In another stellar performance, the New York Giants defeated the Green Bay Packers. They didn't just win the game, they took the lead early and held onto it for the entire game, barring the points in which the Packers tied. This is not the Giants that we saw in the regular season. This is a team reborn.
With the Denver Broncos losing to the New England Patriots this weekend, the Giants hold the worse regular season record who are still alive in the postseason. but, as we have heard time and time again, it doesn't matter how you start. It's how you finish. Big Blue are looking to finish big and they just might. Read on Giants fans.
Spirits were high right from the get-go. Kevin Gilbride called a well balanced mix of run and pass plays to march the Giants down the field on a twelve play drive. The Packers defense stopped Eli Manning and co. in their tracks at their own 13-yard line. Lawrence Tynes came out to kick a 31-yard field goal, resulting in the game's first points. Giants 3, Packers 0.
It seemed that fate was smiling on the G-Men on the kickoff. Tynes kicked the ball71 yards into Randall Cobb's hands. Cobb ran the ball out, only to turn the faces of the entire state of Wisconsin white with a near-fumble. Mirroring the Giants' first drive with a well-balanced mix of run and pass, the Packers made their presence known by making their way down into Giants territory. The Big Blue defense were able to limit Aaron Rodgers and force the Pack to settle for three points. Giants 3, Packers 3.
It took a total of four-plays, one minute and forty-six seconds and two Manning-Nicks connections for the G-Men to score their first touchdown of the game. On a third-and-long, Manning found Hakeem Nicks down field on a 15-yard pass. The play resulted in a first down. On the very next play, Eli fired the ball across the middle to Nicks, who then took the ball for a 66-yard journey to the end zone. With a Tynes extra point, the Giants regained the lead. Giants 10, Packers 3.
Not surprisingly, the Pack's offense answered back on the next drive. Rodgers started the drive off on the ground, converting on third down. Rodgers converted for another first-down on the next play, passing the ball to Jordy Nelson for eleven-yards. On the next play, Rodgers connected with Greg Jennings. That play invoked memories of the questionable officiating from the regular season game where these two teams met. Jennings was tackled by Deon Grant but not before the ball came loose. It was recovered by the Giants. The referees ruled that jennings was down by contact. Yet, Mike Pereira, former vice-president of NFL officiating, said in the FOX broadcast, "If I were under the hood, I would have overturned the call with clear possession for the New York Giants." The blatantly bad call enabled the drive to continue. Five plays later, the Pack had their fist touchdown of the day. Giants 10, Packers 10.
The Giants wound up with good field position on the following kickoff. Manning was able to hook up with Travis Beckum and Ahmad Bradshaw to bring them within field goal range. But that was not to be. Brad Jones, outside linebacker for the Pack, was able to get his hands on a 40-yard Lawrence Tynes attempt. Giants 10, Packers 10.
Both defenses were able to keep the other team's offense in check. That is to say, until the last forty-one seconds of the game. Infamous for his two-minute offense, Eli Manning took the final seconds of the second quarter to increase the New York lead. Ahmad Bradshaw had an incredible 23-yard run, moving from one side of the field to the other. He was able to stop the clock, which was critical seeing as how the G-Men had no time-outs left. He also left six-second left on the clock. Manning used the final six-seconds to throw a Hail Mary pass into the end zone. The pass was not a desperate effort by no means. There were plenty of white jerseys in the area thrown. Fortunately, Hakeem Nicks came up with the catch, reminiscent of David Tyree's miracle catch in Super Bowl XLII. Giants 20, Packers 10. End of half.
The first half scales leaned on the offensive side. The defenses for both teams played up against each other well. But they showboated their efforts in the third quarter. Aaron Rodgers brought his team down into Giants territory and was threatening to score - enter Osi Umenyiora. Osi fought his way through Green Bay's offensive line, got his hands on Rodgers and stripped him of the ball. Deon Grant recovered the fumble and the Giants defense stopped the unstoppable Packers offense, cold. The Packers were able to put up three points on their next drive. It would be the only offensive points in the third quarter. Giants 20, Packers 13.
The Green Bay defense was able to hold the Giants scoreless in the third quarter. But what the Giants didn't do offensively in the third quarter, they more than made up for in the fourth. Outscoring the Packers 17-7 in the fourth, Eli Manning and his elite group of receivers went on to do what most of the free world didn't think was possible, defeat the Green Bay Packers in Lambeau Field. Giants 37, Packers 20.
Aaron Rodgers, who only threw six-interceptions during the entire regular season, added one to his postseason record. There seemed to be as many dropped passed from the Green Bay receivers as there were receptions. Perry Fewell didn't bring an exorbitant amount of blitz packages throughout the day. He relied on his front four to bring the rush and stop the run. A plan that worked out quite well, apparently. The Big Blue Wall was up today and the score was certainly indicative of that.
The New York running game, which had been present in the last few games, wasn't very effective. Collectively, Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs ran for 85 yards. Jacobs, of course, rushing for a 14-yard touchdown late in th fourth quarter, putting the final nail in Green Bay's coffin.
Eli Manning finished with a passer rating of 114.5. Aaron Rodgers recorded a dismal 78.5 rating. Excluding the Dec. 12, 2010 game against the Detroit Lions, where he was injured, it was his lowest rating since Halloween of 2010.
The Giants secondary played a game that they can be proud of today. The defense, in recent-typical fashion, played outstanding. Eli Manning and his receiving arsenal, exquisite! The G-Men continue to dominate all in their postseason path. The San Francisco 49ers are next, a team they faced earlier in the season and held their own. The road to the Lombardi Trophy is opening wide for the Giants. Eli Manning might be paying Peyton a visit in February.