- Matt Ehalt, ESPN New York contributor
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- This kind of production from the offense hadn't been seen in New York Giants' games for quite some time.
Explosive passing plays down the field. Receivers having their ways with corners. A crisp passing attack.
For at least one Sunday, the Giants' passing game resembled what it was supposed to on a consistent basis.
"I feel like we got in our rhythm a little bit. We're just trying to take advantage of what they were giving us," Giants receiver Hakeem Nicks said. "Three-step game a lot and then we hit it down the field as well. I think everything worked hand-in-hand today."
Despite having one of the most talented receiver units in the league, the Giants' passing game had been stale in recent weeks, rarely opening up the field. Cruz said there have been opportunities for big plays to be made, but the Giants just weren't connecting. Sunday, that changed.
Green Bay was without corners Sam Shields and Casey Hayward, and the Giants took advantage. The Giants' offensive line gave Manning a good pocket, and he and the receivers were able to stretch the field.
The trio of Cruz, Nicks and Rueben Randle combined for 15 catches for 197 yards and a touchdown, with each catching a pass for at least 26 yards. Cruz particularly was effective in finding the open hole in the Packers' secondary and made himself an easy target. He led the team with eight catches. Nicks had the Giants longest grab of the game when he caught a 35-yard pass down the sideline that set up a field goal.
Randle had the group's lone touchdown with a 26-yard score to give the Giants a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.
"They gave us the coverages we were looking for on specific downs and distances and we were able to take advantage of them," Cruz said. "That's what we need. This offense is definitely built back on the big play, as well as the balance with the running game. We definitely need a couple big plays to get ourselves going again."
The passing game had one huge blunder Sunday. Manning was intercepted by Tramon Williams while throwing to receiver Louis Murphy with the Giants in the red zone in the second quarter. Murphy cut inside while Manning threw to the outside.
Murphy was in on that play because Nicks was on the sideline. Earlier in that drive, Nicks had been bumped by Williams and seemed to feel the effects of the hit. Nicks did not give a definitive reason for why he wasn't on the field for that throw, as he said he let Murphy take the rep.
Shortly after the interception, Nicks appeared frustrated on the sideline, and was talked to by his teammates, including running back Brandon Jacobs. Nicks, who did not live up to his prediction and end his 12-game touchdown drought, didn't make much of the frustration.
During that drive, Manning tried to find Nicks in the back of the end zone but the two couldn't connect.
"I think it was just we were talking about the opportunity. My opportunities come far and between, so I like taking advantage of every opportunity," Nicks said. "So I was just getting on myself a little bit."
2dDan Graziano and Adam Caplan