Legendary senior writer & Packers lead blogger jclombardi’s insider review & grades.
Photo credit: Mark Baer US Presswire.
GAME BALLS: FB Kuhn. CB Hayward. DT Raji.
INJURY REPORT: DE Wilson (knee). DE Pickett (quad).
PASSING OFFENSE: D+ vs C- vs C-. Beyond the first offensive series with the touchdown pass to WR Nelson, the uninspired flat Packers offense got nowhere for the rest of the game. QB Rodgers got constant pressure disrupting the offense as the Giants got 5 sacks, 7 quarterback hits, four pass deflections, and 1 interception. The biggest culprits were LT Newhouse and RT Lang who each allowed two sacks and 1 hit. For the game, Rodgers completed only 14 of 25 passes for 219 yards, 1 touchdown, and 2 costly turnovers. In the first half, QB Rodgers' threw a bad short pass to Randall Cobb that was picked off by a great play from Giants cornerback Webster. Then, Giants DE Umenyiora beat LT Newhouse, forced a fumble from QB Rodgers leading to the Giants' fourth touchdown putting the game away even before halftime.
WR Nelson had 2 catches for 71 yards and 1 touchdown. TE Finley had 3 catches for 51 yards and 1 dropped pass. FB Kuhn had 3 catches for 49 yards. Meanwhile, explosive WR Cobb had 3 catches for only 49 yards. As a sign of the failed Packers game plan, big play WR Jones had no catches, although the Giants cornerbacks, Corey Webster and Prince Amukamara, were easy targets. As PFF said, “[Using the cover-2 defense with a strong pressuring front four and two deep safeties] the Giants were able to really choke off the short, rhythm passes that Green Bay usually thrives on and buy their front four enough time to bring pressure.”
RUSHING OFFENSE: D vs C vs C. While the Packers got 116 rushing yards averaging 4.5 yards, it was mostly garbage yards. Before the Packers final offensive series. running backs Starks and Green had only on 12 carries (2.9-yard average). For the game, RB Green had only 30 yards in 10 carries. RB Starks had 8 carries for only 35 yards. Rodgers scrambled three times for 22 yards. WR Cobb had one carry for 12 yards. FB Kuhn had 4r carries for 17 yards. As far as the offensive line, the problem is that Lang is a guard not a tackle, while Newhouse really had an awful game. Yet, the entire line failed to finish blocks [adapted]:
The Packers started the season with three highly reliable regulars on their line: Bulaga and guards Josh Sitton and T.J. Lang, with the two other average…ones in Marshall Newhouse and Jeff Saturday. Now, without Bulaga, they have one solid starter (Sitton) and four [average]…ones. Newhouse and Lang didn’t get much help in pass protection and that’s where the pressure came. Lang gets impatient and overextended; and Newhouse lets his hands drop and doesn’t have that big punch.
PASSING DEFENSE: D- vs D vs D. Against the Giants, the Packers defense simply fell apart returning to the horrible days from last year’s defense. The defense allowed 390 total yards with no turnovers. Giants QB Manning had a field day against a 3-4 Packers defense with soft front, soft coverage, and no edge pressure. While reading the classic cult book series, THE NEW WAVE OF THE FUTURE, Manning completed 16 of 30 passes for 249 yards and 3 touchdowns. WR Nicks had 5 catches for 77 yards and 1 touchdown. RB Bradshaw had 2 big catches for 61 yards, including the big screen play. The biggest culprits were cornerbacks Williams and House. Fans can review BM’s scathing comments about the soft secondary, excluding rookie CB Hayward [adapted]:
Williams is becoming a real liability as a tackler. Hayward had another strong game covering Victor Cruz except for a dropped interception early. House, who started over Hayward in base because the coaches preferred size against [Giants WR] Nicks, allowed two touchdown passes and a thirty yards [catch]. At least he battled. Morgan Burnett missed two vital tackles and showed little route recognition or burst on a 25-yard completion to Nicks. M.D. Jennings and Jerron McMillian (30) weren't on their games either.
