12-0 Packers edge Giants on last play, 38-35
Donald Driver, Aaron Rodgers. | Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Next game: Sunday, December 11th vs. Oakland
Packers Gameday at 1:00 p.m. on Newsradio 620 WTMJ, a live blog here and coverage on Live at 10 on TODAY'S TMJ4
6:39 p.m. Packers' 3rd Drive :58
Green Bay 38, NY Giants 35
Crosby 31 yd FG
And the most important drive since Super Bowl XLV. One time out in ARod's pocket.
Deep kickoff to Cobb one yard deep, and he smartly downs the football. Keep time on the clock.
ARod, this is where legends are made. Go do your thing with the best receiving corps in football.
:58 left, GB 20: ARod to Finley down the sidelines for 24 yards. And that knock out of bounds saved time. Thank goodness.
:51 left, GB 44: ARod deep to Nelson! Inside the 30! Amazing! Right before he got smacked. Will Blackmon burned by Nelson.
:44 left, NYG 29: ARod to Saine...phew. He fumbled the ball at the 30, but got it back.
Tick, tock, tick, tock. NYG 31: ARod to Jennings inside the 15!!!! That is a championship drive, folks. That's what makes champions.
:03 left: NYG 12. Crosby does it again.
6:26 p.m. Giants' 3rd Drive 3:34
Green Bay 35, NY Giants 35
Manning-Nicks 3 yd TD pass (2pt play good)
Pooch kick by Crosby and one of the up-men slams past the 30 yard line...but did he signal fiar catch? Yes.
Meanwhile, Quarless might have gotten trampled during the play. Big knee problem. This could be reaaaaaaaaaaaal bad.
Manning has 3:29 to tie the game. He found Ballard wide open, as in only nitrogen and oxygen guarding him, and no one wearing a white jersey.
Manning to Ballard, breaking a tackle by Smith and another first down. Crushing of Morgan Burnett who tried to tackle him. 15 yard gain. Wayne: "Way too easy."
2:32 left: Manning over the middle - Cruz. Bush slipped. 22 yard gain. Bush slipped twice the last four plays.
2:07 left: Bradshaw slams up the middle, bounces outside to the GB 13.
Now, the defense which has been decimated this game, and often against great passing teams, has to make a stop against a quarterback with five fourth-quarter comeback this season.
1:56 left: Manning delivers short to Ware, inside the five. Goal to go and loads of time for the Giants.
1st-goal at GB 3: Manning to Cruz, but he stepped out of bounds. Errant throw. On target, meaning an earlier throw, too, and it's a 2-pt game.
2nd-goal at GB 3: They can run it here if they want.
Nope...throw...rushed by Matthews and a great incompletion as he delivered to Ahmad Bradshaw.
3rd-goal at GB 3: Manning to Nicks. He shielded Sam Shields.
2pter and perfect record on the line: Manning to Ware. Tie game.
6:14 p.m. Packers' 2nd Drive 7:10
Green Bay 35, NY Giants 27
Rodgers-Driver 7 yd TD pass
Boys, a nice four-minute offense with a touchdown would help. Big time.
Rodgers to Driver. 50 yard line. Seven yards. Clock runs. Beautiful. Run that clock down.
Grant around right end. Broken tackle and a first down. Clock runs. Beautiful.
Saine around right end. NYG 38 yard line. Wayne: "not bad."
ARod to Crabtree. First down. Short hook pattern. Still in bounds. Clock runs. Beautiful.
ARod to Nelson. Back shoulder throw, FANTASTIC CATCH! 10 yard line. Out of bounds, but nine yards from an eight-point lead.
Leaped where he could have dunked on an 11-foot hoop. Did a 360 to make the catch.
1st-goal at NYG 10: Saine for two yards.
If you produce a touchdown, do you dare go for two and create a two-score lead? Hmmm....
2nd-goal at NYG 8: ARod with loads of time...YES! Driver diving in the end zone. Eight point game.
Though they will review it. And yes, Driver baaaaaaaaaaarely kept his feet in bounds. Including a point during the pass pattern where he might have been pushed out of bounds.
