Whatever else will be said about this afternoon’s game, it certainly wasn’t one that did any favors for anyone’s blood pressure.
The Giants came into Lambeau Field and came away with a 37-20 win to earn a trip to the NFC Championship game in San Francisco. They’re now the fourth seeded team to defeat a number one seeded team on the road since the current playoff format was instilled, and they knocked off the 15-1 defending Super Bowl champions to do so. It’s amazing to think that just a few weeks ago, the Giants were on the verge of collapsing and missing the playoffs altogether. Now they’re be playing next week for a chance to go to the Super Bowl. It’s amazing what getting hot at the right time can do for a team.
Thoughts from the game:
-Obviously fumbles were the name of the game. The Packers fumbled four times and the Giants recovered two of them, and that combined with all of the drops by Green Bay’s receivers really helped out the Giants defense. The Osi Umenyiora forced fumble was especially big. Greg Jennings was wide open and would have easily score a touchdown if Umenyiora hadn’t knocked the ball out of Aaron Rodgers’s hands.
-I try to avoid complaining about the refs in games if I can. But there is nothing that anyone can do or say that can justify the referees ruling that the play Tom Coughlin challenged was not a fumble. Neither the Jennings’s knee nor elbow were even close to being down when the ball was coming out. It was even ruled a fumble on the field initially, until one ref overturned another. How Coughlin lost that challenge and the Giants didn’t get the ball is absolutely beyond me. To say it was a horrible call doesn’t even begin to scrape the surface.
The “roughing the passer” call on Umenyiora in the fourth quarter was pretty bad too.
-I couldn’t have been the only one who flashed back to Super Bowl 42 during New York’s opening drive. It was very similar to the one the Giants had to start the game in Phoenix; Giants received the opening kickoff, converted on a few key third downs, ran a lot of time off the clock and came away with a field goal.
-Give the offensive line credit. They played well for most of the game and gave Eli Manning enough time to locate his receivers and throw the ball. There were a few exceptions of course (like on the Manning’s interception) but overall, they were up to the challenge. At the very least, they certainly didn’t look soft.
-It has to be said- there are no words to describe the Hail Mary catch made by Hakeem Nicks. I still can’t believe that he came down with that ball. It was a huge play, giving the Giants a 20-10 at halftime and a boost for the team as well.
-The Giants secondary has not gotten enough credit in this victory. It was a complete defensive effort, but the Packers had very little to work with downfield most of the game. They chipped away at yardage but had few- if any- really big passing plays. It was frustrating to watch at times, but it paid off in the end.
-I’m still concerned by the Giants lacking a strong running game, and their poor performance on third down defense reared its ugly head again. Just some stuff that needs working on.
The Giants offense, on the other hand, was spectacular on third downs, especially third and long. That is a recipe for success.
-Once again, an all-around team effort leads to a victory for the Giants and they took care of things in Green Bay. Now they travel to San Francisco to take on the 49ers, another team they have unfinished business with from the regular season. It’s going to be a 1990′s flashback for some of the older Giants fans.