Photo Credit: Benny Sieu/USA Today Sports
The Giants came out and quickly moved the ball upfield as Manning spread the ball around to three different receivers. If not for a bad dropped pass on third down from the Packers thirty five yard line by Odell Beckham Jr. the drive would have continued. The Giants would move the ball again on their second drive but costly drops in the end zone by Sterling Shepard and Odell Beckham Jr. limited them to a field goal. The Giants defense was able to shut down Aaron Rodgers and his offense for most of the first half. On Green Bay’s second to last drive of the half, Rodgers finally put together a scoring drive. The three play, 38 yard drive was highlighted by a thirty one yard pass to Davante Adams, who then caught the touchdown pass two plays later. The touchdown drive gave the Packers a 7-6 lead and the Packers weren’t finished. The Packers got the ball back once more with just one minute and thirty eight seconds remaining in the half and proceeded to quickly move the ball into Giants territory. On fourth down and two from the Giants forty two yard line Aaron Rodgers threw a hail mary pass and wide receiver Randall Cobb came down with the ball as time expired. The Giants defense played superbly for the entire half but somehow couldn’t find a way to bat down the pass. Therefore so instead of keeping it 7-6 they faced a 14-6 deficit heading into the locker room.
In the third quarter the Packers and the Giants both scored touchdowns on successive drives leaving the Giants still behind at 21-13. The Giants defense that had been so good in the first half was suddenly allowing Rodgers to move the ball down field with a bit more ease. After the Packers tacked on a field goal as the third quarter wound down the Giants trailed 24-13. The squandered opportunities in the first half suddenly loomed large as the Giants had just one quarter to put together a comeback. The Giants who relied on their defense all year long to keep them in games, with just fifteen minutes remaining in their season neede the Giants offense to step up in a big way. The Giants first possession of the fourth quarter didn’t amount to anything as they quickly turned the ball over on downs. On third and long Manning found an open Beckham who dropped another pass. A reception would have given the Giants a first down and allowed them to continue the drive. Beckham’s play throughout the game was beyond underwhelming. Instead of being the playmaker that he has been all year long for the team he suddenly became a less than pedestrian performer.
The Giants defense could not hold down Rodgers who got off to a very slow start but by the end of the first half had gained the momentum he needed for the remainder of the contest. The Giants defense was just not able to contain Rodgers and the Packers offense in the second half as Green Bay rolled to a 38-13 victory. The Giants return to the playoffs was not one that they will want to remember. The Giants offense has not reached the twenty point mark since their win over the Cleveland Browns at the end of November. The offense was supposed to amount to so much more this season and they never reached their supposed potential. Whatever the reasons may be, the Giants will need to address a number of issues to improve on the offensive side of the ball next season. For now the team will have to take solace in simply making it back to the post season and find a way to build on it as they go forward.
Dan Evans is a Contributing Writer for PureSportsNY You can find him on Twitter @DanEvansPSNY