GREEN BAY - The Green Bay Packers' 23-16 victory over the New York Giants was far from a thing of beauty.
The way the offense came out, it looked like the team's performance might be as clean as the crisp autumn air that swept through Lambeau Field Sunday. Ten plays, 75 yards and it all took 8 minutes and 42 seconds, leaving the Giants with more than half the first quarter gone before it had touched the ball.
But that drive was not the template for the rest of the game. Aside from an 80-yard touchdown drive in the second quarter, the Packers settled for three field goals, two of them kicked from inside the red zone, turned the ball over twice on interceptions, and punted four times, all of them on three-and-outs.
"It's tough to win in this league," said quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who posted a 65.0 passer rating. "I'm happy about it. I'm happy with the way that Eddie (Lacy) ran before the (ankle) injury. We had a good night running the football. Against two premier pass rushers who are getting paid a lot of money, we did a good job.
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"We've just got to do a better job in the red zone. Third down has been a focal point for us (and) we did a good job tonight on third down again, but red zone, if we score touchdowns there... We had some opportunities - myself and the guys catching the ball had some opportunities. We've got to cash those in so we can close a game out like that."
The offense managed 406 yards, including 147 on the ground, but Rodgers' performance was spotty. He completed 23 of 45 passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions. It was the fifth time in his past 32 games he had thrown two interceptions in a game and his passer rating was his fifth in the 60s in his past 16 games.
It's a remarkable statistic when you consider it took him until his 46th game as a starter before he reached his fifth career game with a passer rating in the 60s.
"I've got to play a lot better, but we've got to execute in the passing game as well as we're doing upfront and in the run game," Rodgers said. "We feel good about the yardage and the third-down percentage, but we'd like to score a few more points there to help our defense out when they're playing so well."
As Rodgers said, the pass protection was outstanding all night.
Tackles David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga held the pass-rushing duo of Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon to no sacks and one quarterback knockdown. Overall, Rodgers was not sacked and knocked down just three times.
"I don’t think anybody is coming out of this game thinking that we played our best football," guard T.J. Lang said. "It was a tough game, tough defense, a lot of ups and downs. We had a couple of drives in the first half where we had some self-inflicted errors. A couple of drops, a couple holding penalties.
"Obviously the turnovers and the penalties, we shot ourselves in the foot a little bit. But, hey, we got the win and we’re excited about that. And there’s only one way to go for us as an offense and that’s just to continue to get better."
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BOX SCORE: Packers 23, Giants 16
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