Sunday, November 25, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Giants 38, Packers 10
By Kevin Seifert
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A few thoughts on a stunning 38-10 beat down at MetLife Stadium:
What it means: It wasn't totally surprising to see the end of the Green Bay Packers' five-game winning streak in a road game against the Super Bowl champions. But it's been a while since the Packers have recorded such a lopsided loss. It had been three years, in fact, since they so much as lost a regular-season game by double digits, and overall it's tied for the second-largest margin of defeat since coach Mike McCarthy was hired in 2006. The Packers are 7-4 and one game behind the Chicago Bears in the NFC North. They still have a clear path to the division title, but they might need to win their next three games to do it.
Defensive woes: For the first time this season, the Packers really seemed to miss the playmakers they've lost this season. With cornerback Charles Woodson and linebacker Clay Matthews sidelined, among others, the Packers couldn't create a play to stop the Giants' offensive momentum. It began with Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw taking a screen pass 59 yards on the fourth play of the game and didn't let up. Quarterback Eli Manning threw three touchdown passes after going 107 attempts without one. The Giants did not commit a turnover, finished with 391 total yards and punted three times.
Pass protection: The Packers' reconfigured offensive line struggled to hold its ground for the second consecutive game. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers was sacked five times, and a 61-yard touchdown pass to receiver Jordy Nelson -- the Packers' first opening-series touchdown of the season -- proved to be a mirage. The Giants overwhelmed the Packers from both sides as well as in the interior. It got so bad that Rodgers gave way to his backup for the first time ever in a loss that I can recall. Graham Harrell entered with four minutes, 53 seconds remaining in the game.
Crosby update: McCarthy didn't make it easy on struggling place-kicker Mason Crosby by sending him out for a 55-yard attempt in the first quarter. The Packers faced fourth-down-and-five in the situation, and a punt wouldn't have demonstrated a lack of faith in Crosby as much as a prudent decision in cold and windy weather. It was 35 degrees with winds of 13 miles per hour at kickoff. The kick was wide left. Crosby did hit a 28-yard field goal in the second quarter, however. In the big picture, I can't say Crosby figured in the outcome of this game one way or the other.
Injury report: Running back Johnny White suffered a concussion in the first quarter and did not return. Defensive lineman C.J. Wilson, meanwhile, injured a knee in the second quarter and did not return.
What's next: The Packers will host the Minnesota Vikings next Sunday at Lambeau Field.