Game Balls and Lame Calls: Packers Rout Giants 45-17

ALLGBP.com All Green Bay Packers All the Time

I’m sure glad Packers general manager Ted Thompson listened to some fans last week and fired coach Mike McCarthy after that loss to the Patriots.

Ahem.

Moving on, the Green Bay Packers walloped the New York Giants 45-17 Sunday to keep their playoff hopes very much alive. A win next week at home over the NFC North champion Chicago Bears and the Packers are in the playoffs for the second consecutive season.

There were a lot of highs and even a few lows in this game for Green Bay so let’s get to it.

Game Balls

QB Aaron Rodgers

Did that new helmet Rodgers was wearing come from the Bill Belichick line? Did he have the defensive signals of the Giants literally in his head?

All kidding aside, what a comeback for Rodgers. Any potential for rust was quickly done away on an 80 yard touchdown pass to Jordy Nelson and Rodgers rolled from there. Finishing the day with a career regular season high 404 yards and a career high tying 4 TD passes, Rodgers showed there were no lingering cobwebs from his two concussions this season.

Even more impressive was his ability to evade the Giants’ all-star pass rush. Even with rookie tackle Bryan Bulaga getting beat by Pro Bowler Justin Tuck on just about every pass play, Rodgers was able to make enough plays with his feet and his arm to make this game a blowout.

Coach Mike McCarthy

Over 500 yards of total offense. Four passing touchdowns. Two rushing touchdowns. A balanced (GASP) game plan.

If anyone this week is looking for a reason to fire McCarthy, you need a head exam.

Continuing with the balanced attack discovered last week against the Patriots, McCarthy dialed up a near flawless game plan and in a pleasant surprise twisted the dagger a bit after it had already been stabbed into the heart of the Giants.

It’s a killer instinct the Packers haven’t shown much of and I for one hope to see it continue.

FB John Kuuuuuuuuhn

It took long enough but the Green Bay Packers finally have discovered their own Mike Alstott.

Running through defenders instead of around them, Kuhn had two rushing touchdowns and one passing touchdown. He showed enough that it seems like McCarthy finally feels comfortable enough to give him the ball outside goal line situations and Kuhn has been very productive in the screen game as well.

Kuhn’s effort to extend some runs played a key role too. His ability to keep his legs moving and pushing his powerful frame forward helped the Packers get a couple of key first downs early on when the game was still close.

It could be argued Kuhn’s production helped tip the scales heavily in the Packers’ favor.

Lame Calls

WR James Jones

I’m going to steal a phrase here from ESPN’s Cris Carter:

“C’MON MAN!”

Jones dropped quite few passes that he should have easily caught. Even in the cold weather, footballs bouncing out of your hand are unacceptable in the NFL and Jones as of late has developed a big case of the dropsies.

He has to make sure he catches the ball before thinking touchdown. That cost him at least two catches today and if he wants to be a legitimate number three receiver, he has get better in those areas.

Giants coach Tom Coughlin

OK, he isn’t on the Packers but his management of his challenges today is some of the worst I have ever seen and I just had to mention it here.

His challenge of an Ahmad Bradshaw fumble that should have been an obvious non-challenge came back to bite them as Sam Shields’ interception clearly should have been overturned but Coughlin was out of challenges and couldn’t make the officials take a second look.
Packers secondary

Yes, Eli “Fredo” Manning was picked off four times. The Packers forced six turnovers on defense. That is all well and good.

Those positives were almost overruled by a tendency to give up the big play. Yes, Mario Manningham made a great move on Tramon Williams but Williams should not have been that far off the coverage on that touchdown play. The Giants seemed to only gain yards in big chunks.

It almost looked like the Arizona playoff game last year a bit, but thanks to the turnovers the game never got nearly that close. The big plays are definitely something that needs to be worked on as the Bears come to town next week.

In a 28 point victory, there are obviously many more positives than negatives but I’m only able to list a few here. Deserving mentions are Donald Driver’s incredible hands and the sudden emergence of B.J. Raji in the pass rush. The list could go on for quite a while.

So what are your “game balls” and “lame calls” for this game?

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Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for AllGreenBayPackers.com and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and CBSSports.com.

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  • Taryn

    Game Ball to the Whole Team period.

    There will always big the couple of plays that dictate reason for scrutiny,but since this was by far the BEST COMPLETE game from both sides,I don’t want to be nit picky.

    They play this way and nothing stops this team.

    I will savor this taste of victory and hope that MM doesn’t and gets addicted to this taste of victory.

    • Kris Burke

      Couldn’t agree more.

    • Taryn

      Reread my post,geez I was thinking faster than I can type.LOL

    • PackersRS

      Very true.

      Maybe the most complete game under Mike McCarthy. Excluding the pathetic Cowboys game, that is.

    • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

      I also hope MM doesn’t outsmart himself again if they have to play the Bears twice (see Arizona from last year).

      • Kris Burke

        I’m going to predict a Jay Cutler meltdown in playoffs, regardless of whom the Bears face. J Cutty hasn’t been in the postseason before and we all know how fussy he can get when things don’t go his way. Hope Lovie brings some Huggies for Jay Jay on Sunday.

        Disclaimer: As a follower of the Broncos, I despise Cutler as much as I do Favre.

