lawrence Guy stepped into running back Aaron Jones and jarred the ball loose and it was recovered by Stephon Gilmore.

The Patriots, who have at least one turnover in every game this season, responded with a 10-play, 76-yard drive that James White capped with his second touchdown run of the night.

The journey was highlighted by Julian Edelman’s 37-yard pass and run to White.

When Aaron Rodgers buckled his chinstrap to lead the Packers’ equalizing drive, the Patriots defense buckled down once again.

Brian Flores’s crew forced a quick three-and-out and the Josh McDaniels’s charges fed off the momentum.

The Patriots needed just three plays to move 72 yards with Brady connecting with Josh Gordon on a 55-yard touchdown pass to give the hosts a 31-17 lead.

Rodgers again had a chance to get his club back within striking distance but again the rejuvenated New Englander night watchers defended their wall, stopping the Pack in their tracks on a fourth-and-4.


With the ball back in Brady’s hands, the NFL’s most prolific offensive performer went about salting away a victory with visions of Cheeseheads streaking for the exits.

Below are updates from the game as it unfolded.

Fourth quarter

Patriots 31, Packers 17 (3:52): Green Bay turned it over on downs after a nine-play, 27-yard drive.

Patriots 31, Packers 17 (7:20): Tom Brady connected with Josh Gordon for a 55-yard touchdown on the third play of the possession.

It was Gordon’s second touchdown as a Patriot, and Brady’s first touchdown throw since Week 7.

Patriots 24, Packers 17 (9:21): Less than a minute after James White gave New England the lead again, Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay went three-and-out.

On third down, Trey Flowers and Adrian Clayborn blew up Rodgers’s protection and sacked him for a loss of 9 yards.

Patriots 24, Packers 17 (10:06): White scored his second rushing TD of the night, this one from 1-yard out. The run capped a 10-play, 76-yard drive off of a Green Bay fumble.

On the seventh play of the possession, the Patriots went into their bag of tricks and pulled out a double pass: Julian Edelman hit White on a 37-yard catch-and-run.

Patriots 17, Packers 17 (14:52): Lawrence Guy forced Aaron Jones to fumble, and Stephon Gilmore recovered it. Tom Brady and Co. took over at their own 23-yard line.


Lawrence Guy forced Aaron Jones to fumble in the fourth quarter.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Third quarter

Patriots 17, Packers 17 (5:07): After Antonio Morrison sacked Tom Brady for a loss of 11 on third down, making it fourth and 21, Green Bay was whistled for roughing the punter, giving New England a fresh set of downs. But Brady and Co. couldn’t do anything with another chance, punting four plays later.

Patriots 17, Packers 17 (5:25): Green Bay went three-and-out after the Patriots turned it over on downs.

Patriots 17, Packers 17 (7:02): New England turned it over on downs after its offense couldn’t covert a fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line. Tom Brady couldn’t connect with Josh Gordon in the end zone, Gordon slipping a bit as Brady’s pass sailed by.

Brady also couldn’t connect on third-and-short, his pass intended for Chris Hogan knocked down by rookie Josh Jackson.

Cordarrelle Patterson’s second down effort was initially ruled a touchdown before it was overturned on replay.

The Patriots’ drive was 12 plays, covered 74 yards, and included a 21-yard catch by Dwayne Allen and 14- and 17-yard catches by Gordon.

Patriots 17, Packers 17 (11:18): On the opening drive of the second half, Aaron Rodgers hit Jimmy Graham for a 15-yard touchdown. It capped a seven-play, 76-yard drive.

Earlier in the drive, Bill Belichick challenged the ruling that Davante Adams made a 15-yard catch on the second play of the series. Officials overturned the call, giving the Packers a third-and-6 from their own 28. But on the next play, Marquez Valdes-Scantling beat Jason McCourty to make a 51-yard catch.


