FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - Dan 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 touchdown passes as the New England Patriots edged the Green Bay Packers, 31-27, for their sixth straight win last night.
The Patriots, who had outscored their previous two opponents 81-10, had their hands full even with Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers missing the game with a concussion. Matt Flynn threw his first three pro touchdown passes in his place. Flynn finished 24-for-37 for 251 yards.
The game went down to the final play when Flynn, with the ball at the Patriots' 15-yard line, fumbled after being hit from behind and Vince Wilfork recovered for New England (12-2). Green Bay (8-6) trails Chicago by one game in the NFC North.
The 313-pound Connolly's return set up Brady's 2-yard scoring pass to Aaron Hernandez, cutting Green Bay's lead at halftime to 17-14. Brady (15-for-24 for 163 yards) hit Hernandez again for a 10-yard TD with 7:14 left in the game for the final score. - AP