NFL Analysis: Preseason Week 2 Patriots vs Packers
In a dramatic encounter at Lambeau Field on Saturday night, the New England Patriots emerged victorious over the Green Bay Packers, recording a 21-17 win. However, it wasn’t the final score that most will remember from this game.
The highly anticipated preseason match was unexpectedly cut short with 10:29 left in the fourth quarter. The concerning scene that caused the abrupt end was the harrowing injury to the Patriots cornerback, Isaiah Bolden, who had to be taken off the field on a stretcher after a distressing head injury.
Meanwhile, the Patriots’ marathon 88-yard drive, which consumed almost nine minutes of the third quarter, proved pivotal as they surged ahead. The Packers, ever relentless, were maneuvering into a potentially scoring position when Bolden’s unfortunate injury halted the momentum.
But the game was not just about its quarterbacks. Rookie K Anders Carlson of the Packers showcased his prowess, converting all three of his kicks, including a pivotal 52-yarder. For the Patriots, undrafted rookie sensation Emanuel Wilson continued to make his mark, recording a total of 78 yards from scrimmage.
Defensively, both teams had their moments. Packers’ linebacker Kingsley Enagbare had a memorable night with two sacks, also recovering a fumble he forced. While for the Patriots, second-string quarterback Bailey Zappe made a significant impact, registering one touchdown pass and a memorable 6-yard scrambling touchdown.
A Moment of Unity and Concern
The sight of Isaiah Bolden being carted off the field cast a pall over Lambeau. It was a moment that transcended team loyalty, with players and fans from both sides showing genuine concern for the young player. Bolden, a standout from Jackson State and the only player from an HBCU drafted this year, was later confirmed to have feeling in all his extremities. The Patriots, in an official statement, mentioned he’d remain in Green Bay for further observation.
Malik Heath, the Packers rookie receiver involved in the play, expressed his shock, especially since he and Bolden have a shared history from their college days in Jackson. Matthew Slater, a revered figure in the Patriots’ camp, could be seen leading a prayer on the field, emphasizing the gravity of the situation.
For many Patriots players, this incident was eerily reminiscent of the traumatic event last season involving Buffalo Bills cornerback Damar Hamlin.
Stars of the Night
On a brighter note, there were several noteworthy performances in the shortened game. Romeo Doubs of the Packers had a fantastic outing, securing both his targets for a combined 52 yards. Kingsley Enagbare’s pass-rushing skills were on full display, with his two sacks proving crucial for the Packers. The defense will be key to good NFL Odds for Green Bay.
On the Patriots’ side, Kayshon Boutte was efficient in his gameplay, securing both his targets for 49 yards, demonstrating his after-catch prowess.
Despite the tension in the lead-up to the game, with previous joint practices marked by skirmishes and player ejections, it was Bolden’s injury that truly brought things into perspective. As both head coaches echoed, some things are bigger than football.
Saturday’s game, with its highs and lows, serves as a testament to the unpredictability and, at times, the inherent risks of the sport. Both teams will undoubtedly be looking ahead, hoping for a healthy and successful 2023 season.