Halftime stats

Total yards: NE 195, GB 198

Plays: NE 31, GB 42

Yards per play: NE 6.3, GB 4.7

First downs: NE 15, GB 15

Third down: NE 2 of 5, GB 3-7

Penalties-yards: NE 3-15, GB 4-30

Time of possession: NE 10:46, GB 19:14

Tom Brady: 10 of 16 for 121 yards, 85.7 rating

Aaron Rodgers: 16 of 27 for 123 yards, TD, 82.8 rating

NE rushing: Cordarrelle Patterson 5 for 51, James White 6 for 27, Kenjon Barner 1 for 4, Brady 1 for 2

GB rushing: Aaron Jones 8 for 48, Jamaal Williams 5 for 27, Rodgers 2 for 0

NE receiving: Julian Edelman 3 for 53, Josh Gordon 1 for 29, White 3 for 26, Phillip Dorsett 2 for 13

GB receiving: Jimmy Graham 3 for 40, Davante Adams 5 for 32, Randall Cobb 4 for 24, Williams 2 for 20, Equanimeous St. Brown 1 for 4, Jones 1 for 3

Second quarter

Patriots 17, Packer 10 (1:57): Cordarrelle Patterson scored a 5-yard touchdown to give New England the lead again, capping a seven-play, 69-yard drive. Patterson toted the rock four times for 40 yards on the possession and has five carries for 51 yards on the night.

Patriots 10, Packers 10 (3:11): Green Bay safety Jermaine Whitehead was ejected. He was flagged for unnecessary roughness after smacking center David Andrews in the face.

Patriots 10, Packers 10 (4:49): Aaron Rodgers fired a 2-yard touchdown pass to Davante Adams to tie it up. It was a 13-play, 79-yard drive by Green Bay.

Rodgers is now 14-of-24 passing for 110 yards and the TD.

Patriots 10, Packers 3 (13:30): Stephen Gostkowski made a chip shot 28-yarder to add to New England’s lead. A 29-catch by Josh Gordon and a flea-flicker that resulted in a 33-yard catch by Julian Edelman highlighted the seven-play, 78-yard drive.

First quarter

■   New England and Green Bay traded punt on their second possessions. After Julian Edelman reeled in a pass for 16 yards on the first play,

Patriots 7, Packers 3 (5:05): Aaron Rodgers and his offense marched 62 plays on 14 yards, taking up 6:35 of clock, but had to settle for a 29-yard Mason Crosby field goal for their first points of the game.

Rogers completed 6 of 9 passes for 39 yards on the drive, which included a delay of game penalty on Green Bay that turned a second-and-goal from the 9 to a second-and-goal from the 14. On the next play, cornerback Stephon Gilmore came up with a big pass breakup in the end zone, knocking down a well-thrown ball intended for Davante Adams. The Patriots’ defense then bottled up Randall Cobb on third down, forcing Green Bay to bring on Crosby.

Stephon Gilmore broke up a pass intended for Davante Adams in the first quarter.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Deatrich Wise Jr. recorded two QB hits on the drive.

Patriots 7, Packers 0 (11:40): New England opened with a quick touchdown drive, covering 59 yards in 3 minutes, 20 seconds. An 8-yard touchdown run by James White capped it off. Tom Brady completed 5 of 6 passes for 39 yards and rushed for 2 yards on the series, inching him closer to 1,000 rushing yards for his career.

Of the 10 plays, White had six touches: 3 carries for 18 yards and 3 catches for 26 yards. Phillip Dorsett had 2 catches for 13 yards.

Coin toss

The Packers won the coin toss and chose to defer. The Patriots will receive the opening kickoff.

Red Sox’ victory tour hits Gillette

The World Champion Sox entered the field via duck boat prior to kickoff.

World Series MVP Stave Pearce shook hands with Robert Kraft before the game.Jim Davis/Globe Staff
Red Sox president Sam Kennedy took a photo of Sox principal owner John Henry and manager Alex Cora before the game.Jim Davis/Globe Staff
Alex Cora waved his Red Sox shirt around after revealing his Patriots jersey.Jim Davis/Globe Staff
J.D. Martinez hoisted the Commissioner’s Trophy as the Red Sox entered Gillette Stadium on a duck boat.Jim Davis/Globe Staff
Alex Cora and Brock Holt waved as the Red Sox entered Gillette Stadium on a duck boat.Jim Davis/Globe Staff
Brock Holt and members of the Red Sox arrived inside Gillette Stadium on a duck boat with the World Series trophy.Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff

Pregame scenes

Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff
Tom Brady fist bumped a teammate during warmups.Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff
Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore during warmups.Jim Davis/Globe Staff
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Gronkowski, Michel inactive for Patriots

FOXBOROUGH — The Patriots are down two potent offensive weapons tonight as tight end Rob Gronkowski and running back Sony Michel were ruled out with lingering injuries.

Gronkowski has been on the injury report in recent weeks with ankle and back woes and missed the win over the Bears two weeks ago but returned for Monday night’s win over the Bills.

Concern that Gronkowski might not suit up for the Packers game first surfaced Wednesday when a subdued Gronkowski spoke to the media after the team’s walkthrough and answered “living” when asked how he was feeling.

He missed the team’s full pads practice on Thursday but did return for Friday’s sweats and shells workout.

The tight end, who hasn’t scored a touchdown since Week 1, did say his confidence level was “good . . . because we’re winning” before cutting his news conference short.

Michel suffered a knee injury in that Bears game but missed only a few days of practice. He was limited/questionable all week and told reporters Friday that he was feeling “pretty good” leading to speculation that he’d return against the Packers.

Michel is the Patriots leading rusher with 422 yards and his absence meant the team had just two healthy backs (James White and Kenjon Barner) for the second straight week. Against the Bills, receiver Cordarrelle Patterson was the club’s leading rusher.

New England’s other inactives were tight end Jacob Hollister, offensive linemen Shaq Mason, Brian Schwenke, and Cole Croston, and linebacker Nicholas Grigsby.

Jim McBride

Linebacker Dont’a Hightower is active after missing Monday’s game in Buffalo, and offensive lineman Marcus Cannon is active for the first time in three games after dealing with a concussion.

For the Packers, quarterback Tim Boyle, punter Drew Kaser, cornerback Tony Brown, linebacker Korey Toomer, offensive linemen Justin McCray and Alex Light, and receiver Geronimo Allison were inactive.

Keys to victory


1. Spread Davante Adams out far and wide. As Bill Belichick said, “Everything’s a problem,” when it comes to Adams. He fights for every ball and is elusive after the catch.

2. Clay Matthews must be a force — but not too forceful (watch those roughing-the-passer calls). He has excellent instincts and a high-revving engine.

3. Giant tackles David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga must keep the Patriots out of Aaron Rodgers’s face. The QB can’t continue to take the punishment he’s absorbed and be effective.


1. Tom Brady & Co. must cash in when they get to the red zone. This game could turn into a track meet, and settling for field goals just won’t work against Aaron Rodgers.

2. Identifying and picking up Green Bay’s multiple blitz packages is imperative to give Brady time to run through his reads and his receivers the time to get free.

3. It’ll take a championship effort to rattle Rodgers. Pressure needs to come from everywhere to take away his time and space. Play through the whistle, because this guy sure does.

Jim McBride

Pregame reading

■   New England vs. Green Bay scouting report: Who has the edge in every phase of the game. (Read more)

■   Report card: We reviewed the first half of the Patriots’ season, sorting items into five categories: Great, Good, Fair, Needs Improvement, and Poor. (Read more)

■   What if Brady and Rodgers were living each other’s reality? The two California kids have been at the top of the NFL for more than a decade, in Brady’s case close to two, each with one team, yet they meet Sunday for just the second time. Wouldn’t it be cool to Freaky Friday them, just to see? (Read more)

■   Christopher L. Gasper: What’s up with Gronkowski is a fair question. It’s one that’s not going away because it’s impossible not to view his play through the lens of his contract, which had performance incentives added to it for the second consecutive season. It creates a compelling soap opera — As the Tight End Earns. (Read more)

■   Chad Finn’s Unconventional Preview: Let’s not confuse Rodgers with Brady as the greatest quarterback of all time. (Read more)

■   Brady is approaching a career milestone, and it has nothing to do with passing. (Read more)

■   Despite ranking in the bottom half of the NFL in points and yards allowed per game, the Green Bay defense has been one of the best in football at generating quarterback pressure, often in creative, disguisable ways. The Packers are tied for third in the NFL with 3.3 sacks per game. (Read more)