Green Bay attacks Patriots Flaws

Nelson scores before halftime. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Well the Green Bay Packers had some fortunate situations go their way, but they also were able to exploit a few flaws on the Patriots defense. In a close game at 26-21, the Packers and Patriots played a heavyweight title fight sort of game, trading punches until the end. Both defenses played well, and both offenses were able to score. The great players played great, and both coaches had great game plans. Unfortunately, the Packers were able to utilize schemes and plays that took advantage of mismatches with the Patriots defense.

Aaron Rodgers wouldn't be one of the best quarterbacks in the league if he didn't do what he did tonight with his reads. One of the biggest exploits were of the personnel mismatches. One that resulted in several big plays was the receiver/running back, out of the backfield, going on a wheel route against Rob Ninkovich, who was positioned as an outside linebacker. The first instance was when Randall Cobb started out of the backfield after motioning there, came across the formation, and then went into a wheel route that Ninkovich had to trail. The play resulted in a huge gain. They went back to the same concept, but with RB James Starks, that resulted in a similar big play.

While Revis and Browner played phenomenally, Logan Ryan and Kyle Arrington were outmatched by their assignments on numerous occasions. This lead to Belichick inserting Dennard into the lineup, who also struggled against the size and quickness of the Packers WRs. Davante Adams, at 6'1" 215 lbs, went off for 6 catches for 121 yards, and could have had more if not for a bad red zone drop. The slant routes were utilized perfectly by the Packers to get the ball out fast to their skilled WRs, who then picked up yards after the catch. The Packers also used their skilled receiving TEs in key situations against a struggling Patrick Chung. Richard Rodgers and Andrew Quarless were able to contribute more than their usual with the Patriots focusing on shutting down Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. Overall, the Patriots played well on defense, but they could have been better.

This game could have gone to either team, but the Packers ability to take full advantage of their match-ups resulted in their victory. Thankfully, this may be the shot of reality the Patriots needed to push them harder going into the end of the season and the playoffs.

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