Banta-Cain's up-and-down final drive ends with sack

Banta-Cain's up-and-down final drive ends with sack
December 20, 2010, 6:25 am
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By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com

FOXBORO -- Bill Belichick didn't praise his team or himself after Sunday night's 31-27 win over the Green Bay Packers. According to him, his Patriots "need to play better" or their season "won't last much longer."

That may be true. But at the end of the day, New England is now 12-2 after Sunday night's win, a win that was sealed thanks to Tully Banta-Cain's game-winning sack in the final seconds of the fourth quarter.

The Patriots' linebacker made up for a penalty earlier in the drive that gave the ball back to Green Bay after Brandon Meriweather intercepted a Matt Flynn pass down the right sideline. The flag was thrown because Banta-Cain used his hands illegally, as he was rushing the quarterback from the outside.

The Packers got the ball back, and had a first down at the Patriots' 47-yard line. They drove down the 15-yard line, but, on 4th-and-1 from the 15, Banta-Cain secured the New England victory with a game-ending sack on Flynn.

"It felt great, because they were really pressing, and wesaw the clock ticking, so we knew it was down to one last play," said Banta-Cain. "Flynn startedscrambling to the right, came back to the left, and I was able to spin out. Itwas a great feeling to get that sack."

Especially after the penalty, which kept the drive alive.

"A flag was the last thing I expected to see, when I cameback, because I wanted to go congratulate Brandon Meriweather on the pick," Banta-Cain said. "The last thing I was thinking I was going to see was a yellow flag, so when Iran back and saw that, and they said, 'Hands to the face,' I mean, I wasbaffled."

He shouldn't have been; replays showed Banta-Cain clearly got his hands under the mask of a Packers offensive lineman as he rushed Flynn. Still, with the game on the line, he made up for the mistake.

"This is what we're paid to do," said Banta-Cain. "You've got to dig deep in these type of games. When it comes down to it, somebody has to make a play, and I just happened to be that guy today.

"Every week is a battle, and you can't expect to go out and blow out every team. But this is definitely a game where we're getting closer to playoff atmosphere, and it feels like every game is a one-game season. So this is definitely a big win for us, and hopefully we can play better as the games go on."

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard. You can listen to Danny on his streaming radio show I'm Just Sayin' Monday-Friday from 9-10 a.m. on CSNNE.com.