Driver kept the left edge of his cleats in-bounds during a point of the pass pattern. Had his whole foot stepped down, it would have touched the out of bounds line.
6:11 p.m. Giants' 2nd Drive 8:13
Now, New York wants a nice 87-yard, seven-minute clock-eating drive to get the lead.
Manning play action, but Sam Shields didn't bite. Manning wanted Nicks deep, and Shields with a beautiful deflection.
As expected, Bradshaw ran. Just a two-yard gain. Packers knew it was coming.
3rd-8 at NYG 16: blitz time and Ware had a pass off his hands. Three guys blitzing on the right side. Great series by the Packers' defense.
5:57 p.m. Packers' 1st Drive 10:53
That field goal was big because now a Packers touchdown still means a one-score game.
Charles Woodson in the locker room. Blow to the head. Ugh.
Droppage. Finley shouldn't have let the ball go through his grasp there. He was wiiiiide open.
ARod this time gets Nelson with a sliding catch for a first down. Another Rodgers scramble led to Nelson getting open.
Greg Jennings with a drop? Two drops by all-pro's in one drive? Ugh.
3rd-10 at GB 36: Rodgers blitzed...and sacked. But yellow hankies wayyyyyyyyyyy downfield. Uh, Giants, don't let your defense off the field yet. Defensive holding, saving Green Bay's rear end.
Wayne: "You talk about a drive changer, let alone a game changer."
Play action: ARod with an eternity and a FANTASTIC diving grab by Jennings. First down catch and a bit of redemption.
Jason Pierre-Paul cramped up...off the field now...but he'll be back. Let him not be a terminator.
ARod hit and sacked by Tollefson. What's worse: just a three-man rush. But Tollefson had a belt celebration. Not smart.
3rd-12 at NYG 46: ARod against a three-man rush, and they get to Rodgers. He accidentally let the ball drop to the ground with his throwing motion.
Finley was tripped by Williams, and could have had a flag thrown. No dice.
Masthay pins the Giants at the 13 yard line.
5:49 p.m. Giants' 1st Drive continued from first quarter
Green Bay 28, NY Giants 27
Tynes 50 yd FG
And the Giants are running the ball and pounding to the Packers' 2nd level consistently. This is Giants football. Rest the defense, get a long drive and get New York the lead.
Jacobs left. Jacobs right.
3rd-7 at NYG 49: Manning with loads of time and he gets Ballard burned Francois. Green Bay didn't even get into Manning's area code with that pass rush.
Bradshaw with a short run, but again, it's possession of the ball, resting the defense, making Aaron Rodgers cold.
Woodson smashes Bradshaw on a swing pass, but Bradshaw bowling balled him. No mere mortal can do that to a future hall-of-famer. Bradshaw paid for it, limping off.
3rd-7 at GB 32: Manning has forever...but his end-zone throw broken up amazingly by Williams. He went over the top to stop the catch.
5:43 p.m. Giants' 2nd Drive 2:23
Lovely stop by Bush of the Masthay punt to put New York on the 1 yard line.
Oooohh....Matthews could have been called for roughing the Manning. He really didn't, but could have been called because of the slight extension of his wrestle-down.
Jacobs slams the ball out of danger, to the five yard line.
3rd-6 at NYG 5: Manning discovers Cruz open across the 15. Wayne: "They hoodwinked Charles Woodson." The hoodwinking was a pump-fake by Manning and Cruz altered his pattern.
Jacobs past the first level. Jacobs past the second level. The bowling ball in blue and Peprah gets one-pinned while tackling him. 12 yards.
5:35 p.m. Packers' 2nd Drive 6:30
Grant up the middle after getting stacked up - gets three yards. He decided to piledrive instead of an open hole to his left.
3rd-5 at GB 25: Big third down, boys.
ARod scrambles...runs himself...another first down, out of bounds just past the stick for the first down.
Ryan Grant gets a swing pass on a dumpoff and he makes it more productive than many passes to Jennings, