Sunday, December 26, 2010
Rapid Reaction: Packers 45, Giants 17
By Kevin Seifert
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- A few thoughts on the Green Bay Packers' season-saving victory over the New York Giants:
What it means: The Packers took the first step in a two-move dance to make the playoffs. Sunday's win was convincing, but it won't mean much if they don't beat the Chicago Bears next Sunday at Lambeau Field. The Packers are guaranteed a postseason berth if they beat the Bears. Overall, given the ups and downs of this season, the Packers couldn't ask for a better opportunity.
RodgersWatch: Quarterback Aaron Rodgers appeared to have no lasting effects from a concussion that cost him a start last Sunday, tying a career high with four touchdown passes and setting a regular-season high of 404 yards. It was Rodgers' 10th career game with at least three touchdown passes and no interceptions, the most in NFL history for quarterbacks within three years of their first start.
RodgersSlide: Rodgers took a fair amount of criticism for not sliding at the end of a run that caused the concussion two weeks ago, so it was noteworthy that he launched into an exaggerated baseball-style slide at the end of a 15-yard run in the first quarter. Showing some humor, Rodgers jumped up and gave a "safe" sign.
Don't call it a comeback: The Giants stormed back from a 14-0 deficit in the first quarter largely because two Packers defensive backs fell down while covering deep passes. Charles Woodson slipped while defending Giants receiver Hakeem Nicks, leading to a 36-yard touchdown play. And Tramon Williams fell as Mario Manningham collected what would be an 85-yard score. Absent those two slips, however, the Packers never seemed close to giving up the lead thereafter. They intercepted Giants quarterback Eli Manning four times and forced a total of six turnovers.
Woodson's revenge: Woodson made up for his slip by forcing Ahmad Bradshaw to fumble on a run-blitz early in the third quarter. The play put the Packers in position for a 31-yard field goal from Mason Crosby and extend the lead to 10 points.
Kuuuuuuhn: Fans at Lambeau Field are now trained to chant for backup tailback John Kuhn as soon as he enters the game. Sunday, Kuhn touched the ball eight times and had three touchdowns -- two via ground, one by air.
What's next: As we noted, the victory sets up a meaningful rivalry game against the Bears to close out the regular season. The game is currently scheduled for 1 p.m. ET, but that could change.