The game everyone was looking forward to in the Wild Card Round of the 2016-17 postseason did not disappoint. Both teams got off to slow starts in the first half, but in the second half it was a back and forth affair until Aaron Rodgers began to take over the game. The Giants simply had no answer for #12, as his 4 TDs would help lead the Packers to a 38-13 victory. Here’s what went down.
The Giants opened up the game with the ball and after starting with a promising drive, thanks to a couple drops from Odell Beckham Jr., the G’Men had to punt. Luckily the Giants defense came to play, as they forced a quick three-and-out which resulted in a short field for the New York offense and a field goal to give them a 3-0 lead.
The Packers tried to respond as they made their way into New York territory, but heavy pressure on Aaron Rodgers pushed the Pack out of field goal territory and forced another punt. Both teams would exchange three and outs, as Green Bay’s offensive line had no answer for the Giants. Early in the second quarter, New York’s defense already had three sacks on #12.
It would be more of the same early in the second quarter, as the two teams exchanged quick four-play drives before punting. Things finally picked up, as Eli Manning found Will Tye for a 51-yard strike to put the Giants in Green Bay territory. That’s just where their drive would stall, as New York would settle for another Robbie Gould field goal to give his team a 6-0 lead.
Green Bay would try to respond as they quickly got into New York territory, but yet again the drive would stall and result in another punt. The Giants would start on their own 8 but would go nowhere, as a terrible punt from Brad Wing would give the Packers excellent field position on the Giants 38. Rodgers would take advantage of it, as he found Davante Adams for a 31-yard gain and eventually for a 5-yard TD pass (see below).
Too much sauce 🔥 pic.twitter.com/raqRocYX5x— The Sports Quotient (@SportsQuotient) January 8, 2017
A Giants three-and-out would be the worst case scenario, as the Packers would get the ball back with plenty of time remaining to get in field goal range. Green Bay would make their way to the Giants 42 and would face a 4th and 2 with 6 seconds left until the half. It was time for a Rodgers hail mary special, and that’s what fans in Lambeau got as he would hit Randall Cobb for a 42-yard TD pass. At the half, the Packers would take a 14-6 lead. Unfortunately for them, they would lose Jordy Nelson due to a rib injury for the rest of the game.
Unacceptable… pic.twitter.com/xlv6rh6qMz— The Sports Quotient (@SportsQuotient) January 8, 2017
Green Bay would start with the ball in the second half, but quickly be forced into a three-and-out (story of this game for both teams). The Giants would get a little drive going, but stall once again. Green Bay, likewise, got a drive going but on a gutsy decision to go for it on 4th and inches from their own 42, they would not convert.
Eli would finally get his offense going, as he’d quickly convert on points off the downs as he’d hit a wide open Tavarres King in stride for a 41-yard TD pass, to cut the Packers lead to 1. Rodgers was feeling no pressure, as he’d march his team down in 4 plays and nail Randall Cobb for a 30-yard TD pass and run to push the lead back up to 8.
A muffed return from Bobby Rainey would put the Giants on their own three-yard line. It wouldn’t be for long as the Giants would punt the ball after three plays once again, putting Green Bay in great position on the Giants 37. The Pack would eventually settle for a 32-yard field goal to push their lead to 24-13 near the end of the third quarter.
The Giants still couldn’t get anything going, as they’d punt the ball again immediately. Green Bay’s offensive success would continue as they’d drive 80 yards in 5 minutes, ending with yet another Rodgers-to-Cobb TD for the QB’s fourth on the day (Cobb’s third). The Packers lead was now at 18, and it would only get worse as Clay Matthews would force a fumble to give the ball right back to Green Bay.
They’d put the icing on the cake in their final drive, as FB Aaron Ripkowski would rush it in from a yard out to give Green Bay a 38-13 lead. The Packers would go on to win by 25.
Rodgers would finish the day with 362 yards and 4 TDs. Adams and Cobb each had big days with 125 yards and 1 TD and 116 yards and 3 TDs respectively. In a losing effort, Manning finished with 299 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT.
The Packers will face the Cowboys next Sunday at 4:40 PM ET on Fox.