Patriots third-quarter review: Rotating fifth DBs shuffled matchup game

Picked-up pieces from a third-quarter review of the New England Patriots' 26-21 loss to the Green Bay Packers:

1. Cornerback Kyle Arrington got up slowly after attempting to block a 40-yard field goal (9:34, wide left) and didn’t play on defense after that point. That once again changed the matchups in the game -- marking the third change at the nickelback spot -- as Arrington had been on Randall Cobb after entering on the fourth series of the game for Logan Ryan. But with Alfonzo Dennard replacing Arrington at that point, it led to the following change: Dennard took Davante Adams, Darrelle Revis moved back to Cobb and Brandon Browner checked Jordy Nelson.

2. Dennard ended up playing 10 snaps, then was replaced by Ryan for parts of the final two drives of the game. That once again changed the matchups, serving as a reminder of how things often evolve over the course of the game.

3. A thought for if these two teams meet again: Knowing the difficulties that Ryan (on Adams), Arrington (on Cobb) and Dennard (on Adams) had at various points, maybe the Patriots consider moving safety Devin McCourty down to cornerback to check the third option in a rematch and use Duron Harmon as the center-field type safety playing over the top.

4. This wasn’t a big blitz game for the Patriots, with their pressure mostly designed to be manufactured by scheme more than added rushers. One example of this came on second-and-15 when linebacker Jamie Collins was credited with a sack and forced fumble (3:52) on a four-man rush in which defensive end Akeem Ayers dropped into coverage and Collins replaced him with a strong interior push that forced quarterback Aaron Rodgers to tuck the ball and scramble. Collins was rewarded for his efforts by hustling back for the sack to chase down Rodgers.

5. Bill Belichick touched on some of the reasons the Patriots didn’t run the ball as much as they would have liked, noting a penalty to start the third quarter (left guard Dan Connolly holding defensive tackle Mike Daniels) on a passing play. That set up first-and-20 and created an obvious passing situation. One could nitpick there and say that could have been a good time to get the running game to open the quarter, but it's always easier to say that after the fact based on the result of the play. Regardless, Daniels, a 2012 fourth-round pick out of Iowa, gave the Patriots some trouble up front.

6. Blocking breakdowns across the interior of the offensive line -- Connolly on the first play, center Bryan Stork on the second play and right guard Ryan Wendell on third down -- were the primary reason for the opening drive of the second half stalling. When the protection breaks down up front, it’s hard to do much of anything, and the O-line also sprung some leaks on the other two drives of the quarter, which seemed to have quarterback Tom Brady a bit skittish at that point in the game.

7. Thought the Patriots caught a little bit of a break on the illegal contact penalty drawn by receiver Julian Edelman (1:34), as he ran right into cornerback Tramon Williams. But given that the Packers' Adams got away with a clear push-off on the previous drive (5:12), this probably could best be described as those calls evening out.