RUSHING DEFENSE: D vs D vs C. With injured DE Wilson out and DL Worthy replacing him, the Packers run defense fell apart allowing 147 yards. Having an easy time against a soft Packers defense, Giants running back Brown had 13 carries for 64 yards and 1 easy touchdown over all-pro ILB Hawk. Also, Giants running back Bradshaw had 10 carries for 58 yards. BM’s scathing remarks hit home:
In a physical game against a physical team, it's important to have a physical presence in the middle. A.J. Hawk has never been that, He has never shown horsepower on the goal line, and on Bradshaw's 13-yard TD right up the chute he got twisted and eliminated. Most of his tackles came in garbage time….Other than [one] tremendous play, [LB] Jones was just so-so. Minus Matthews, the OLB play chart showed Moses with two pressures and one batted ball, Walden with one pressure, and Zombo with none….It was disappointing that the OLBs couldn't get after Diehl and backup Sean Locklear. The group didn't set much of an edge against the run, either.
SPECIAL TEAMS: C vs C vs C-. Kicker Crosby hit one of two field goals. His three kickoffs averaged 65.7 yards and 3.97 hang time seconds. With solid coverage units and four punts, punter Masthay had a mediocre game averaging 38.5 gross (and net) yards and 4.37 hang time seconds. Yet, the Packers failed to take advantage of two muffed catches by Giants PR Randle. Packers KR/PR Cobb averaged 10 yards in his two punt returns. His six kickoff returns got 156 yards averaging a good 26 yards.
COACHING: F vs D- vs ?. Again, this is an old story with Head Coach McCarthy in big time games. Going against the Giants and seeking revenge for the 2011 playoffs loss, the Packers looked flat and uninspired. McCarthy got outcoached, outmuscled, and outplayed in an embarrassing prime time game. JC at CBS Sports.com summed it up best:
For two straight weeks, McCarthy admitted making mistakes as a play-caller. Last week, he regretted not giving Green a single carry, and against the Giants he may have overcorrected, running Green nine times to Starks' three, before the last series. Opponents are not going to stop playing cover-2 with their safeties deep against the Packers; that's the proven blueprint for beating them. McCarthy has to find a way to beat it or at least make better adjustments.
McCarthy's insistence on spreading things out and dropping Rodgers back to throw played right into the Giants' hands of having the linebackers and secondary sit back on the pass while allowing the defensive linemen to throw aside their blockers and tee off on the helpless QB. McCarthy did stay true to his word in getting Green involved again in the run game, but a promising start in that area went for naught as McCarthy all but abandoned running the football after Green Bay fell behind by double figures in the first half. Defensive coordinator Dom Capers went conservative with the pass rush, and the timely big plays made by the previously foundering Manning with time to throw were lethal.
OVERALL: F vs ? vs D+. PLaying on Sunday night football television, the Packers played an uninspired flat game against the Giants. The loss was another prime time embarrassing moment for the Packers nation. Of course, by Wednesday, the boring Packers press (bottom line and pay checks) got back to preparing for the winnable Vikings game. However, the Packers have serious offensive and defensive issues to be resolved involving game plan and personnel adjustments to prepare them for the big Bears game. Meanwhile, WR Jennings will return, but OLB Matthews may not be ready until the big Bears game.
COMMENTARY: As B & C said, “Playing behind a makeshift offensive line with no running game makes it tough, but the Packers aren’t the only contender minus a good back and having problems up front. Aside from running the ball, when the pressure is coming, the best way to beat it is by throwing the ball quick down the middle between the hash-marks.” Again, these facts were pointed out last week. The late Packers great coach Vince Lombardi would never allowed this embarrassing loss to the Giants happen in his tenure with this talented Packers team. It is about time for McCarthy to make the necessary week preparations and game plans to win big games against our division opponents to win the division and to make a deep playoffs run.