GREEN BAY, Wis. - Aaron Rodgers made trademark pinpoint passes. Eddie Lacy powered out tough yards on the ground. The defence held firm in a frantic fourth quarter.This could be one super combination for the Green Bay Packers.Rodgers threw for 368 yards and two touchdowns, and Green Bay fended off the New England Patriots 26-21 Sunday in a high-profile matchup between Super Bowl contenders.We have some big goals, and were getting into December football now with a chance with everything right in front of us, Rodgers said.He bested Tom Brady in the first meeting between the star quarterbacks as starters. They were the main attractions in a down-to-the-wire thriller.Rodgers connected with Richard Rodgers and Jordy Nelson for long touchdowns in the first half.Leading by five, the defence made a late stand for the Packers (9-3). With Green Bay back in zone coverage, Mike Daniels and Mike Neal combined to sack Brady on third down for a 9-yard loss, and kicker Stephen Gostkowkski pushed a 47-yard field-goal attempt wide right with 2:40 left.The Packers sealed it after Rodgers converted to Cobb on third-and-4 with the Patriots out of timeouts.The point total was enough to win the game, coach Mike McCarthy said. I thought (the) defence did a lot of good things, and really I think the end of the game is what youre looking for as a coach.Not quite the ending Brady had in mind.I hate to take a sack in that situation. I really would have liked to score there, he said.I just wish we would have won this one. We put a lot into this one, and this was a great test for us. I think the guys knew how important this was for our season.Brady finished 22 of 35 for 245 yards and two touchdown passes to Brandon LaFell for New England (9-3), which had its seven-game winning streak snapped. The second score came from 15 yards early in the fourth quarter to get within 23-21.The lead could have been wider for the Packers if not for some hiccups in the red zone.Green Bay settled for four field goals from Mason Crosby of 35 yards or less, including a 28-yarder to make it a five-point lead with 8:41 left. That kick came after rookie Davante Adams dropped a potential touchdown pass on third-and-5 from the New England 10.On his knees, a frustrated Rodgers buried his helmet into the turf in frustration.But he was celebrating at the end. Green Bay has won four in a row and eight of nine.I just go back to our philosophy of winning. First, you have to find ways to win. Learn how to win, No. 1, but then youve got to find ways to win and you have to do it as many different ways as possible, McCarthy said.Rodgers finished 24 of 38, while Lacy had 98 yards on 21 carries, including 26 on the ground in the fourth-quarter drive that led to Crosbys field goal. Adams had a career-best 121 yards on six receptions.I said all week they had good skill players. They have good everything, Patriots coach Bill Belichick said.Rodgers extended his NFL-record streaks to 360 consecutive passes at home and 31 touchdown passes in a row at home without an interception. His last interception at home came nearly two years ago on Dec. 2, 2012.The Packers had been blowing past opponents at home with big early leads, turning the final 30 minutes of games at Lambeau Field into glorified practices. But this game had the feel of a championship fight down to the final minutes.New England punched back after falling behind 13-0 in the first quarter.Brandon Bolden twisted his way up the middle for a 6-yard scoring run early in the second quarter to get New England on the board. LaFells 2-yard catch with 1:09 left in the quarter drew New England within 16-14.But the quick-strike Packers were at their best late in the first half. Rodgers found Nelson in stride over the middle, and the receiver beat standout cornerback Darrelle Revis for a 45-yard touchdown, outracing safety Devin McCourty and tagging the front pylon before falling out of bounds.Six-foot-6 tight end Rob Gronkowski had 98 yards on seven catches, proving to be a matchup nightmare once again for a defence.Green Bay made the biggest stop in the end after sacking Brady.So when youve got a guy like that, you have to just keep on chopping wood and you never know when youll get to him, Daniels said. And as you saw, the last defensive play of the game is when we got to him.NOTES: Packers CB Sam Shields left after suffering a concussion in the second quarter. Backup LB Jamari Lattimore left with an ankle injury in the second while on the kick return unit. ... 