Aaron Rodgers could have told you how many stars were in the sky last night, given how often he was on his back. During the demolition of the Green Bay offensive line, the Giants sacked Rodgers 5 times and hurried and hit him countless more times. The Giants offense then picked apart the Packers’ defense, all of which resulted in a 38-10 romp by the home team. The Packers offense started off well, and Rodgers ended up with decent numbers, but he threw an interception in the Packers own territory and usually did not have enough time to find his receivers. Even on plays where he was not pressured, he felt rushed and often threw before he had to, into coverage or simply throwing the ball away. In the same way, the defense seemed futile and overmatched on a chilly Sunday night.
The Giants started off the game in startling fashion, as Eli Manning hit Ahmad Bradshaw on a screen for a 59 yard gain down to the two yard line. The drive was capped off by an Andre Brown touchdown, and the Giants took an early lead. The game was off to the races, then, when Rodgers hit Jordy Nelson on a 61 bomb as Nelson fooled Corey Webster on a double move. The Packers stumbled from there, as their offensive line fell victim to Jason Pierre-Paul, Osi Umenyiora, and Justin Tuck, who disrupted the passing game and wreaked havoc all night. Manning then hit Rueben Randle for a 16 yard touchdown and it was all Giants from there. Mason Crosby continued his kicking woes, going 1/2 on the night and missing a chance to give the Packers some momentum when they most needed it. After a touchdown to Victor Cruz made it 24-7, Crosby hit a field goal to cut the lead to 24-10. The Packers could not continue their momentum, however, because Osi Umenyiora stripped Rodgers and Pierre-Paul recovered the fumble, leading to an Ahmad Bradshaw touchdown which effectively ended the game. Manning capped off the scoring by hitting Hakeem Nicks late in the fourth quarter, and the Packers were sent on their way back to Green Bay.
The biggest story for the Packers on the night was the play of their offensive line, and how often Rodgers was put under pressure by the Giants’ defensive line. The offensive line was often only faced with a 4 man rush, and still allowed the defense to swarm Rodgers all night. On the plays he wasn’t sacked, he was put under pressure and had to hurry his throws. The Packers need to get their offensive line fixed this week before they host Jared Allen and the Vikings, or Rodgers could be in for another long day. Even when he is most proficient, Rodgers can not handle constantly being moved off of his spots and having to force or rush his throws. Up next for the Packers is the visiting Vikings, as Green Bay looks to get back on track towards the playoffs.