The Green Bay Packers beat the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI to win their first championship since the Lombardi Era. The following season, the Packers and Patriots met again in a rematch of the previous season’s big game. Brett Favre proved too much for the Patriots, throwing for three touchdowns in a 28-10 Packers win. Dorsey Levens gained 100 yards rushing and scored twice while the Green Bay defense made a critical goal line stand.

The Packers Patriots Super Bowl Rematch Was Big

The Packers entered the game with a 5-2 record and were coming off their bye week. New England was also 5-2 as the two teams battled for playoff positioning in their respective conferences.

Neither team was as dominant as they were the previous season. The Packers were dealing with injuries and were not winning as decisively as they had a year ago. Meanwhile, the Patriots had lost two of their last three games.

The game would be played on Monday Night Football in Foxboro before a national television audience.

A Back and Forth First Half in the Packers Patriots Super Bowl Rematch

The Patriots put together a strong drive on their first possession of the game spearheaded by a 22-yard pass from Drew Bledsoe to Curtis Martin. New England reached the Green Bay 21 before Packers safety Eugene Robinson forced Martin to fumble and Reggie White fell on the loose ball.

The Packers went on a 12-play, 81-yard drive to draw first blood. Levens was a key player on the drive, running four times for 16 yards and catching three passes for 24 more yards. Favre found Levens for a six-yard touchdown pass to culminate the drive and make it 7-0 Packers.

A fumble by Favre set up the Patriots first scoring drive which came in the second quarter. A 50-yard pass to future Packers receiver Terry Glenn set up an 11-yard scoring pass from Bledsoe to tight end Ben Coates and the game was tied 7-7.

Late in the half, New England took a 10-7 lead on a 38-yard field goal by Adam Vinatieri.

Favre then led the Packers on a drive in the final two minutes of the second quarter. Short passes to tight end Mark Chmura, wide receiver Robert Brooks and Levens kept the chains moving. Favre found Chmura over the middle for a 32-yard touchdown pass with 22 seconds left. The Packers held a 14-10 lead at the half.

The Turning Point of the Game

The Packers held a four-point lead at the break, but New England received the second half kickoff determined to strike back. Bledsoe led New England downfield with a 49-yard pass to Glenn being the key play. The Patriots had a first-and-goal at the Packers one with a chance to take the lead. They never got the yard.

Santana Dotson and LeRoy Butler stuffed Martin on a first down run. Bledsoe then threw three straight incomplete passes with Tyrone Williams covering Keith Byers on fourth down. The Packers defense held.

“I was surprised they threw the ball three times,” linebacker Seth Joyner said after the game. “I guess they felt like since we had stuffed the run pretty much, they had no choice.”

“It was just guys knowing we have to play good,” Butler added. “We’re getting a lot of money to make plays. If you’re a big-time player, make your plays. I think this team really steps up to challenges. This was a must-win for us, and we played just phenomenal in all areas. They made some plays on us, they’re a good team. But we really knocked them out when we had to.”

The Packers Pull Away in the Super Bowl Rematch with the Patriots

Favre answered with a 17-play, 99-yard drive to increase the Packers lead to 21-10. They held the ball for almost 10 minutes and converted four times on third down including two plays where they faced 3rd-and-10 or more.

The last two plays of the drive were a 16-yard run by Favre to convert on 3rd-and-12 and then a 20-yard touchdown toss from Favre to Brooks.

“The hardest thing in football is to stop them on the 1 and then go 99. We did it, and we hope this will jump-start the second half of our season,” head coach Mike Holmgren said.

The Packers final drive in the fourth quarter was all Levens who ran nine times on a 15-play drive. He ended the drive with a three-yard touchdown drive off the right side to make it 28-10 Packers with 2:46 left in the game.

Robinson intercepted Bledsoe on the second play of the next drive to clinch the win for the Packers.

“This is a monumental win for us,” GM Ron Wolf said. “It takes a monkey off our backs. This proves we can win on the road and do it against a good team. This takes care of all of that. A huge, huge win for us.”

The Packers finished the season 13-3 and returned to the Super Bowl for the second straight year.



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