Patriots’ Bill Belichick Showers Packers’ Aaron Rodgers With Praise

Bill Belichick, Patriots, Aaron Rodgers, Packers
NFL Analysis Network

Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers got a scare on Sunday afternoon in their game against Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots. The visiting Patriots were without their starting quarterback, Mac Jones, who was dealing with a high ankle sprain. Backup Brian Hoyer didn’t last very long either, as he was injured in the game and ruled out with a head injury.

That left rookie Bailey Zappe as the only option at quarterback. There aren’t many venues worse for a rookie to make their debut than Lambeau Field, but he handled himself well. Zappe completed 10-of-15 passes for 99 yards and a touchdown, helping keep New England competitive.

But, in the end, the Patriots fell short. The Packers won the game 27-24 courtesy of a Mason Crosby walk-off field goal as time expired in overtime. The difference, ultimately, was that New England couldn’t move the ball in overtime and Green Bay could.

Despite Marcus Jones returning a punt 20 yards in overtime, the Patriots gained only five yards on their drive that began at their own 49. If they had gotten one first-down they would have been able to give Nick Folk a chance to win the game with a field goal attempt of his own.

Alas, it wasn’t in the cards. Aaron Rodgers, the Packers’ second drive of overtime, led the team right down the field for a 31-yard game-winner. Ultimately, having Rodgers was the difference in the game.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick did not mince his words after the game. He heaped praise on Rodgers, admitting that the future Hall of Famer was just too good.

“In the end, Rodgers was just too good. He made some throws that only Rodgers can make. We had pretty good coverage on some of those and he was just too smart, too good, too accurate. In the end, he got us,” Belichick said.

Given the circumstances coming into the game, the Patriots handled themselves well. They were put in an even tougher spot with Zappe being called into action, but the team didn’t panic and hung with the Packers right until the very end.

But, in the end, the difference was that Green Bay had Rodgers and New England didn’t. They are now experiencing first-hand what it was like for opponents all those years watching Tom Brady lead the Patriots to countless victories.