Giants vs. Packers: The Playoff Aftermath
The Green Bay Packers could not find any rhythm all afternoon losing in the divisional round of the playoffs to the New York Giants by the score of 37-20.
Simply put, it wasn’t the Packers day. Everything the team did well all season – protect the football, create turnovers, move the ball – seemed to fail the Green and Gold today. The Packers lost three fumbles – and added an interception in garbage time – on its way to a lopsided loss at Lambeau field.
The defense did create one turnover, but John Kuhn picked an inopportune time for his first career fumble and gave it right back to the Giants on the ensuing drive. Ultimately, the offense looked like a shadow of its regular season self, and four turnovers proved too much to overcome.
Finally, Aaron Rodgers simply wasn’t himself. He wasn’t terrible by any stretch of the imagination, but he certainly missed the mark on a few plays. The early miss of a wide open Greg Jennings comes to mind, and the third-down miss of Jermichael Finley hurt the team’s chances today. The likely MVP had an off day. It happens. Unfortunately, the rest of the team did as well, and the Packers will be watching the rest of the playoffs from the couch.
Reliability Isn’t Always A Good Thing
The Packers offense – as spectacular as it has been – has cursed itself with dropped passes all season, and Sunday’s playoff game wasn’t any different. By my unofficial count, the receiving corps dropped eight passes. On any other day, the Packers electrifying offense overcomes those errors and manages to find the end zone. Not today, though. In the end, the 2012 postseason dream simply wasn’t meant to be.
Another unfailing area of deficiency has been the defense’s poor tackling. And despite playing a decent overall game, the unit gave up a number of big plays by not wrapping up ball carriers. It comes down to the fundamentals of tackling and the Packers defense did not execute.
There wasn’t a shining star today. Aaron Rodgers led the way for the Packers with five first downs rushing the football, but no one else answered the call of playoff football. As an eternal optimist, however, I am forced to look for a few positive aspects. My list is pretty short, and somehow, even the positives include some negatives.
For the first time since Cletidus Hunt got his mitts on a kick in the 2002 playoffs, the Packers special teams blocked a field goal in the playoffs. Outside linebacker Brad Jones was responsible for the swat, but it did very little to make up for his lackluster play on defense.
Aaron Rodgers can run. Credit the Giants defense for their blanket-like coverage on the Packers receiving corps, but Rodgers took what he was able with his feet. The Packers only managed eight rushing first downs, and five of them were credited to Rodgers. Once again, Rodgers led all Packers in rushing yards, begging the question, what do the Packers do next season at running back?
Donald Driver can still play. The Packers all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards had only three catches on the day, but two of the grabs converted third-downs and one went for a touchdown. Ironically, the player who may be forced off next season’s roster put in one of the day’s best performances.
Play Of The Game
The Packers were set to head into the locker room wounded, but an Eli Manning prayer squashed the day’s hopes and fortunes.
With only a handful of seconds left in the first half, Manning threw up a rainbow into the corner of the end zone. With safety Charlie Peprah in coverage, Giants’ receiver Hakeem Nicks out-leapt his defender as well as the right arm of Charles Woodson to trap the football between his hands and his facemask. Instead of 13-10 halftime lead, the Giants went up by 10 and the Packers never recovered.
How is it that Wisconsin football teams can have such great seasons, but be stymied by the hail mary pass?
As a fan, it’s tough to stomach a game like this, but the better team won. The Giants will move on to San Francisco to face the 49ers and the Packers will be left wondering what could have been.
It was a heck of a ride for the 2011 Packers, but unfortunately, the roller coaster stopped abruptly and left the players, fans and coaches wishing for another go round. All that is left to say, is thanks for a great season, and let’s do it again next year. Well, let’s do it again but with a different ending.