By Tom E. Curran
FOXBORO - Just a little bit of luck heading the wrong way can change a game. And when Brandon Meriweather's bad angle on a ball thrown to James Jones and wiped out cornerback Devin McCourty, one of the many breaks going New England's way over the past two months fell to an opponent. Here's five keys from the first half of a game led -- shockingly -- 17-14 by Green Bay. 1. FLYNN EFFECTIVENESSThe assumed ineffectiveness of Matt Flynn hasn't yet come to pass. He went 11 of 17 for 143 yards.A huge chunk came on that 66-yard touchdown pass to James Jones, but he also engineered a drive in the second quarter that consumed 6:26 and included four third-down conversions before ending with a one-yard touchdown pass to Greg Jennings. 2. PENALTIES EMERGEThe Patriots have five penalties for 37 yards in the first half. Entering the game, New England was the fourth-least penalized team in the NFL (55). Included in there, a pass interference that made it first-and-goal at the one, an offensive hold that led to a three-and-outand an offsides that turned a third-and-nine into a third-and-four.3. CONNOLLY ... UNSTOPPABLEThe explosiveness of Patriots offensive lineman Dan Connolly was on full display late in the half when he took a squibbed kickoff and returned it 71 yards past a seemingly confused Packers kick coverage team all the way down to the Green Bay 4. Tom Brady hit Aaron Hernandez for a touchdown. 4. DEFENSIVE STRIKESKyle Arrington, who explained to me last week the work he does during the week on his legs to keep them strong and live, showed that power during a 36-yard interception return for a score. It was the eighth return touchdown of the year for New England. 5. PATRIOTS KILLED IT ON GROUNDNew England hadeight carries for74 yards in the first half, a tremendous, eight yards per carry average. But they went away from it a bit in the second quarter.
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