FOXBORO, Mass. — Some leftover notes and nuggets from the New England Patriots’ 31-17 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night at Gillette Stadium:
— Another week, another strong showing by James White. The running back finished with 102 yards from scrimmage (31 rushing, 72 receiving) and two rushing touchdowns in the win.
For a period of time late in the second quarter, though, White’s status was unclear. He limped off the field after a 6-yard carry and could be seen repeatedly flexing his left leg on the sideline while his replacement, receiver-turned-running back Cordarrelle Patterson, sliced up the Packers’ defense.
White did not play another snap in the first half, and even after he returned to the field shortly after halftime, he was used sparingly, touching the ball just once in the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, though, he again became a key cog in the Patriots’ offense, touching the ball seven times on nine plays on what proved to be the game-winning touchdown drive.
He scored that touchdown, plunging his way across the goal line from 1 yard out after picking up 37 yards on a trick-play screen pass from wide receiver Julian Edelman.
White downplayed the injury scare when asked about it after the game.
“I just had to, you know, shake it out a little bit, let the feeling come back in my knee,” he said. “Then I was all right.”
With six catches on seven targets in the win, White now is up to 61 receptions on the season — a new career high for the pass-catching dynamo. Unsurprisingly, the team co-captain downplayed this development, as well.
“For me, I just go out there and put my best foot forward each time I step out on the field,” White said. “It doesn’t matter if I have 61 receptions or 10 receptions, I just want to go out there and play hard, help my team get wins. It’s not really about the stats for me. I’m just trying to help my team.”
Fellow running back Sony Michel missed his second consecutive game as he recovers from a knee injury.
— Tom Brady reached a milestone of his own, surpassing Peyton Manning for the most total yards by any player in NFL history, including postseason. He has 80,074, beating Manning’s mark of 79,978.
Asked about this accomplishment, Patriots coach Bill Belichick was effusive in his praise of the quarterback.
“It’s unbelievable,” Belichick said. “Tom’s had a tremendous career and I’m so fortunate that I’ve been able to coach him. He’s been our quarterback since 2001. Yeah, it’s a tremendous accomplishment and he’s earned it. Nobody has given him anything. He’s worked harder than anybody to prepare each week, to practice, to improve, to be healthy, to take care of himself and to know the game plan and know the defense.
“His achievements — he’s earned them and deserves them. … That’s a great achievement for him. You’re talking about a lot of great, great, great quarterbacks, great players that he’s ahead of. It’s certainly a testament to him and the longevity and productivity in his great career. Hopefully, he just keeps stacking them up.”
— Patriots tight end Dwayne Allen made a rare appearance as a pass catcher, hauling in one reception for 21 yards in the win. It was just Allen’s second catch of the season and his 11th in 28 games with the Patriots.
Allen was New England’s only active tight end Sunday with Rob Gronkowski (ankle/back) and Jacob Hollister (hamstring) both nursing injuries.
— Speaking of injuries, the Packers’ defense was ravaged by them.
They lost cornerback Kevin King (hamstring), safety Kentrell Brice (knee) and linebacker Blake Martinez (ankle) during the game (although Martinez returned late) and also were without safety Jermaine Whitehead for much of the night after he was ejected for slapping Patriots center David Andrews after the whistle.