FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Green Bay Packers cornerback Charles Woodson has played in 182 regular-season games and 10 playoff games in a career that may eventually lead to Canton, Ohio, and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

But he still has nightmares about one particular game.

That would be the AFC playoff on Jan. 19, 2002, played in a storm that dumped 5 inches of snow on old Foxboro Stadium, a game won by the New England Patriots, 16-13 in overtime.

Woodson was playing for Oakland Raiders at the time and was involved in one of the most controversial calls in NFL playoff history.

In the game’s final minutes of regulation, with Oakland leading 13-10 and the Patriots driving, Woodson blitzed and hit quarterback Tom Brady, forcing what everyone thought was a fumble that ended New England’s wonderfully surprising season.

Instead, referee Walt Coleman ruled that Brady’s arm was in a forward motion — the infamous “Tuck Rule” call — and the Patriots maintained possession. Adam Vinatieri kicked a 45-yard field goal through the wind and snow with 27 seconds left to send the game into overtime. He later kicked a 23-yarder to win it.

The Patriots went on to win Super Bowl XXXVI, beating St. Louis 20-17 to start the football revival in New England.

“You know, I’ve had that flashback more times than I would like,” said Woodson in a conference call last week. “I catch that game on the classic football channel sometimes. That’s a bad memory for me.”

Asked if it was a fumble, Woodson danced around the question. “You know, let me ask you that question. Was it a fumble?”

Woodson had a chance to make a big play early in Sunday night’s game between the Patriots and Packers, but once again found no satisfaction.

On a second-and-17 pass by Brady from midfield, Woodson dropped what would have been an interception — and possible return for a touchdown.

On the next play, Brady threw a 17-yard pass to Deion Branch for a first down.

On the play after that, BenJarvus Green-Ellis broke off a 33-yard touchdown run — aided by a crushing pancake block at the 15 by Branch — to give the Patriots a 7-3 lead.

DELAY OF PENALTY? The game officials got together in the second quarter to correctly call an unnecessary roughness penalty on Patriots cornerback Devin McCourty.

McCourty had levelled Green Bay tight end Andrew Quarless with a vicious hit, forcing the Packer to drop the ball.

The play was originally ruled simply an incompletion.

But replays showed a helmet-to-helmet hit and McCourty was penalized about 30 seconds later.

PLAY OF THE YEAR? The Patriots have had plenty of big plays over the season, but perhaps the most memorable one came Sunday night — by offensive guard Dan Connolly, of all people.

The Packers had just scored to take a 17-7 lead and the Patriots needed a charge.

On the ensuing kickoff, a short one, Connolly caught the ball and rumbled for 71 yards, wrapping both arms around the ball as he cut to the left and out-ran a couple of Packer special teams players.

He stiff-armed one, cut in on kicker Mason Crosby, and was caught from behind at the Packers 4.

The crowd erupted. Connolly’s teammates were slapping him around, and then he had to go back into the huddle.

New England scored, on a touchdown pass from Brady to Aaron Hernandez, to get back within 17-14.

THAT TOUCHDOWN pass was Brady’s 30th this season and 255th of his career, moving him past Sonny Jurgenson into 11th place on the NFL all-time list.

For Hernandez, it was his fifth touchdown catch of the season. He and Rob Gronkowski (seven touchdown receptions) are the first rookie tight end teammates in NFL history with at least five touchdown catches each.

THE PATRIOTS have a couple of impressive home 17-game winning streaks going, both dating back to the 2002 season.

The Patriots have an NFL-best December home record of 18-1, the lone loss back on Dec. 22, 2002. That was a 30-17 loss to the New York Jets that essentially ended their first Super Bowl title defense.

Since then, they have won 17 December games in a row at Gillette Stadium.

The Patriots have also won 17 consecutive home games against NFC opponents, dating back to a 28-10 loss to the Packers on Oct. 13, 2002.

By the way, the Patriots have the NFL’s best overall December record (32-5), as well as the best home overall record (66-13) since Gillette Stadium opened in 2002.

NO SURPRISES on the Patriots’ inactive list, which was very good news because that meant that rookie cornerback Devin McCourty was playing despite the rib injury he suffered last week in Chicago.

The list included rookie receiver Taylor Price, running backs Fred Taylor and Thomas Clayton, offensive linemen Rich Ohrnberger and Mark LeVoir, and defensive linemen Myron Brace (back), Ron Brace (concussion) and Mike Wright (concussion).

The Patriots did add running back Tony Carter to the roster, replacing linebacker Chevis Jackson, who was cut Saturday.

The Packers’ inactive list included one big name — quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who is out after suffering his second concussion of the season last week.

THE CROWD GOT a little feisty before the game, when the Patriots turned off the Jets-Steelers finish on the jumbo video screen with nine seconds left. After a long chorus of boos, the game’s final play was shown.

The Jets victory means that the Patriots have to wait at least one more week before they can clinch the AFC East title.

Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at:

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