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Duhamel, from Lively, Ont., and Radford, from Balmertown, Ont., were second with 77.01 points, just behind Olympic bronze medallists Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy of Germany. The four-time world champs lead at 79.TORONTO – Brett Lawrie is off to a slow start at the plate, just 3-for-29 (.103) entering Wednesday nights tilt with the Astros. Approached to discuss his early season slump, Lawrie obliged but it wasnt long before he got a little help from a friend. "Hell be fine," Jose Reyes shouted as he walked by the discussion. The 24-year-old had a solid Grapefruit League, hitting .339/.373/.484 with two home runs. But thats spring training, the quality of pitching varies (Baseball Reference ranked Lawries mound opponents an 8.6/10) and the types of pitches that get thrown in certain counts are different; often times a pitcher goes into an appearance looking to work on specific parts of his repertoire. Eight games in, Lawrie insists hes not pressing. "Its a long season, man," said Lawrie. "I mean, weve still got 140-plus games so for me to push the panic button right now is no point because its a long year so stay healthy, just keep going and grinding and getting after it. The main thing is that were winning so obviously find positivity there and obviously look to do the job again today and find some way to contribute to the team." The thing is, Lawrie likely is pressing. The fact he doesnt want to talk about it, or admit to it, is fine. "Hes a little mental right now," said hitting coach Kevin Seitzer. "Hes sitting on pitches and hes guessing wrong is whats happening. When that happens you start to lose your approach; you want to get in just to try to hit the ball hard and that ends up being a recipe for disaster. Hes just pressing right now." Lawrie and Seitzer convened for an early Wednesday afternoon hitting session in the batting cage. The aim wasnt to go over significant mechanical tweaks but rather pitch recognition, which is sometimes compromised when a hitter struggles and begins to think too much in the batters box. It appears to the layman observer that the hitch Lawrie had last year has returned to his swing, which occurs just as hes cocking his bat to bring it through the strike zone. "He had some of that in spring training too," said Seitzer. "The late is from tension of reacting to fastballs instead of being ready to hit them and then when you do get one, when youre looking for one and you get it, then you try and do too much and that causes more tension." Manager John Gibbons goes out of his way to praise Lawries maturity, noting his third basemans ability to maintain his composure throughout the early season slump. "Hes come a long way," said Gibbons. Lawrie knows he can contribute in other areas. "Youve got both sides of the coin youve got to worry about," said Lawrie.dddddddddddd. "Ultimately, if I cant get it done on offence one day than hopefully I can help the team out on defence. Thats kind of how it goes, just try to find a way to contribute." CECIL TAKING CARE Brett Cecil was available for the Blue Jays on Wednesday night against the Astros. He had a 16-pitch, one inning appearance versus Houston on Tuesday and Cecils been careful since spring training not to overextend his arm. "Really what it comes down to is how I feel the day after and how much I can go, whether its just a hitter or a full inning," said Cecil. Cecil made a career-high 60 appearances in 2013, his first full season as a reliever. He was shut down in mid-September, however, suffering from elbow pain. "When I throw one day usually there are no problems, no stiffness," said Cecil. "When I throw two days in a row, the next day it will be a little bit sore. Unless its towards the end of the season, a playoff race or something, that would probably be the only time Id go three days in a row." WAGNER RECALLED Reliever Neil Wagner is back with the Blue Jays, recalled prior to Wednesdays game against the Astros. Right-hander Marcus Walden, who didnt get into a game since joining the Jays on Saturday, was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo. The Blue Jays made no secret that Wagners springtime demotion was strictly a business move – Wagner had an option left and others didnt. "Wagner came into his own last year," said manager John Gibbons. "Hes a guy that can get some big outs late in the game for you." With Casey Janssen still on the disabled list with an abdominal strain and Sergio Santos in the closers role in Janssens stead, the Jays need another late-inning right-hander to work alongside Steve Delabar. Wagner fits the mold. With his mid-to-high 90s fastball, the 30-year-old stuck out 33 hitters in 38 innings over 36 appearances for the Blue Jays last season. BASEBALL PODCAST Each week, Ill sit down with Toronto Star baseball columnist Richard Griffin and MLB.coms Blue Jays beat reporter Gregor Chisholm for the Baseball Podcast. Well discuss the latest news surrounding the ballclub. The aim will be record the podcast each Wednesday but will depend on our respective schedules. Well keep you posted on Twitter. Click here for the first edition, recorded the afternoon of Wednesday, April 9. We talk about the early season performance of the starting rotation, hitters running hot and cold through the first week of the season and last weeks salary deferral revelations. Cheap Diamondbacks Jerseys Cheap Braves Jerseys Cheap Orioles Jerseys Cheap Red Sox Jerseys Cheap Cubs Jerseys Cheap White Sox Jerseys Cheap Reds Jerseys Cheap Indians Jerseys Cheap Rockies Jerseys Cheap Tigers Jerseys Cheap Astros Jerseys Cheap Royals Jerseys Cheap Angels Jerseys Cheap Dodgers Jerseys Cheap Marlins Jerseys ' ' '