With Bailey Zappe at QB, Patriots’ upset bid comes up short in overtime loss to Packers

BOSTON — For most of Sunday afternoon in Green Bay, the Patriots looked primed and poised to pull off the most improbable upset victory of the Bill Belichick era and beyond. Yet it all ended up being for naught, as Aaron Rodgers and the Packers drove for the game-winning score in overtime, beating New England 27-24.

After forcing a three-and-out from Rodgers and the Packers’ offense to begin overtime, a 20-yard punt return by rookie Marcus Jones set the Patriots up just shy of midfield. But the Patriots turned in a three-and-out of their own, punting the ball back to Green Bay.

In a next-score-wins scenario, the Packers took over at their own 10-yard line before driving deep into Patriots territory. That drive included an 11-yard connection between Rodgers and Randall Cobb to convert a third-and-1. Veteran kicker Mason Crosby kicked a 31-yard field goal as time expired in overtime, giving the Packers the win by the narrowest of margins.

Rodgers was 21-for-35 for 251 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. Aaron Jones ran for 110 yards, while A.J. Dillon ran for 73 yards for Green Bay.

Brian Hoyer started the game at quarterback for the Patriots but left after two series after suffering a head injury on a sack by Rashan Gary. Rookie Bailey Zappe, the only other quarterback on the roster, stepped in at quarterback for the first action of his career.

Zappe finished the game going 10-for-15 for 99 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. Damien Harris ran for 86 yards and a touchdown, while Rhamondre Stevenson ran for 66 yards while also picking up 23 yards as a receiver.

The Patriots took a 10-7 lead before halftime, when Jack Jones picked off an Aaron Rodgers pass and returned it 40 yards for a Patriots touchdown. It was just the fourth pick-six of Rodgers’ career. 

The Packers regained the lead with a touchdown drive to open the second half, but the Patriots got it back late in the third quarter on Zappe’s first career touchdown pass. After the Packers tied the game at 17-17, the Patriots took a 24-17 lead on a Damien Harris touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

The Packers drove to tie the game at 24-24, with Rodgers hitting Romeo Doubs for a 13-yard touchdown pass with 6:26 left in the fourth quarter. Neither team scored from that point forward, sending the game to overtime.

Now 1-3 on the season, the Patriots return home next week to host the Detroit Lions, who are also 1-3.

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