Behind a strong defense and a few bursts of offense, the Packers moved to 3-1 with a 23-16 win over the Giants Sunday night. Controlling time of possession by over 13 minutes, Green Bay was able to outlast a tired Giants defense late and seal the deal by running out the final 2:54.
The game started off with a flashback to the old Packers offense as they controlled the line of scrimmage and methodically moved down the field, taking 8:42 off the clock and running 16 plays, the longest of which was a 17-yard pass to Randall Cobb. Jordy Nelson capped it off with a 2 yards diving touchdown catch in which he slipped before his dive.
After forcing the Giants to punt, the Packers drove down the field again with relative ease before Rodgers threw a beautiful touchdown to Cobb that was called back by an illegal shift. Rodgers had quick-snapped the ball before Adams had been set to catch the Giants with 12 men. The offsetting penalties killed the drive as the very next play Nelson had a ball go off his hands, into the air, and into the waiting arms of Janoris Jenkins. Luckily the Giants were unable to convert the turnover to any points.
After a quick three and out and a short punt, the Giants drove down and settled for a 47-yard Josh Brown field goal. The next drive in the second quarter, it was Lacy who did all the heavy lifting, running for 37 yards in the first two plays to set up an Adams touchdown reception. Rodger laid it out on the sideline, hitting the third year receiver in stride and he tiptoed the sideline before reaching the ball over the pilon for the score. Rodgers then threw another pick to Jenkins, underthrowing Adams on a scramble drill in what was one of his worst throws in a long time. The Giants would convert it to a field goal.
With 1:27 left, it was the Packer defense forcing the turnover, as Kyler Fackrell beat the right tackle to strip Eli Manning of the ball and fellow rookie Kenny Clark was there to pick it up, leading to a Mason Crosby field goal to end the half with the Packers up 17-6.
The third quarter belonged to the Giants as each team would trade punts with the exception of a Josh Brown field goal set up by another short punt by Jacob Schum. The Packers would then sustain a drive at the end of the third into the fourth quarter with chunk plays being made by Starks (10 yard run), Adams (20-yard catch), and Cobb (21-yard catch) before the drive stalled and Crosby hit another field goal. He would hit another field goal the next drive on a nine play, 73-yard drive that stalled at the Giants seven yard line to make it 23-9
The Giants would go down and score a touchdown on a beautiful catch by Odell Beckham, Jr. before the Packers would run out the clock on a 13-yard pass to Cobb in which the receiver took a nasty hit that bent his neck in ways the human neck is not supposed to.
As a team, the Packers outgained the Giants 406-219 and controlled time of possession by 13 minutes over their New York foes. Each team committed six penalties for around 50 yards. The Packers converted 9 of their 19 third downs (47%) while holding the Giants to 4 of 13 (30%). The Packers also finally hit their goal for amount of plays, snapping the ball 77 times in the game, with the Giants only able to get 54 snaps.
Lacy led the way offensively with 81 yards rushing on 11 carries, while Cobb paced the receivers with 108 yards on 9 receptions. Adams was right behind with 85 yards on five catches and a score while Nelson had 38 yards and a score on 4 receptions. Rodgers, after a rough second quarter, rebounded to finish 23 of 45 for 259 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Aaron Ripkowski also had a couple of nice runs, including a 13 yard rumble in the fourth quarter, carrying at least five Giants tacklers down the field.
But the heroes of the game were on the offensive line. Rodgers had all day to throw on almost every play, not getting sacked once during the game and standing in the pocket for most of the time. David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga especially have to be commended for standing strong to Olivier Vernon and Jason Pierre-Paul. They were non-factors in the passing game.
Defensively, Jake Ryan led the way with seven tackles, four of them solo. Micah Hyde, Kyler Fackrell, Clay Matthews, and Nick Perry also chipped in sacks and were able to provide pressure on Eli pretty consistently. They may not have gotten there as much, but they were able to collapse the edge solidly.
The biggest problem tonight was special teams, as Dwayne Harris gashed the kick coverage units, averaging 34 yards, and Schum really had a rough night, only averaging 35 yards on 4 punts with a long of 42.
The Packers now get ready for Dallas as Dak Prescott and the Cowboys come to town. Kickoff for that game on October 16 is set for 3:25.——————
Mike Wendlandt is originally from Iola, Wisconsin and graduated from Drake University in 2015 with a degree in History. With a significant journalism background both in writing and broadcasting, Mike can be heard as the play-by-play voice of Central Wisconsin High School sports on WDUX FM 92.7 and on Twitter @MikeWendlandt.
Mike Wendlandt is a writer covering the Green Bay Packers for PackersTalk.com.