Rapid Reaction: Giants 37, Packers 20
January, 15, 2012
By Ohm Youngmisuk | ESPNNewYork.com
Recap | Box score | Photos
GREEN BAY, Wis. –- The New York Giants didn't need a Brett Favre interception in overtime this time around, as they handled the Green Bay Packers for another playoff win at Lambeau Field and won their fourth consecutive game overall.
What it means: The Giants said they saw similarities between this team and their 2007 squad that won the Super Bowl. Now they are one win away from going back to the Super Bowl as they head to San Francisco for a rematch with the 49ers, a team they strongly believe they could have beaten when they played in November.
The Giants believe they are a Super Bowl team and they showed it by stifling Aaron Rodgers and the prolific Packers offense. The defense was outstanding and continues to get better with each win. And the Eli Manning-to-Hakeem Nicks connection came up big for a second straight playoff game.
Giant effort: The Giants' defense didn’t smother Rodgers, but Perry Fewell's unit did enough to make Rodgers look human.
The coverage was outstanding, holding Greg Jennings, Jermichael Finley and Jordy Nelson in check. And when they got open, the Packers' receivers dropped balls or Rodgers missed his targets. He missed an open Finley and Jennings during the game.
Osi Umenyiora may have saved one touchdown by stripping Rodgers and forcing a fumble, which Deon Grant recovered. On that play, Rodgers had a receiver open for a potential touchdown in the third quarter.
Linebacker Michael Boley also had two key sacks. Boley and Umenyiora had good games. When the Giants lost to the Packers in December, Umenyiora did not play due to an ankle injury and Boley said he played at 70 percent while returning from a hamstring injury. He played 50 snaps in that game.
The Giants forced two fumbles, one by John Kuhn and another by Ryan Grant. Grant was hit by Kenny Phillips and Chase Blackburn picked it up and ran it 40 yards to the Packers' 4-yard-line.
Manning converted that into a touchdown pass to Mario Manningham to give the Giants a commanding 30-13 lead with 6:48 remaining.
Hakeem the Dream: During the week, the Giants said they felt they could hit the Packers' last-ranked defense for big plays.
Nicks had two touchdowns in the first half, scoring the first on a 66-yard catch-and-run after Charlie Peprah missed a tackle that allowed Nicks to run free.
And the Giants ended the first half in dramatic fashion with a 37-yard Hail Mary pass to Nicks, who caught the ball with no time left in front of Peprah and Charles Woodson in the end zone.
Nicks had five receptions for 152 yards and two touchdowns in the first half alone.
Controversy: The Giants felt they had calls go against them in the first meeting with Green Bay back on Dec. 4, like Jake Ballard's catch in the end zone that was ruled out.
This time, it appeared Jennings was stripped by Deon Grant and Phillips recovered a fumble in the first quarter. But after review, officials ruled Jennings down. The Packers went on to tie the game at 10-10 on that drive with a touchdown to start the second quarter.
There was also a roughing-the-passer call on Umenyiora a late fourth-quarter drive that extended a drive that ended with a Donald Driver touchdown that cut the Giants' lead to 30-20 with 4:46 left.
What's next: The Giants head back to San Francisco to face the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game. The Giants lost 27-20 to the Niners on Nov. 13 but they all said they wanted another crack at San Francisco. Now they get it.