And Then There Were Four
Games left for the Green Bay Packers to complete a perfect regular season, that is.
The Packers moved to 12-0 in what was perhaps their toughest game of the season by beating the New York Giants on a Mason Crosby field goal as time expired on Sunday. The 38-35 victory was engineered by Aaron Rodgers‘ flawless final drive, where he completed four passes, all or which went 18 yards or more, to set up Crosby’s field goal with three second left.
The Packers got the ball back with 58 seconds after the Giants tied the score on a Hakeem Nicks touchdown reception and a two-point conversion run by D.J. Ware.
The loss was the Giants’ fourth in a row, but the team played their best game in over a month — perhaps all season. Their defensive line woke up and pressured Rodgers consistently, resulting in two sacks and several hurries that caused a number of underthown balls. The quarterback still threw for 369 yards and four touchdowns, though.
Meanwhile, his counterpart, Eli Manning, torched the Packers secondary for 347 yards and three touchdowns. Most of the damage was done by Nicks, who had 88 yards and two touchdowns and Victor Cruz, who had seven catches for 119 yards.
While the secondary didn’t play well, linebackers Clay Matthews and Erik Walden did. Matthews returned an interception for a touchdown, had a sack and a forced fumble. Walden didn’t have the stats, but he and Matthews met at the quarterback numerous times, knocking Manning to the ground and forcing quick throws.
The win helped the Packers clinch the NFC North. Detroit’s loss to New Orleans sealed the deal for Green Bay.
The Packers finish with Oakland at home, at Kansas City, Chicago at home and Detroit at home. Next week’s game may be the toughest remaining on the schedule.