Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Lineman's rumble, ex-Gator's 2 TDs key

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The Patriots' string of routs is over. Their victory streak remains alive with help from a stunning kickoff return by 313-pound guard Dan Connolly.

Connolly rumbled 71 yards with what is believed to be the longest kickoff return by an offensive lineman in NFL history and Tom Brady threw two touchdowns, both to former Florida tight end Aaron Hernandez, as New England edged Green Bay 31-27 Sunday night for its sixth straight win.

The Patriots, who outscored their previous two foes 81-10, had their hands full even with Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers out with a concussion. Matt Flynn threw his first three pro touchdown passes in his place.

The game went down to the final play when Flynn, with the ball at the Patriots 15-yard line, lost it when he was sacked by Tully Banta-Cain and Vince Wilfork recovered for New England. The Patriots need one win to clinch the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs.

The return by Connolly, who later left with a head injury, set up Brady's 2-yard score to Hernandez, cutting Green Bay's lead at halftime to 17-14.

According to STATS LLC, the run by Connolly topped the 48-yard touchdown return by Atlanta's Mal Snider in 1969. Official records have been kept since 1976.

Trailing 27-21, the Patriots scored on Shayne Graham's 38-yard field goal with 11:05 left and went ahead 31-27 on Brady's second touchdown to Hernandez, a 10-yarder with 7:14 to go.

Patriots7771031
Packers3147327

Lineman's rumble, ex-Gator's 2 TDs key 12/19/10 [Last modified: Monday, December 20, 2010 12:19am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Ronde Barber: Want intimidation? Look at past Bucs teams

    Bucs

    Ronde Barber says these days "it's hard to find throwbacks, where you go, 'That guy is a badass.' Where do you find that now? It's such a show-off sport." (Times 2012)
  2. Rays blow lead in ninth, lose in 10 to Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Rays manager Kevin Cash liked the way Alex Cobb was competing Friday night. He liked the way the hard contact made by the Rangers batters went away after the second or third inning. So as the game headed toward the ninth, there was no doubt in Cash's mind that sending Cobb back to the mound was …

    Rays starter Alex Cobb can hardly believe what just happened as he leaves the game in the ninth after allowing a leadoff double then a tying two-run homer to the Rangers’ Shin-Soo Choo.
  3. Rays journal: Steven Souza Jr. gets extra day off to let hip heal

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — RF Steven Souza Jr. ran in rightfield before batting practice under the watchful gaze of the Rays training staff and manager Kevin Cash. Afterward, Souza told Cash he could use one more day of rest before playing on the left hip he strained Wednesday in Oakland.

    Steven Souza Jr., hugging Mallex Smith after Smith’s solo home run in the eighth inning, feels relief after tests are negative on his injured hip.
  4. Rays vs. Rangers, 7:10 p.m. Saturday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Rangers

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: FS1; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)