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The Packers lost three fumbles and the normally sure-handed receivers may as well have had rubber on the tips of their fingers for as many balls as they dropped. Jermichael Finley dropped one. James Starks dropped another. John Kuhn watched one bounce off his fingers. Despite having their regular starting offensive line in place for the one of the few times this season, Rodgers was sacked four times.

“We hurt ourselves,” receiver Jordy Nelson said. “Give New York credit for making those plays, but it wasn’t up to our standards.”

Even Rodgers had an off day. He overthrew an open Jennings in the end zone on the very first drive, and lost his first fumble in a year when he was sacked in the third quarter by Osi Umenyiora. With the Giants secondary smothering the receivers as few defenses have this year, Rodgers was often forced to scramble or dump off for short gains.

Rodgers finished with a team-high 66 yards on seven rushes, but was 26 of 46 passing. His quarterback rating of 78.5 was well off his 122.5 for the regular-season, an NFL record.

“I felt we had pretty good rhythm. We moved the ball pretty effectively,” Rodgers said. “We just had some drops and then had some uncharacteristic turnovers.”

The Packers did put together a nice drive in the third quarter, as Rodgers connected with Donald Driver for a 13-yard catch and Starks on a 12-yard reception as Green Bay marched to the Giants 17. But he failed to connect with Jennings in the end zone again, and the Packers had to settle for a field goal when they really needed a touchdown.

Green Bay had one more scoring drive, capped by Driver’s 16-yard catch with less than five minutes left. All that did was change the final score, however, not the outcome, and soon the Packers were trudging off the field as the Giants celebrated around them.

“We play to win championships. You win a championship and you’re kind of at the top of the mountain, and you forget kind of how bad this feeling is,” Rodgers said. “We had a championship-caliber regular season and didn’t play well today.”

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Follow Nancy Armour at http://www.twitter.com/nrarmour