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Patriots thump Pack, 35-0

Winning solves everything, they say, and on this day New England's 35-0 thumping of Green Bay certainly solved the Patriots two-game losing streak. It was New England's first road shutout in 20 years (34-0 over Pittsburgh, 10/19/86).


The Patriots defense made Brett Favre look like a quarterback in the twilight of his career and then put an early end to his day, knocking him from the contest after a second quarter sack. Ty Warren returned to action and had a solid game with a sack and a half and the unit as a whole played almost flawlessly despite missing Eugene Wilson, Asante Samuel and Rodney Harrison from its backfield.

Laurence Maroney had a very workmanlike day with 82 yards on 19 carries and another 34 yards on catches with a 19-yard touchdown. Better yet, it was a good stats day for Tom Brady, something he needed after his four interceptions last week. By the time he gave way to Matt Cassel in the fourth quarter he was 20 of 31 for 244 yards and 4 touchdowns without a pick. Leading all Patriots receivers was Ben Watson with 5 catches, 74 yards and a touchdown.

It turned out to be a seemingly easy win as the Patriots moved to 7-3 on the season.

After forcing Green Bay to a three and out on the first series of the game, New England went right down the field and hit paydirt on its first try.


Brady connected with Ben Watson streaking over the middle after play-actioning to Maroney. Watson's catch was good for 36 yards down to the Packers 11. After a 4-yard Dillon run, Troy Brown caught a little pass for 5 yards to set up a fourth and 1 situation from the 2-yard line. New England went for it and Brady found Daniel Graham dragging across the end zone for the score.

Green Bay attempted to get three points back when Brady and Corey Dillon, still in the first quarter, botched a handoff and the Packers recovered at the Patriots 30. The Patriots defense only allowed 3 yards in three plays and Dave Rayner of the Packers missed wide right on his field goal attempt allowing the Patriots to maintain their touchdown lead into the second quarter.

With 10:54 left in the first half, New England extended the lead on a 12-play drive ending in a 1-yard Dillon touchdown. Brady chipped his way downfield with short passes and Maroney runs until he went over the top to Graham on first and 10 from the Packers 23. Brady Poppinga of Green Bay was flagged for pass interference on the play and the Patriots had first and goal from the 1. Brady looked to Mike Vrabel, in at tight end, on the first play and Vrabel just missed coming up with the touchdown after he hauled down the pass with one foot in bounds but the other coming down just after his elbow touched out of bounds. Dillon took it in on the next play for the 14-0 score.

Meanwhile, the Packers offense was listless. Ahman Green was getting nowhere on the ground and even when he had receivers open, as he did a few times on third down, Favre was missing badly.

The one-sided affair grew even more so when Brady hit Reche Caldwell for 54 yards on first and 10 from the New England 46 just before the first half's two minute warning. Caldwell was wide open behind everyone and Brady was perfect with his throw to put his team up 21-0.

Before the half was completely over, a Tully Banta-Cain and Tedy Bruschi sack of Favre forced him to the sideline holding his right elbow. His numbers were indicative of the day for Green Bay: 5 of 15 for 73 yards. He was replaced by Aaron Rodgers.

Rodgers (4 of 12 passing, 32 yards) stayed at quarterback as the second half opened but did not provide the type of spark for his team that many of the back-up QBs around the league have this season. Adding insult to injury, the Patriots tacked on another seven as the third quarter neared an end.

Chad Jackson started things off with a 21-yard catch to the Packers 39. Maroney ran for 2 and then Watson caught his third ball of the day for 13. A Maroney run for 11 two plays later set up a first and goal at the Packers 8. Brady dropped back and looked left. He fired a bullet that an outstretched Watson snared, keeping both feet in bounds for the score along the left side of the end zone. It was a great pass and an even better catch. More importantly, it made the score 28-0.

Later, Kevin Faulk had a 36-yard punt return to the Packers 23 to set up the Patriots fifth touchdown on the day. Then, on third down from the 19, Brady hit Maroney on a little swing pass and Maroney made a nice move to elude Nick Barnett on his way to the end zone untouched.

After Cassel came in during the fourth quarter, it was newly-acquired Vinny Testaverde taking the final knees of the game.

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