The New York Giants picked apart an injury plagued Green Bay Packers team at MetLife Stadium on Sunday night. The Packers were without Clay Mathews, Charles Woodson and Greg Jennings. However, Big Blue sacked Aaron Rodgers five times and scored five touchdowns on six opportunities in the red-zone. The Giants looked like a rejuvenated team coming off the bye week and answered a lot of questions on both sides of the football.
Big Blue made a statement on their opening drive as they marched down the field on a six play 74-yard drive highlighted by a perfectly executed screen play to Ahmad Bradshaw that went for 59-yards. Green Bay would immediately answer after Jordy Nelson toasted Corey Webster for a 61-yard touchdown. The game appeared as if it was going to be a shootout, but the Giants defense stiffened up and did not allow another touchdown for the rest of the game.
As always, we'll take a look at the good, the mixed and the ugly from Sunday night's lopsided matchup.
The Giants rushing attack made a statement tonight. Big Blue rushed for 147-yards on the ground, and they did so with a variety of personnel. Andre Brown ran for 64 yards, Ahmad Bradshaw added 58 yards, David Wilson rushed for 13 yards and Eli Manning pitched in a 12 yard scramble. The offensive line was extremely effective at the point of attack and was able to open up holes all night.
The Giants passing attack is not as lethal as it was a year ago. When the rushing attack has picked up the slack, this offense has produced points. Tonight, the rushing attack came to play and it kept the Packers defense on its heels all night.
The Giants utilized their three safety look tonight and it confused the Packers at the line of scrimmage for the entirety of the game. The Giants defense is incredibly versatile when they can put three safeties on the field. The blitz packages are more exotic, the coverages are harder to read and it can force quarterbacks into making bad decisions with the football. The Packers only managed 317 yards of total offense, which is almost 30 yards less than their average.
Not only did the Giants secondary force Rodgers to hold onto the football for prolonged periods of time, but Corey Webster came up with a game changing interception in the first quarter. The three safety look was something the Giants have not put on film this season, and the Packers were not ready to attack it.
Manning threw for 249 yards and three touchdowns tonight. He completed just 53 percent of his passes. However, he did not turn the ball over either. Manning orchestrated five touchdown drives and put the "tired arm" rumors to rest. He threw bullets to his wide receivers all night.
Manning also established himself as the most prolific passer in Giants history, as he surpassed Phil Simms on the list of most touchdown passes thrown in a Giants uniform, with 200.
The Giants defense is built on the pass rush, and the front four played one of their best games of the season tonight. The Giants came up with five sacks, one of which was a sack/fumble that was recovered by Big Blue at the Green Bay 23-yard line.
Osi Umenyiora was a force all night, as he put pressure on Rodgers all night. Mathias Kiwanuka had two-sacks, Chris Canty and Chase Blackburn each had one. The Giants pass rush kept the Packers offense off-balance for the majority of the game and never allowed Rodgers an opportunity to get into rhythm with his receivers.
Webster was solid in coverage for most of the night. However, he was solely responsible for allowing Jordy Nelson to score a 61 yard touchdown on Green Bay's opening drive. Webster later redeemed himself with an interception in Packers territory. However, this is not the first time he's been beaten deep down the field this season and he must improve in that regard if he wants to earn his $7 million salary next season
Randle got open to score his first touchdown of his young NFL career. He ran a seam route down the middle of the field to score from 16 yards out and give the Giants a 14-7 lead. Furthermore, he showed incredible effort on a 10-yard reception immediately after a Green Bay turnover. Randle appeared to be stopped well before the first down marker, but regained control of his feet and ran five or six yards after first contact. The fans appreciated his effort and erupted in applause.
However, Randle muffed two punts tonight. The Giants recovered both, so no harm was done. But the only way the Packers could have crawled back into this game would have been with excessive, unnecessary turnovers. Randle almost put the Giants defense in some bad spots tonight and he's lucky his teammates picked up him.
I've got nothing for this one. It's hard to call anything "ugly" when a team wins by four touchdowns. Great game all around by the Giants tonight.
Update: Andre Brown has been sidelined for the season with a broken leg. More to come on this in the morning.
The Giants played their most complete football game of the season tonight. Big Blue now has a two-game lead over the Dallas Cowboys for the NFC East divisional crown. The Giants will head into Washington next weekend to take on a red-hot Robert Griffin III and the Redskins. If Big Blue come to play next weekend like they did tonight, they will easily walk out with a victory. However, while we saw this team's potential tonight, they have not proven their consistency yet.
The Giants have an opportunity to all-but wrap-up the division next weekend if they can beat the Redskins, and the Cowboys drop one to the Eagles . It will be incredibly interesting to see how it all plays out.
Also…Aaron Rodgers, Ahmad Bradshaw, Andre Brown, Chase Blackburn, Dallas Cowboys, Eli Manning, Football, Mathias Kiwanuka, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Osi Umenyiora, Phil Simms, Robert Griffin III, Rueben Randle