Packers blast Giants’ fading playoff hopes

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Greg Jennings caught seven passes for 142 yards for Green Bay, while Jordy Nelson had four catches for 124 yards and a touchdown.

Rodgers was sacked twice, but wasn’t under much pressure otherwise as his offensive line delivered one of its best pass protection efforts of the year.

“Those guys were ready to play,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “They were sick and tired of hearing about how tough the Giants were all week.”

Rodgers was anything but tentative after sustaining two concussions this season, but he definitely had safety on his mind when he took off running. Rodgers made a baseball umpire’s “safe” sign with his arms after sliding instead of taking a big hit after an early scramble — a salute, he said, to a team doctor who is reminding him to be more careful when he runs.

“I got a lot of texts in the last two weeks from friends and family,” Rodgers said. “‘Slide’ was the main subject.”

Manning threw for 301 yards with two touchdowns and the four interceptions.

“If you have interceptions, it’s my fault and we had four today,” Manning said. “There’s not one that wasn’t my fault, so I’ve got to be smarter with the ball and toward the end of the game, you’re in desperate mode, you try to force some things and it didn’t go our way.”

Already trailing 21-14, the Giants began the second half with yet another major mistake. On a third-down play in Packers territory, Charles Woodson stripped the ball from Ahmad Bradshaw and the Packers recovered at the 50. The Packers drove but had to settle for a field goal, taking a 24-14 lead.

The Giants answered with a drive for a field goal, but Rodgers was at his absolute best on the Packers‘ next possession. Taking over at the Green Bay 30, Rodgers threw for big gains on back-to-back plays — Donald Driver for 33 yards and Jennings for 36 — then threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Donald Lee two plays later to give the Packers a 31-17 lead with 4:44 left in the third quarter.

Hakeem Nicks appeared to fumble on the ensuing kickoff, but Coughlin challenged the play and New York kept the ball. Brandon Jacobs then broke free for a long run — but Packers outside linebacker Clay Matthews punched the ball, it popped into the air and the Packers recovered.

This time, Coughlin’s replay review was unsuccessful and Green Bay kept the ball.

“We came out and we played like we didn’t have anything to play for,” Giants defensive end Justin Tuck said.

Notes: It was a rematch of the Giants' overtime victory in the NFC title game in below-zero conditions at Lambeau nearly three years ago. Sunday’s conditions weren’t nearly as challenging, with 25-degree temperatures and little wind at kickoff. … The Packers have won 10 of their last 11 home games. … The Giants‘ Mario Manningham caught four passes for 132 yards and a touchdown. … Rodgers has passed for 12,165 yards and joins Kurt Warner (12,612) and Peyton Manning (12,287) as the only quarterbacks in NFL history to pass for at least 12,000 yards in the first three seasons as a starter.

 

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