The Green Bay Packers hosted the New England Patriots for their preseason home opener. Coming off of a strong win against Cincinnati last week, the Packers look to continue solidifying their 53-man roster.
The Packers’ first drive of the game started strong, with three straight runs gaining five+ yards each. That strong start was all for naught. Following an incomplete pass that would’ve been brought back regardless due to an offensive penalty, starting center Josh Myers sent the snap past Jordan Love, where it was recovered by New England at the Packers’ 18 yard line. The Patriots capitalized on this short field with a short Rhamondre Stevenson touchdown run.
The following drive for the Packers ended in a punt at midfield, and a Kingsley Enagbare sack forced the Patriots to settle for a punt of their own on their next drive. Starting on their own three-yard-line, the Packers cooked up a quick five-play touchdown drive where Love dazzled fans with a deep completion to Romeo Doubs, an 11-yard scramble, and a deep touchdown pass to rookie Jayden Reed to cap off the drive.
Attempting to respond, the Patriots offense drove down the field to the Packers’ 27-yard line but Enagbare again made his presence known by strip-sacking Mac Jones and recovering the fumble himself. The Packers, now under rookie Sean Clifford capitalized on the turnover with a Patrick Taylor touchdown run eight plays later.
Both teams traded punts before the Patriots scored their second touchdown of the game on a deep Kendrick Bourne completion. With under a minute to go in the half, Clifford orchestrated a beautiful two-minute drill to get the offense into field goal range and allow Anders Carlson to nail a 52-yard field goal with seconds remaining in the half.
The second half began with both teams punting before the Patriots, now under Bailey Zappe, strung together a 17-play drive ending in Zappe scampering into the endzone to put the Patriots up 21-17 as the third quarter ended.
Those would be the final points scored in the game, as during the following drive, Patriots cornerback Isaiah Bolden collided with teammate Calvin Munson during a tackle. Bolden remained motionless on the ground after the hit and had to be put on a stretcher and carted off the field. The NFL promptly suspended the rest of the game.
We wish Isaiah Bolden a speedy recovery.
Players of the Game
- Jordan Love: For the second straight week, Jordan Love earns player of the game honors for yet another promising performance. Love played all three offensive drives in the first quarter of the game; completing five passes on eight attempts for 84 yards, including a 42-yard bomb to Doubs down the sideline and a 19-yard bullet into tight coverage to Reed for a touchdown. Love continues to show how sitting behind Rodgers has allowed him to develop, and Love’s performance thus far is promising as we get closer to the regular season.
- Malik Heath: One of two undrafted rookies to make this week’s POTG list, Malik Heath not only showed out in the preseason, but has been doing so since the Packers signed him. Heath caught five passes for 75 yards and continues to make his case for making the final 53-man roster. With one more performance like this, it would be hard to imagine Heath not making the final roster.
- Emmanuel Wilson: The second of the undrafted rookies to make this list, Wilson has also simply dominated this preseason. Wilson followed up his 111-yard performance last week by racking up 63 yards on 15 carries and and 15 yards on two catches. With the first three running back slots essentially locked up, (Patrick Taylor’s use in special teams is critical), Wilson will have to dominate once more next week for the Packers to seriously consider keeping four running backs on the roster to hold onto a stud like him.
- Tarvarious Moore suffered a knee injury, considered day-to-day.
The Packers drop to 1-1 in the preseason, and will head to Seattle to take on the Seahawks in their final preseason matchup of the year. There are still plenty of roster spots to lock up, and many players will have to dominate this week in order to earn their spot in the final 53-man lineup.