The Green Bay Packers have advanced in the NFL playoffs with a 38-13 victory over the New York Giants.
Aaron Rodgers threw four touchdown passes to move the Packers into the next round, where they will face the Dallas Cowboys. Randall Cobb caught three of those touchdown passes from Rodgers, and that included a 42-yard Hail Mary right before halftime.
Eli Manning struggled for the Giants, although he did throw one touchdown pass. Clay Matthews sacked Manning for a forced fumble in the fourth quarter as the Giants were trying to rally. >> Read more
Copyright 2017 by The Associated Press
All week, it was believed no matter how well the Giants' defense played, they would need to score at least 20 points if they wanted to leave Green Bay with a win. Well, that prognostication held true, but the number they needed today was 39.
They didn't even come close to that. They hadn't scored over 29 points in a single game all season, and they weren't doing it today they way they played.
Rodgers came into the game red hot and the Giants did an admirable job keeping him off the board for the first 28 minutes. Then New York surrendered two touchdowns right before the half, including a 42-yard Hail Mary to Cobb that may have broken their backs.
The Giants had a glut of chances to make up for it, but squandered just about every one of them.
They somewhat recovered from the Hail Mary when Manning hit Tavarres King for the 41-yard touchdown in the third quarter to narrow the score to 14-13, but that was the closest the Giants would get the rest of the way, a frustrating tease. Rodgers and the Packers' defense kept Big Blue at arm's length the remainder of the game.
The offense, which had its issues scoring points this season, could not take full advantage of the NFL's 31st-ranked defense, dropping passes early in the game which led to field goals instead of much-needed touchdowns. It may not have mattered in the end.
From there, the pressure was all on the defense, which couldn't hold the Packers despite making some big plays early on. Rodgers was clearly on his game, and when he is, there's no answers. If the Giants' defense couldn't stop him, it's hard to think any other team in the NFC will.
The Giants lost not from a lack of opportunities, but from a lack of execution. They left a ton of points on the field and have only themselves to blame. The defense could not contain the Jordy Nelson-less Packers when it counted, allowing big plays to other wideouts like Cobb and Davante Adams.
As a result, the season is over for these Giants. They will take a long, hard look at the mistakes and their shortcomings after this game. There is no fix for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, however, and that is what they were up against in Green Bay today.
The Packers will move on to Dallas, and if they play anything like they did today, could topple the No. 1 seed Cowboys. The Giants' defense threw the kitchen sink at Rodgers and came up empty. Very empty.