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Sunday, November 17, 2013
Packers' D allows more plays than it makes

By Mike Mazzeo

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Cornerback Tramon Williams' diving interception late in the second quarter of Sunday's game against the New York Giants was supposed to be the play that galvanized the Green Bay Packers' defense.

It didn't.

The Packers managed to sack Giants quarterback Eli Manning four times, but did little else to pick up third-string quarterback Scott Tolzien and the team's anemic offense in a 27-13 loss at MetLife Stadium.

New York's Victor Cruz
The Packers allowed Giants receiver Victor Cruz to collect eight catches for 110 yards.
Defensively, they gave up several big plays and allowed the Giants to convert twice on fourth down. Manning found slot man Victor Cruz eight times for 110 yards, while bruising back Andre Brown pounded his way to 66 yards on 18 carries. Overall, the Giants were able to roll up 334 yards of total offense.

“We didn't get it done,” Williams said. “We're facing adversity right now, but the only thing we can do is come back to work, keep fighting, stick together and that's what we're about. Adversity is hitting us right now, and no one's making any excuses. We just need to get back to work.”

The Packers came into the game significantly short-handed in the secondary due to hamstring injuries that kept cornerbacks Sam Shields and Casey Hayward out of action. Still, they felt like they could overcome it. But they couldn't.

“We're in place here to win, and when you don't win, it's a terrible feeling,” defensive end B.J. Raji said. “As men, only we can change that. So we have to move on and hopefully try to get a win next Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings.”

With Shields and Hayward on the sidelines, reserves Davon House and Micah Hyde lost Giants wide receiver Rueben Randle on a 26-yard touchdown pass that gave New York a 7-0 lead with 5:34 left in the first quarter. There were also coverage breakdowns on Manning's 35-yard pass to wide receiver Hakeem Nicks and his 30-yard pass to Cruz, who seemed to find holes in Green Bay's zone all game long.

Asked if the defense played well enough to give the team a chance to win, Packers coach Mike McCarthy responded, “I'm not going to sit here and give you an evaluation.”

Perhaps the only positive was that outside linebacker Clay Matthews felt more comfortable playing with a smaller cast. Matthews finished with four tackles and a sack.

“Just reducing that cast to a traditional fiberglass cast really helped me out,” Matthews said. “I'm getting really close to being back to my old self, but I felt like I was at times resembling that as far as my pass rush, my balance, dropping into coverage, just overall playing the game.

“Like we said last week, it's a mini victory in itself that you don't suffer any more damage to an injury and hopefully it'll continue to progress next week to where it will be 100 percent. So I'm happy with the progress that's made and I'm happy with where I've come from last week to this week.”