Quick takes: Packers sink Giants in rout
GREEN BAY - The range of emotions inside Lambeau Field on Sunday was vast.
In the first quarter, as the visiting New York Giants handcuffed the Green Bay Packers’ offense in every way imaginable, the frustration was audible.
In the fourth quarter, as outside linebacker Clay Matthews sacked quarterback Eli Manning and forced a fumble and recovered said fumble, the relaxed enjoyment of a blowout victory echoed through the stadium.
Manning’s fumble put the finishing verses on a game that, in some ways, ended late in the second quarter. An abysmal 26 minutes was erased by two touchdowns in the final four minutes of the half, and from there the Packers never relented.
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INSIDER: Thumbs up to Davante Adams
They coasted to a 38-13 win and a date with the Dallas Cowboys next Sunday.
In many ways, the seventh straight win wasn’t much different than those preceding it. Aaron Rodgers finished 25-of-40 for 362 yards and four touchdowns and could not be stopped by any defense or any pressure during the final three quarters.
Across the way, defensive coordinator Dom Capers pieced his secondary together and frustrated Odell Beckham Jr. for the second time this year. The Giants’ offense had been their downfall, and ultimately it forced their elimination.
Player of the Game: Randall Cobb. After missing the last two games with an ankle injury, Cobb was tremendous in his return to the field. He caught five passes for 116 yards and three touchdowns to keep the passing game afloat after fellow receiver Jordy Nelson left with a rib injury during the first half and was later ruled out. Cobb looked explosive and fresh as he found holes in the middle of the Giants’ zone coverages.
Turning point: Giants’ punter Brad Wing had a miserable day despite the lack of wind. Some of his kicks were too low, others were too short and some were just plain ugly. When he shanked a 37-yarder late in the first half, the Packers took over at the New York 38-yard line. Rodgers connected with Davante Adams for a 31-yard gain and, two plays later, found him again for a second-reaction touchdown after a scramble. Despite their poor play, the Packers took the lead, 7-6. They scored another touchdown less than three minutes later to create a significant gap against an offensively challenged team.
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Big number: 42 — Yards from Rodgers to Cobb on a Hail Mary touchdown at the end of the first half. Rodgers backpedaled, moved to his right and heaved deep into the end zone where Cobb, the shortest receiver on the field, made the catch behind a huge swarm of bodies. No one else got a hand on the football, and the Packers took the lead with no time on the clock.
What went right: It took nearly 27 minutes, but the Packers’ offense chugged to life exactly as it did during the previous six wins. With spread formations and empty backfields, Rodgers picked the Giants apart. Whether it was Cobb over the middle or Adams on the outside, the Giants did not have an answer, even with Nelson in the locker room due to a rib injury. On the other side of the ball, the defense once again bracketed Beckham to more or less stifle Manning’s favorite target. Beckham managed only 56 yards the first time these teams played, and Sunday was even worse: four catches for 28 yards.
What went wrong: At first, just about everything went wrong for the Packers. Poised and crisp for what seems like the last two months, Rodgers was shaky right from the beginning. He missed open receivers, he was sacked when he held the ball and the Giants’ defense considered among the best in the league really did cause problems — for 25 of the first 30 minutes. There was also a very questionable decision by coach Mike McCarthy, who went for it on fourth-and-1 from his own 43-yard line. Ty Montgomery was stuffed, and the Giants scored a touchdown moments later.
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