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Packers vs. Giants: The Aftermath

December 4, 2011
by

The Green Bay Packers remained unbeaten Sunday afternoon by outlasting the New York Giants by the score of 38-35.

The Playmakers

Each week a new player steps up to lead the Packers offense, and on an up-and-down day for the receiving corps, the entire group stepped up when quarterback Aaron Rodgers needed them most.

The combination of Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Jermichael Finley and Donald Driver combined for 21 catches for 309 yards and 4 touchdowns. Donald Driver lodged only 4 catches on the afternoon, but 2 went for scores and the 36-year-old continues to defy age with timely, acrobatic catches. Speaking of big-time catches, Jordy Nelson also hauled in 4 passes. Whenever the Packers needed a play, Nelson was there to pull down a spectacular catch.

The Injury Bug Strikes Again

Already without four key starters  — right guard Josh Sitton, left tackle Chad Clifton, and inside linebackers A.J. Hawk and Desmond Bishop – the Packers lost three more key players on Sunday.

James Starks injured his ankle after only 3 carries, but hopefully the ride on the cart to the locker room was not indicative of the severity of the injury. Cornerback Charles Woodson also made his way to the locker room during the game in what appeared to be a concussion. In what looked like the most serious injury, tight end Andrew Quarless’ right leg bent awkwardly late in the game and the second-year tight end appeared to be in serious pain as he was helped off the field.

As Green Bay approaches a perfect season, I wonder if head coach Mike McCarthy is weighing the value of health over the prospect of an undefeated season. The coach claims he’s taking it one game at a time, but after the past two injury-filled weeks, the thought has to be running through his mind.

Play Of The Game

After two straight runs of over ten yards by Giants running back Brandon Jacobs, New York was beginning to take over the game’s early momentum. On Jacobs’ second run, Packers safety Morgan Burnett made a shoe-string tackle to save a big run by the nimble, 264-pound running back.

On the very next play, Packers linebacker Clay Matthews took one step towards the quarterback before dropping back into coverage. Feeling pressure from the pass rush, Eli Manning attempted a check-down pass to running back Ahmad Bradshaw in the right flat. Without breaking stride, Matthews stepped in front of Bradshaw for the interception. There was no one left to stop the Pro Bowl linebacker as he sprinted 38-yards for the score, putting the Packers ahead for the first time in the contest.

Matthews’ score turned the momentum in the Packers favor and set the tone for the rest of the afternoon.

The Game Winner

For the first time in over four years, Packers kicker Mason Crosby kicked a game-winning field goal. Since that first kick, which was in his first NFL game, Crosby had missed three other game-winners.

On the game’s final drive, Aaron Rodgers and the offense drove the ball 68-yards in the final minute of the game, and Crosby put a 30-yard kick straight through the uprights to seal the victory for the Packers.  Despite the dreaded right-hash monster denying Crosby an earlier field goal, Crosby came up big with the game on the line.

Up Next?

The Packers return home next week and welcome the Oakland Raiders to the friendly confines of Lambeau Field. Oakland is coming off a disappointing loss to the Miami Dolphins and will be hungry to keep pace with the Denver Broncos in the AFC West.

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