The Green Bay Packers are 3-1 and have won three straight games after escaping an upset bid from the New England Patriots on Sunday at Lambeau Field. Twice, the Packers fell behind in the second half, but a touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers to Romeo Doubs tied the game at 24, and Mason Crosby's 31-yard field goal as overtime expired handed the Packers a 27-24 win.
It wasn't a pretty win, but any win - especially against a desperate team coached by Bill Belichick - is worth celebrating.
Here's our analysis of the Packers' win, highlighting what went right, what went wrong, and what it all means moving forward:
What went right
Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones (33) celebrates a first down against New England Patriots on Sunday, Oct. 2, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wiscosin.
Everything Rashan Gary did in the first half. He ended five drives with pressures or sacks. It was as good of a 30 minutes as you'll ever see from an edge rusher.
The offense's start to the second half. After limping into halftime down 10-7, the offense came alive to open the second half, scoring on three straight possessions. It would have been four straight had Romeo Doubs held onto Aaron Rodgers' deep ball with just over two minutes left. Strong response.
The run game. Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon combined for 183 rushing yards on 33 attempts, and both running backs had a carry of at least 13 yards. Christian Watson turned his jet sweep opportunity into a 15-yard touchdown. As always, Jones was the playmaker and spark for much of the game, while Dillon hammered down late in the game. Watson's speed as a motion man continually put the Pats in bad run fits.
After giving up a touchdown (on a play that should have blown dead) and falling behind 24-17, the Packers defense gave up exactly 15 more yards and forced three straight three-and-outs to end the game. The big stop was in overtime after New England took over at the 49-yard line.
The Packers top three receivers combined to catch 14 passes for 205 yards and a score, including five catches for 50 yards on the final drive. Allen Lazard went over 100 yards for the first time, Romeo Doubs caught a touchdown pass for the second straight week and Randall Cobb delivered two more third-down conversions.
Left tackle David Bakhtiari played 70 of 73 snaps and missed only one of 14 series.
Tight end Robert Tonyan finally made a big play, catching a 20-yard touchdown pass up the seam to give the Packers the lead in the third quarter. The passing game needs him to get going. Maybe the score will be the push he needed.
What went wrong
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The first half offense. The Packers did go 50 yards for a touchdown after getting good field position following a penalty on a punt return, but the rest was ugly. Two turnovers and three punts. Aaron Rodgers completed four passes.
Losing the turnover battle. Romeo Doubs fumbled away the first possession after a poor throw from Rodgers, and then the four-time MVP threw arguably the worst pick-six of his career to end the first half. The Packers already have seven giveaways, and they've tied or lost the turnover battle in all four games.
The defense failed against the run, again. The Patriots ran 33 times for 167 yards and a score. Too much of it was too easy. Double teams on the likes of Dean Lowry and Jarran Reed created huge running lanes, and the second-level linebackers weren't able to clean up the mistakes. Even when the Pats went into heavy looks, the Packers didn't have a physical response. Against a good offensive line and two strong running backs, the Packers failed the test up front.
Elgton Jenkins' pass protection. Patriots edge rusher Matthew Judon mostly had his way with the Packers right tackle. He ended a drive with a sack and ended another in overtime on a big pressure. The first three games with Jenkins back in the lineup at right tackle have been a bit of an adventure.
What it means
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It means the Packers avoided a humiliating defeat and are now 3-1, with three straight wins and some positive momentum heading into a difficult stretch of travel. Bill Belichick had his short-handed team ready to play, and the Packers were fortunate to overcome so many self-inflicted mistakes and still win. This is a team still trying to find its way, but winning football games when Aaron Rodgers doesn't play particularly well and the team loses the turnover battle is still valuable. The Packers of 2022 look a little like the Packers of 2019; figuring things out on the go, especially on offense, creating some ugly games but also opportunities to win in different ways. The Packers will need to be better as the really important games arrive late in the season. In the end, this was a shaky win over a team playing a third-string rookie quarterback, but a win is a win in the standings and style points don't matter right now.
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A trip to London to play the New York Giants, who are 3-1 after defeating the Chicago Bears on Sunday. One of these teams will be 4-1 flying home from the United Kingdom next week. Green Bay has won three straight games over New York since 2016.
Story originally appeared on Packers Wire