Early throughout Sunday afternoon’s sport between the Inexperienced Bay Packers and the visiting New England Patriots, backup quarterback Brian Hoyer was headed to the locker room to be evaluated for a head damage and New England followers have been googling “who’s the Patriots emergency quarterback?”
Shortly thereafter they have been googling “the place did Bailey Zappe come from?”
With beginning quarterback Mac Jones sidelined with a excessive ankle sprain and Hoyer dominated out early within the contest with a head damage, the rookie quarterback noticed his first NFL motion at Lambeau Discipline in opposition to Aaron Rodgers.
Zappe and New England put a scare into Rodgers and the Packers, however the veteran quarterback discovered a method to ship the win regardless of trailing at halftime.
It seemed within the first half as if the Packers would run away with the victory. After managing a area objective on the primary possession of the sport, the Patriots punted on the following two drives with Hoyer on the helm, after which on the primary three possessions with Zappe within the sport.
On Zappe’s fourth possession beneath heart, there have been indicators of life from the Patriots offense as the primary half wound down. New England was simply exterior the purple zone with over a minute remaining, trailing 7-3, and seemed in place to at the least add a area objective earlier than halftime.
That’s when Rashan Gary broke free off the best edge, forcing a fumble from the rookie quarterback:
With the Packers taking on possession at their very own 31-yard line, and having a pair of timeouts to work with, it appeared like Inexperienced Bay may break the sport open. Complicating issues for New England was the truth that the Packers would obtain the second half kickoff, giving them the potential double-dip.
As an alternative, they’d be receiving a kickoff a couple of performs later:
Rookie cornerback Jack Jones stepped in entrance of Allen Lazard and snared a throw alongside the sideline, returning it 40 yards for the landing, and within the blink of a watch, the Patriots had the lead at Lambeau Discipline heading into the break.
Because the groups streamed in direction of the locker rooms, Rodgers’ halftime stats weren’t precisely what Packers followers have been hoping for:
These numbers could be rotated in a rush, as Rodgers and the Packers’ passing sport began to click on. Inexperienced Bay opened the third quarter by going proper down the sector, placing collectively a 10-play drive that lined 81 yards. A key play on that drive was this beautifully-thrown go route alongside the best sideline from Rodgers, connecting with Lazard for an enormous acquire:
That drive ended with Rodgers utilizing his eyes to perfection, opening to the left aspect earlier than snapping them again to the best to choose up tight finish Robert Tonyan for the rating:
New England and Zappe answered proper again with a seven-play drive, topped off by Zappe’s first skilled landing go:
Working off play-action, Zappe finds DeVante Parker on the crossing route working from the left aspect of the sector. Zappe exhibits nice contact on the throw, dropping it over the beneath defenders after which in entrance of the safeties. From there, Parker does the remaining, slicing into the top zone with the landing to return the result in New England.
If you happen to had Zappe as the primary rookie quarterback to throw atouchdown this season, come on down and acquire your winnings …
Packers followers, maybe with good cause, have been screaming for a delay of sport penalty on the play, because the ball was snapped nicely after the play clock expired. A flag didn’t come, and the landing remained on the board.
Rodgers and the Packers settled for a area objective on their subsequent possession, and the Patriots turned to the bottom sport on their subsequent possession. The following drive featured Marcus Cannon within the sport as a sixth offensive lineman, and the Patriots ran the soccer on six of the seven performs, together with this landing run from Damien Harris to interrupt the tie and provides the Patriots a 24-17 lead at Lambeau Discipline.
Nevertheless, Rodgers was not going to go quietly into the Wisconsin night time. The veteran quarterback and the Packers offense delivered on the following possession, with Rodgers connecting with rookie broad receiver Romeo Doubs on a back-shoulder throw within the purple zone to tie the sport but once more:
The landing was the five hundredth of Rodgers’ profession, placing him in rarified air. With the throw Rodgers joined Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and Brett Favre within the 500 membership.
Minutes later, it appeared like Rodgers had hit on 501 to present the Packers the lead late. He linked with Doubs once more on a vertical route alongside the best sideline, however Doubs misplaced management of the soccer when he got here crashing to the turf at Lambeau Discipline. The play was dominated an incompletion on the sector and upheld after a Inexperienced Bay problem.
The sport moved to additional time, and the Packers received the toss and acquired the kickoff to begin the additional body. The groups traded punts on their first two possessions, however then Rodgers and the Packers offense took management of the sport, carrying down the New England protection with a protracted possession that introduced the clock all the way down to the top of the additional time. A important play on that drive was this third-down connection between Rodgers and Randall Cobb, placing the Packers on the cusp of area objective vary:
Inexperienced Bay labored the clock down to simply 4 seconds remaining earlier than calling for Mason Crosby. The veteran kicker got here on for the 31-yard area objective try,
The celebration started, which included a protracted alternate at midfield between Rodgers and Invoice Belichick.
It was a valiant effort from the Patriots given the circumstances. With Mac Jones dominated out on Friday and Hoyer sidelined early within the contest, it seemed just like the Patriots may get run off the sector. However Zappe and the Patriots hung robust on either side of the soccer, and had an opportunity to enter Inexperienced Bay and steal a win regardless of being heavy underdogs going into the sport.
However in the long run, Rodgers and the Packers have been merely an excessive amount of. Notably Rodgers, who confirmed once more on this afternoon simply how good you need to be — on either side of the ball — to beat him proper now. Rodgers completed the day having accomplished 21 of 35 passes for 251 yards and a couple of scores, together with the interception.
And a win which, nicely, might need been more durable than anticipated, however a win nonetheless.