Tom Brady and the New England Patriots won the battle of the GOATS, if such a thing ever existed in the first place.
The Patriots beat quarterback Aaron Rodgers and his Green Bay Packers 31-17. And the Patriots did it without starting running back Sony Michel and star tight end Rob Gronkowski.
For the record, this game didn’t prove Brady is the GOAT, or greatest of all time. He already had done that.
Brady went 22-of-35 for 294 yards with a touchdown, while Rodgers was 24-of-43 for 259 yards with two touchdowns.
The game was close until the Patriots broke away with two four-quarter scores — a 1-yard run by James White and a 55-yard catch and run by wide receiver Josh Gordon.
But the Patriots’ defense might have impressed most, limiting Rodgers and the Packers to just two trips into the end zone. They stepped up with a fumble recovery, third-down sack and turnover on downs in the fourth quarter to keep the Packers from advancing.
Here’s who helped the Patriots most.
RB/WR CORDARRELLE PATTERSON
After James White hurt his knee in the second quarter, Patterson took over primary running back duties, carrying the ball 10 times for 60 yards with a touchdown. He also caught one pass for 7 yards.
The Patterson-playing-running-back experiment went much better in Week 9 than it did in Week 8.
RB JAMES WHITE
White carried the ball 12 times for 31 yards with two touchdowns. He also caught six passes on seven targets for 72 yards. Ho hum. Another 100-yard, two-touchdown game for White.
White re-entered the game in the second half after getting banged up in the second quarter. He didn’t look 100 percent but scored one of his TDs after the injury.
DE TREY FLOWERS
Flowers recorded four tackles and a half sack. He was in the backfield all night, however, pressuring Rodgers.
Flowers’ sack, which he split with Adrian Clayborn, came on third down in the fourth quarter.
DE ADRIAN CLAYBORN
Clayborn also seemed to be in the backfield all night. He finished with three tackles, a half sack, a QB hit and a forced fumble.
CB STEPHON GILMORE
Gilmore helped limit another big wide receiver. He let up just three catches on seven targets for 18 yards with a pass breakup. Just two of those catches for 15 yards went to Packers wideout Davante Adams.
Adams had six catches on nine targets for 40 yards with a touchdown on the night. Four of those catches were let up by Duron Harmon, Devin McCourty, Dont’a Hightower and Jonathan Jones, who allowed the touchdown.
WR JOSH GORDON
Gordon caught five passes on 10 targets for 130 yards, including a 55-yard catch and run TD in which he breezed by an arm tackle.
Gordon also dealt with a finger injury that limited him in the third quarter.
Thumbnail photo via Stew Milne/USA TODAY Sports Images