All due credit to Matt Flynn. The back-up quarterback stepped into the unenviable position of making his first start against the New England Patriots on the national stage. Once there, he went 24 of 37 for 251 yards with three touchdowns and one interception.
That said, that interception was returned for a touchdown and Flynn’s inability to figure out what to do as time ticked away, both helping the Pats hold on for a win Sunday night. A failure to quickly call a play with time winding down left Flynn scrambling, and Tully Banta-Cain sacked him from behind to force a fumble and end the game, 31-27 Patriots.
Tom Brady has a statistically-average evening (163 yards, 2 TDs) but he made the most of the time given, especially on a six-play drive in the fourth quarter that put the Pats ahead for good.
The Patriots defense had an up and down evening, to say the least. They looked tired and unable to make critical stops when needed. At least until the fourth quarter when they woke up just in time to bend-but-not-break on the final drive of the game. That the Packer threat ended with a forced fumble and recovery was a satisfying conclusion for a unit that hadn’t felt so up until then.
Of course the big, and I mean big, story of the evening was Patriots right guard Dan Connolly running 71 yards on a kickoff return, the longest kickoff return by an offensive lineman in NFL history. His rumble set up a two-yard TD pass from Brady to Aaron Hernandez in the first half.