For only the second time in their Hall of Fame careers, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers met on the field: the football field. The first time was back in 2014 in Green Bay, where Rodgers’ Packers were simply too much for Brady’s Patriots. Rodgers threw for 368 yards and two touchdown passes, leading the Packers to a 26–21 victory over the Patriots. This time around, things went a bit differently for Rodgers, as he visited Gillette Stadium in Foxborough.
Tom Brady did not play his best game ever, but he took advantage of every miscue the Packers had on defense. He handed the ball off a lot to get the running game going, but he made the necessary passes when the time came. It was noticeable that Josh Gordon was a big part of the game plan, as they tried to get him going early and often. It almost seemed a bit forced at one point in the second quarter, due to Brady throwing two straight incomplete passes to him. With that said, Brady quickly began making better reads and getting different receivers involved.
On the other hand, Aaron Rodgers struggled to make plays happen the entire first half. The Patriots’ defense definitely deserves a lot of credit for that, but it was as evident as ever that Brady was simply the best quarterback on the field. Rodgers even fumbled at one point, but luckily for him the ball went out of bounds, so the Packers retained possession. Midway through the second quarter, it appeared that the Packers might gain some momentum, as Rodgers scrambled and found Davante Adams in the end zone to make the score even at 10–10. The Patriots quickly answered with their running game, as Cordarrelle Patterson ran in for a five-yard touchdown.
Once again, Rodgers responded as soon as the second half began by driving the field and throwing a 15-yard touchdown pass to Jimmy Graham. That was the last we heard from Rodgers, as Brady and the Patriots took over the game from there. The Patriots drove the field and got down to the one-yard line, but failed to score after four plays. Neither team was able to get in a groove in the third quarter, until it appeared the Packers might have found their rhythm. With the score still tied at 17, the Packers finally found themselves across midfield and into Patriots territory. Lawrence Guy then forced a fumble, and it was recovered by Stephon Gilmore, which was perhaps the turning point of the entire game.
To kick off the fourth quarter, the Patriots’ genius coaching staff showed off their skills with what they do best. Brady threw a backwards pass to Julian Edelman, who then threw the ball across the field to a wide open James White for a gain of 37 yards. White was then able to run the ball in for a key touchdown.
As soon as the Patriots got the ball back, Brady threw a 55-yard touchdown pass to Josh Gordon to really seal the deal. It was a pass right across the field with pinpoint accuracy and the Packers’ defense had just about no chance at stopping Gordon. He finished the game with five receptions for 130 yards and a touchdown, easily his best game as a Patriot.
The Patriots won with a final score of 31–17 and improved to 7–2 on the season. Tom Brady finished with 294 yards and a touchdown pass, compared to Aaron Rodgers’ 259 yards and two touchdown passes. Rodgers had the edge in touchdowns, but that was mainly due to the fact that Brady was aware that the running game had more opportunity for success on this given night. Either way, it was clear who the real G.O.A.T. is, and hopefully Brady can continue his tremendous play throughout the season.