Senior writer jclombardi grades Packers win over Giants.
GAME BALLS: NT Raji; LB Bishop; WR Nelson; FB Kuhn; QB Rodgers.
INJURY REPORT: S Bigby (groin).
Report Card Grades–Good, Bad, & Ugly (JC vs. SE):
PASSING OFFENSE: A vs A. Rodgers threw for 404 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 139.9 passer rating, returning from a concussion to lead the Pack past the Giants 45-17. Rodgers completed passes to nine different targets and challenged the Giants downfield. With good protection and scrambling against a strong pass rush, Rodgers connected seven passes for longer than 20 yards. Though the Giants sacked Rodgers twice, they generally didn’t get much pressure. When they did, Rodgers escaped the pocket and either completed a pass or ran for a first down. WR Jennings had 7 catches for 142 yards. WR Nelson had 4 catches for 124 yards and 1 touchdown.
RUSHING OFFENSE: C+ VS C+. The Packers rushed for 118 yards averaging a poor 2.8 yards. Yet, they kept the Giants defense honest running often enough and well enough to open up play- action pass plays with these running plays and tough yards. The Giants have a swarming defense. And what the Packers essentially did was use their strength against them. They got the Giants defenders running to the ball and then threw over the top of them. It also slowed down the Giants defensive ends on the pass rush. And the Packers accomplished that by the number of times they ran. The ball-carrying committee of RBs Jackson and Nance and FB Kuhn combined for 93 yards in 33 carries. Although FB Kuhn had only 29 total yards, Kuhn scored three touchdowns on an 8-yard run, a 5-yard pass from Rodgers and a 1-yard plunge.
PASSING DEFENSE: B- vs C. The defense gave up two big touchdown pass plays on two freak plays. Manning (17-for-33, 301 yards) did have his good moments and capitalized on one-on-one coverage breakdowns by cornerback Charles Woodson and Williams for touchdown throws of 36 and 85 yards to Nicks and Manningham, respectively. The Nicks touchdown was the plays in culmination of three consecutive which Woodson slipped, committed an illegal-contact penalty and slipped again. Yet, the defense got 6 big takeaways including 2 fumbles. With a decent pass rush against QB Manning, the Packers got good pressure forcing 4 crucial interceptions. Manning completed only 17 of 33 passes for 301 yards, 2 TDs, 4 INTs, and 63.6 passer rating. The Packers scored 24 points from turnovers. After CB Williams’ interception set up the Packers’ second touchdown, fumbles forced by CB Woodson and LB Matthews and interceptions by CB Shields, S Collins and LB Hawk turned the game into a rout.
RUSHING DEFENSE: A- vs A-. The Packers held the Giants to 21 carries for only 90 yards. The two momentum changing takeaway fumbles were caused by CB Woodson and by OLB Matthews.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B- vs B-. The Giants averaged only 18.6-yard on kickoffs and only 4.3 on punts. Punter Masthay did okay with five punts averaging 39 yards including a 54 yard one. The return combination of Shields on kickoffs (15.0 average) and Williams on punts (3.5 average) looked very average.
COACHING: A vs A. For the game, the Packers were 5 for 6 in the red zone. The Packers had season highs in total yards (515), points (45), and defensive takeaways (six). A second straight week of well-balanced play-calling between the pass and run enabled Rodgers to thrive with play-action and by going deep as the Packers piled up a season-high 515 yards and held the football for more than 37 minutes. The combination of never trailing and controlling the line of scrimmage when the Giants did run allowed defensive coordinator Capers to have his ball-hawking charges zero in on Manning and generate a season-high six takeaways.
OVERALL: A vs CBS Sportsline A-. Rodgers threw for 404 yards and 4 TDs in his return. The offensive line held up against the Giants’ active front four and the WRs were too much for the Giants cornerbacks. Eli Manning was forced into four INTs and the Giants turned the ball over six times. The Giants were held to 90 yards rushing on 21 carries.