Packers: Defense shines, red-zone offense flops in 22-11 win


The Green Bay Packers opened the preseason Thursday night with a 22-11 victory over the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., with a mixed showing.

The defense—outside of a 55-yard touchdown run by Jonas Gray early in the second quarter—was stout, holding New England (0-1) to 211 total yards.

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The red-zone offense—a problem all last season—was not good, as the Pack (1-0) converted just one of four opportunities in the red area.

Green Bay outgained the Pats 406-211, but two long first-quarter drives by the first-unit offense yielded just a single field goal.

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The Packers took the opening kickoff and marked 78 yards before Aaron Rodgers’ pass in the left flat to Eddie Lacy fell incomplete on 4th-and-2.

After Green Bay was stopped again on a fourth down on its next possession, the Packers got the ball back after a three-and-out by the Patriots and drove 78 yards in 11 plays down to the New England 8.

Three passes to Davante Adams netted one yard and two incompletions and the Packers settled for a 25-yard field goal from Mason Crosby.

Gray’s touchdown came on the third play of the second quarter. Micah Hyde crashed in from his slot cornerback position instead of setting the edge and safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix missed a tackle and Gray was off to the races down the right side. Gray also ran around the left side for the two-point conversion and an 8-3 New England lead.

The Packers got their first touchdown on a 4th-and-1 from the New England 26 with 5:11 left in the first half. Jeff Janis just blew past the coverage down the right sideline and backup quarterback Scott Tolzien hit him for the score. A pass to Myles White for the two-pointer failed and the Packers trailed 11-9 at the half.

Ladarius Gunter sparked the Pack early in the second half, intercepting Patriots backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and returning the pick 28 yards to the New England 29. Two plays later, Alonzo Harris took a handoff out of the shotgun and burst 25 yards for the go-ahead score. Tolzien’s two-point attempt to Ty Montgomery failed, but Green Bay took a 15-11 lead and never looked back.

The final score of the game came with 7:42 remaining in the fourth, when fifth-round pick Brett Hundley capped an eight-play, 61-yard drive with a 10-yard touchdown pass to running back John Crockett.

Tolzien had a nice night as the No. 2 quarterback, completing 10-of-16 for 107 yards and a touchdown. Rodgers was 11-for-19 for 117 yards, Hundley went 4-for-6 for 60 yards and a score and Matt Blanchard was 2-for-2 for 11 yards in a brief appearance.

Packer quarterbacks combined to go 27-for-43 for 273 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions.

Harris led the ground game—which had 133 yards on 34 attempts—with 41 yards on seven carries. Lacy had five attempts for 36 yards and Crockett gained 26 yards on 10 totes.

Sixteen Packers had receptions, led by James Starks, who had 38 yards on three catches while gaining 12 yards on five carries.

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  • Jayrone Elliott had eight tackles, including four solos and half a sack. Datone Jones had two of Green Bay’s seven sacks, with Jake Ryan, Adrian Hubbard, Carl Bradford and Jermauria Rasco each netting one. Andy Mulumba had the other half of the shared sack with Elliott.

    Ryan had six tackles, two for loss.

    Montgomery handled all of the return chores, with 14 yards on two punt returns. The Packers did not return a kickoff.

    Tom Brady appeared briefly and was 1-for-4 for 10 yards. Garoppolo went the rest of the way, going 20-for-30 for 159 yards and an interception.

    The Packers will be on the road again next week, playing the Pittsburgh Steelers at 11 a.m. Central on Sunday, Aug. 23.

    Next: Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down Against Patriots

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