        • PackersRS

          I knew there was something wrong with you, but I just couldn’t wrap my head around it… You’re almost like Max Ginsberg…

  • http://d8e Morli

    Wow wow wow, this secondary played borderline brilliant. How often did you see Eli getting desperate while having all day staring in our backfield?
    In the second half the Gints almost had to pass all the way, and yet the Pack still gave up only 3 points. If #21 doesn’t slip and Tramon finds the ball or gets safety help this secondary might have not given up a TD. Comparing that to the meltdown against the Cards is flat-put wrong.

    • Kris Burke

      Well, it’s not like the giants were just scoring at will like the Cardinals game. But they were still gaining yards in chunks all game and McCarthy even told Pam Oliver at the half the big plays were a problem.

  • JimR_in_DC

    McCarthy has called two pretty good games now. Where was this effectiveness for the first 14 weeks of the season? Just don’t fall in love with his performance quite yet, Kris. We’re fighting for the LAST wildcard slot because of his ineffectiveness up until two weeks ago. And his special teams and O-line suck more often than not.

    I’m pulling for the Packers to clobber duhBears next weekend to get into the playoffs. Go Pack go!!!

    • Kris Burke

      Anything can happen in the playoffs. The Giants in ’07. Steelers in ’05. Both were six seeds and ran the table. It can be done and these Packers play well on the road.

      Hope, my friend.

    • PackersRS

      The Oline played.
      With the running game working to an extent, and the playaction to it’s full potential, MM’s playcalling looked brilliant.

  • ELong

    Great game in almost all aspects. Some thoughts:

    Our O-Line is still getting pushed around but Rodgers elusive feet made that mostly irrelevant..

    Our run game seems to be getting better and I think Nance has definitely earned more carries. Kuhn’s effort was superb.

    ST was OK – Bush still getting penalties, Shields is not the guy. No big returns given up.

    Way too many drops – Jones (Collins too).

    No major coaching blunders – I’m still a little nervous though. MM still has a bit to prove to me.

    All in all, a great game. Clearly, our offensive firepower can get us there and our defense can make plays.

  • Terry McCloskey

    Wow what a game and wish they were all like this one. The saving grace was to get a lead and pour it on so that there are no game management decisions to be made at the end. MM had a great game plan and it worked. But also part of his job is to game manage the end of games……no need this time so great victory. Lets hope that we can get on the Bears early and keep on them because I am afraid that if it comes to game management at the end of the Bear game then watch out for MM and his decisions or lack of decisions.

    Go Pack!

    • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

      we’re on the same wavelength. I’m still concerned about MM’s game/clock management in a tight spot.

      • Kris Burke

        Well, let’s hope he doesn’t have to use those “skills” the rest of the way!

  • Ruppert

    James Jones needs to watch the ball hit his hands on every single pass. Period. It’s something you start teaching little kids in every single sport where catching a ball is required. But you can clearly see on each of his drops yesterday where his head was pointed in some other direction than his fingertips.

    Rodgers, Raji, Jennings get game balls. I almost had a tear in my eye on that one play where Raji just shoved that OL straight back into Manning. That’s a thing of beauty. I’m not listing anything lame after a 45-point beatdown on the big, bad, Giants that had some people unnecessarily fearing for the health of our players…

    • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

      haha. I have to give you that last one.

      James Jones has to GO GET THE BALL. Sometimes, James, that means JUMPING over the defender.

    • Kris Burke

      Jones needs that sticky stuff from the Bud Light commercial. HERE WE GO!

  • Packerwest

    Excellent game by offensive line against a great defensive line.Even Bulaga did not have as bad of a game as people are saying.Looked like they planned on him keeping Tuck to the outside and Rogers stepping up in the pocket. The only downside is Crosby consistantly only getting kickoffs to the 15 yd line and Shields not taking a straight line run up the field on kickoff returns. I think Jordy Nelson should be put back there again.He had some nice returns early on before his fumbles agaainst the Lions.As we could see yesterday he can run faster than the Giants secondary..

    • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

      Agree with you on Nelson, although Shields hasn’t fumbled yet, I believe and Nelson has been a bit careless with the ball at times… Shields doesn’t have that fearless mentality yet. Hopefully he will learn how to pick a hole and just hit it at full speed.

      • Kris Burke

        Shields did come awfully close to muffing some KICKOFFS. C’MON MAN!

        • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

          awfully close doesn’t count. And it’s ok to drop the kick, plenty of time to recover. But fumbling when you are running with the ball is a whole different matter. Shields hasn’t done that yet.

  • KurtMc

    Sign me up for the psy exam. 2 games don’t make McCarthy. I look at the entire body of work this season which has not been all that great. Flashes of greatness, followed by alot of C’mon man’s.

    Point in case. When MM gets down to the 10 or goal to go, the field shrinks & Mike looks lost. BJax up the middle isn’t fooling anyone & is a wate of a down. Spread the field Mike, it works.

    • Kris Burke

      Rodgers is money in the red zone. Utilize that arm and those legs. He isn’t Tim Tebow but he doesn’t have to be.

  • Russ

    Great game. Game balls to Rodgers, Raji, and the run defense. I agree with KurtMc, Bjax is a waste of a down near the goal line.

    • Kris Burke

      Kuhn could really be the Packers version of Alstott.

  • FireMMNow

    MM had a good gameplan against the Giants. I will give him that. Rodgers looked sharp. But we will see what MM does in the playoffs if he makes it. Remember Kris, this team lost to the Lions in a putrid game. I still think MM should be let go after the season. The guy loses close games. Great coaches win those games more than they lose them. MM loses way more than he wins. Maybe I need my head examined. But I would rather look at his performance over 5 years instead of one game against a mentally deflated Giants game that always looks great one week and terrible the next.