The New York Giants defeated the Green Bay Packers by the score of 38-10.
The Giants rushing attack set the tone early in what ended as a lopsided victory. Finishing the evening with 147 rushing yards and two touchdowns, the Giants running backs owned the Packers defense.
The Giants’ rushers gashed the Packers defense for big runs all evening. Talented runners breaking tackles combined with defenders failing to wrap up and gang-tackle spelled defeat for the Packers.
Converting Third Downs
With the Packers unable to generate any semblance of a pass rush, especially in the red zone, Eli Manning sat back and patiently waited for his receivers to execute their routes.
With all three of Manning’s touchdown passes coming on third-down plays in the red zone, the Packers defense couldn’t find a way to stop the Giants.
In fact, the Giants converted half of their third-down and fourth-down plays throughout the game. Clay Matthews’ absence was masked against the hapless Lions, but against the Giants, Matthews’ big-play ability was sorely missed.
Whether it’s Eli Manning this week or Christian Ponder next week, almost any signal caller will pick apart a defensive backfield if given enough time. The Packers pass rush has to improve, especially on third down in the red zone.
The Offensive Line
The Packers offensive line continues to struggle after losing Bryan Bulaga to a season-ending hip injury. In two games without their stalwart right tackle, the Packers have faced two formidable defensive fronts and not fared very well in either.
Against the Lions and Giants, the reconfigured line has given up 10 sacks, and on Sunday evening, the line could barely keep Rodgers upright.
With the quarterback forced to scramble seemingly every time he dropped back, finding a rhythm in the passing game was next to impossible.
If the battle in the trenches decides the outcome of more football games this season, the Packers offensive line will have to step up their game in order for the team to make a playoff run.
Running for his life all night, the Packers signal caller surrendered two turnovers for the first time this season. The pressure of the Giants defense only accounted for one turnover, however.
Giants’ defensive end Osi Umenyiora made Packers tackle Marshall Newhouse look like a practice squad player in the first half, as he was virtually untouched before stripping Rodgers of the football.
Rodgers’ fumble can be blamed on the offensive line, but the quarterback has no one to blame but himself for the early interception.
The last time Rodgers had two turnovers in one game? The last time his team faced the Giants, which ended the 2011 Packers’ season.
Early in the first quarter, two Packers special teamers went down. Backup running back Johnny White was taken to the locker room to be evaluated for a concussion and Jamari Lattimore sustained a calf injury. Lattimore returned in the second quarter, however.
The bigger injury occurred later in the game to defensive lineman C.J. Wilson. The third year player out of East Carolina, who has become a vital part of the defensive line rotation, was unable to return to the game after suffering a knee injury.
Ultimately, it’s one loss and the Packers are still 5-1 in their last six games. With a record of 7-4, the Packers remain in the hunt for the division title and the playoffs.
Green Bay returns home next week to face the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday who are only one game behind the Packers in the NFC North standings.
Max Ginsberg is a regular contributor at CheeseheadTV, blogs at PurplePantsGreenJersey.com and can be reached via Twitter @MaxGinsberg or at maxginsberg[at]yahoo.com.
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