The problem with the New York Giants’ head coach Ben McAdoo is like Private Hudson once said — he doesn’t keep up with current events. Anyone paid handsomely to know should know that the Green Bay Packers’ M.O. at home is to control the game with their offense. Get off to quick starts, get the crowd into the game, which in turn helps the defense and then hang on in the second half.
Ignoring that, McAdoo went with the modern NFL axiom to always defer after winning the toss. In doing so, he ignored the life axiom that there is no such thing as always, never or forever.
So, the Giants kicked. The Packers then preceded to control the clock with their offense, get off to a quick start, get the crowd into the game, which helped the defense dominate, before hanging on to the win the second half. Didn’t see that coming.
The Packers started with a 16-play, 75-yard, touchdown drive that took nearly nine minutes off the clock and all but guaranteed the Giants would only see the ball once in the first quarter. The Packers converted four third downs on the drive; the last and longest was a 3rd and 10 from the Giants’ 27. The Giants rushed four and dropped seven, which is fine except they didn’t bother to spy the quarterback. After finishing his cigarette, Aaron Rodgers strolled up the left sideline for 11 yards and a first down.
The Packers scored two plays later on a diving catch by Jordy Nelson to make it 7-0.
The Giants picked up one first down on an easy dig route by Odell Beckham Jr. before having to punt it right back to the Packers.
Moving the ball in similar fashion to the game against the Lions in the first half, the Packers made their way downfield again. A 10-play drive ran out the first quarter and advanced the ball as far as the Giants’ 21. However, on 3rd and six from there, Rodgers had Jordy on the same dig route Beckham ran earlier, but the ball bounced off Jordy’s hands and floated like a gift into the arms of Janoris Jenkins. The interception took points off the board for the Packers.
Fortunately, it didn’t lead to anything for the Giants. In what would be a familiar pattern, the Giants picked up one first down on a dig route to Beckham before having to punt again.
The referees and not the Giants stopped the Packers offense for the first time on the night. On 3rd and 10, Rodgers converted another by finding Davante Adams alone on the sideline for 17 yards. Wrong. A holding call on David Bakhtiari wiped out the play and made it 3rd and 20. Replay showed the man with more first names than fingers on his right hand — Jason Pierre-Paul — fell down after jumping in the air in an attempt to knock down the pass. NFL refs have a tendency to call holding whenever a defensive lineman falls to the ground, regardless if the guy blocking him had anything to do with it or not.
The stop brought the illustrious Jacob Schum into the game to punt for the first time. It is a whopping 33-yarder and the Giants got to start at the 45. They turned their good field position into a field goal after tight end Will Tye was forgotten about on a straight go route. It was good for 28 yards. The Giants moved one yard back and then kicked a field goal to make it 7-3.
Doing quite the opposite of their first drive, the Packers went 80 yards in five quick plays to go up 14-3. Most of the drive was a 31-yard rumble by Eddie Lacy that was one of the best runs of his career, and a 29-yard touchdown pass to Davante Adams, who just ran a go route up the right sideline. Adams left Rodgers a little room to the outside to put the ball. Rodgers threw the perfect pass, and Adams did well to stretch the ball into the end zone.
After the Giants went three and out, Aaron Rodgers had his worst play of the game, when he had been playing probably his best game of the season to this point. First Rodgers fled the pocket when there was no one around him. Then, rolling to his right, he threw low and behind Adams. Jenkins made a nice pick on the play, and that is two for the former Ram.
The Giants would go nowhere and kick another field goal to trail 14-6.
Two plays just before half had a big impact on the game. After a Packers’ three and out where Rodgers twice misfired on dump-offs to James Starks, Eli Manning took a shot on the tight end go route again, this time just overthrowing a wide open Will Tye. On the very next play, Kyler Fackrell dashed around Bobby Hart and stripped Eli of the football. Kenny Clark recovered for the Packers, allowing them to end the first half with an easy field goal to make it 17-6.
The Giants got the second half kickoff that McAdoo wanted so badly and punted after gaining 7 yards. The Packers went three and out on their first drive of the second half. By the way, that means the Packers have two punts and two field goals in their drives to start the second half so far this season. Conversely, the Packers have three touchdowns and one punt on their drives to start the game, and the one game where they didn’t score on their first drive, against the Vikings, they scored on their second drive.
On their next drive, the Giants used short passes to their running backs to finally move the ball against the Packers, who were sitting mostly in a cover-2 defense. The Giants advanced to the Green Bay 12-yard line before being forced to settle for their third field goal.
After the teams traded three and outs, the Packers finally got some rhythm again with Rodgers finding Adams for 20 and Cobb for 21 to move the ball into Giants’ territory. The drive chewed up nearly five minutes of clock and got the Packers another field goal to go up 20-9.
The Giants did another four and out. The Packers got the ball at their normal starting position, at their own 20, and moved downfield again. The drive might have been a three and out, but on 3rd and 9, Randall Cobb pinwheeled off of three defenders, found some blockers and jitterbugged upfield for 17 yards. Rodgers then found Nelson for 17 more when he cut beneath the screen of Richard Rodgers and was free across the middle of the field.
We saw that a couple times this game where the receivers were finally put in better positions to beat man-to-man coverage. Janoris Jenkins was on Jordy Nelson and covered him well all game. However, on that play, Jenkins got caught in Richard Rodgers’ wake and lost Nelson going across the field. Nelson was wide open, even against a good cover corner.
With a chance to put the game away for good, the Packers only got a field goal out of it, making the score 23-9. On 3rd and goal, the Giants blitzed seven, Rodgers took the right shot in going to Nelson against the Giants’ fourth corner. However, that corner merely held Jordy’s left hand down, forcing him to try to catch the ball with just his right hand. That is clearly interference. No call. Incomplete. Field goal.
The Giants pulled one from the Lions’ playbook and moved their way down the field against a defense merely trying to stall them. Manning finally threw a touchdown when he bought some time in the pocket and then found Beckham at the very back of the end zone. I am still not convinced Beckham stayed in bounds, but the replays could not show it conclusively one way or the other. Tuddy.
Yes, it is the Lions’ game in redux. Again the Packers need one first down. They got it this time by finding Cobb on the out from the slot one final time. Cobb’s defender had good coverage until he tripped, leaving Cobb wide open for the easy first down.
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