Decided underdogs without starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Mike McCarthy declared late last week, "We're noboby's underdogs" and the Green Bay Packers played that way but it still wasn't enough to cool off the now 12-2 New England Patriots as Green Bay fell 31-27 on a 32 degree night at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusets. Matt Flynn played well enough in his first NFL start, tying a franchise rookie record with three touchdown passes but an interception returned for a touchdown to start the second half and a disjointed last snap with the clock running led to a sack and a fumble that ended the contest. Mike McCarthy surprised the Patriots by deferring the opening kickoff, only to catch New England off guard with an onside kick recovered by Nick Collins. The Packers marched to the Patriot seven, only to give up a sack that led to a 31 yard Mason Crosby field goal for the early 3-0 lead. New England converted a third and 17 on its first posession with Deion Branch gaing 17 to the Packers 33 and on the next play, Ben Jarvus Green-Ellis broke loose for a 33 yard touchdown run to give the Pats the lead. On the first play of the second quarter, Flynn found James Jones up the right sideline for a 66 yard score and Green Bay padded the lead with a methodical 13 play, 82 yard drive capped by Flynn's one yard slant to Greg Jennings. Just when it appeared Green Bay would take a 10 point lead into the locker room, Dan Connolly made the play of the night. The 6-4, 313 pound offensive line gathered in Crosby's squib kick at the 25 and broke through the first wave of the cover team. He veered to the left sideline and carrying the ball like a loaf of bread rumbled all the way to the Packers' 4 yard line, the most improbable 71 yard kickoff return ever seen, believed to be a record by a lineman. Brady took advantage finding Anthony Hernandez on a 2 yard strike to pull New England within three. On the opening series of the third quarter, Kyle Arrington picked off Flynn at the 36 when James Jones slowed his route in traffic. Arrington broke 4 tackles on a runback up the right sideline to convert the pick into points giving the Patriots a 21-17 lead. Flynn responded smartly on another long drive, covering 13 plays and 69 yards converting 4 third down plays. A short swing to his left found John Kuhn who dove into the end zone for a 24-21 lead with 5:08 to play in the third quarter. BJ Raji recorded his second sack of the game to force a punt and the Packers knocked on the door again but were turned aside after having it first and goal at the two. Kuhn was stopped short twice and on third and goal from the one, Flynn was forced to throw it away. Crosby chipped in a 19 yard field goal to make it 27-21 Green Bay early in the fourth quarter. Brady quickly marched the Pats downfield but they settled for a 38 yard Shayne Graham field goal. When the Packers couldn't move, New England drove 63 yards in 6 plays for the lead, Hernandez caught his second touchdown from 10 yards out, slipping a Sam Shields tackle at the five. The Packers got it back twice, punting once but forcing New England to give it back with 4:22 to play. Flynn moved the offense from his 43 to the Patriot 24 with 1:05 to play. On first down he was sacked for a loss of 8 forcing Green Bay to call it's final timeout. A short catch by James Jones was followed by a 10 yard catch to Donald Driver but the clock was ticking. There appeared to be confusion about whether it was a first down leading to a spike or a desperate attempt at the end zone. The final snap came with 5 seconds left and Flynn was hit by Tully Banta-Cain and fumbled with New England recovering to seal the deal. Statistically speaking, the Packers more than held their own, 369 yards to 249, 26 to 14 in first downs, a whopping 40:48 to 19:12 advantage in time of posession, 11 of 19 third down conversions. Brandon Jackson rushed for 99 yards on 22 carries, Green Bay committed only 2 penalties. Flynn finished 24 of 37 for 251 yards and a passer rating of 110.2. Alas, it was the plays they didn't make that cost them the most, Charles Woodson dropped an early interception, receivers dropped passes and the Patriots made it 6 straight games without a turnover, extending their league record. Brady has now won 27 consecutive starts at home, 19 straight games against NFC teams in Foxborough. Now 8-6, the Packers playoff hopes are still flickering because both Tampa Bay and the New York Giants lost on Sunday. If Chicago beats Minnesota Monday night, the North Division race will be over but the wild card could still be in the cards if Green Bay wins the final two at home. In the end, count up 6 losses by a total of 20 points. The close shaves could keep the Packers home after the holidays.