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Esiason: Patriots Have To Figure Out Pass Rush

BOSTON (CBS) - The Patriots played well and competed hard, but in the end just couldn't stop Aaron Rodgers and company on Sunday, losing 26-21 and dropping their first game since late September.

"Hopefully if everybody stays healthy we'll see these two teams again in Super Bowl XLIX in Arizona," said CBS Sports football analyst Boomer Esiason Monday morning, a weekly guest of 98.5 The Sports Hub's Toucher & Rich show.

"I thought it was a great game. I'm not gonna overreact to a loss if I'm the Patriots or their fan base. If the game were switched and in New England it probably would have gone the other way."

Rodgers furthered the case even more on Sunday in his MVP campaign by tossing 368 yards and two touchdowns on 24 of 38 passing. He sat back in the pocket unscathed for most of the afternoon, at times double and even discount-triple-checking the defense.

"The thing that would concern me coming out of the game for New England is number one the pass rush. The Patriots have to figure out a pass rush in order to make Aaron Rodgers a little more nervous. I thought he just had way too much time," said Esiason.

Rodgers was sacked three times, but in key situations had virtually all day to throw because New England kept dropping eight men into coverage, leaving only three rushers to generate pressure.

"What Bill Belichick and [defensive coordinator] Matt Patricia were doing is basically playing rope-a-dope against a great quarterback. We've seen them do this for years and years and years against Peyton Manning," said Boomer. "Even though they gave up a ton of yards, forcing Green Bay to settle for field goals instead of touchdowns is what they try and do against Manning."

And in the end it almost worked. The Patriots scored more touchdowns (3) than the Packers did (2), but the defense couldn't stop Rodgers in the final minutes to give Tom Brady another chance to take the lead.

Conversely, Green Bay put Brady under duress more so than the Patriots did Rodgers.

Clay Matthews was "a pain in the neck" in certain situations according to Esiason, and while Brady wasn't the sharpest we've seen him play, it was still a solid enough performance to get a win on the road.

"I thought it was a game in which the Patriots easily could have won late in the fourth quarter, but it just didn't happen this time."

Listen below to the full interview!


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