Packers and Giants: The Monster Match
Packers (11-0) vs Giants (6-5)
Date: December 4th
At: New York
Outcome: 38-35 Packers
First of all, I just have to extend a big thank you to both teams. It’s like they were playing with the express intention of doing as many weird things as possible so I’d have plenty of illustration-worthy moments to choose from. There must be half a dozen plays in my notebook that are tagged with both question marks AND exclamation points.
Right from the start, you could see the Packers’ performance was off in both defense and offense. The Giants opening drive earned them a touchdown, which was disheartening but not surprising considering Hawk and Bishop, two huge defensive weapons, were inactive this game, and apparently the communications helmet worn by substitute Smith on the field was malfunctioning (though that could be just an excuse for what was once the best defense in the league giving up a touchdown in the first minute–I’ll let you be the judge on that one).
With the loss of major firepower, it was a good day for Clay Matthews to finally show up, sacking Manning in such a way that it looked enough like an incomplete pass to fool everyone on the field except the referees. He also decided to abandon his rushing duties long enough to make an interception that resulted in a touchdown. I had been disappointed to miss his storied interception against Detroit in the Thanksgiving game, but this more than makes up for it.
On the offense, Rodgers was lacking his usual confidence and precision. It was frustrating to see him bob around behind the line of scrimmage, head swiveling left and right, trying to find somewhere to through the damn ball. However, it’s hard to blame him for being skittish considering the Giants were all over Nelson and Finley had barely a 50% record of catching the ball throughout the entire game. Even Jennings was having trouble holding on to the ball. How Nelson and Finley managed to receive touchdown passes is still a miracle to me. I mean, Nelson catches the ball whenever he is open because he’s awesome, but Finley…ugh. Unless someone swapped out his gloves for Teflon pans and we just haven’t noticed yet, there is no excuses for dropping that many passes (it was 4 for the game, I believe). Someone needs to give him a stern talking to.
Oh well. Time for something positive! Big kudos go to Driver, who made 2 beautiful (if a bit unorthodox) touchdown catches.I would also like to happily exclaim that the Packers did manage to FINALLY pull it together for the last minute of the game. With the score tied up, Rodgers managed to make 3 absolutely amazing passes to Finley, Nelson, and Jennings, driving the ball all the way down the field where, after missing an easy shot earlier in the day, Mason Crosby managed to get us the 3 points we needed to win the game at literally the last second.
Hmm…come to think of it, this may be the first game this season that didn’t end on a knee. I have to say, it was more exciting when the teams actually play through the last two minutes of the game.
This was a very intense game for both teams. In addition to starting out with Bishop and Hawk on the bench, this game saw both Woodson and Starks taken out before the end, and Quarless’s kneecap appeared to go flying when his leg was landed on by a Giant defenseman (btw it now sounds like at least he will be out for the rest of the season).
I hope at least a few of our men are back next week to face the Raiders, but only if they’re fit to play. Otherwise, let them rest up–it’s still a long way to the Super Bowl.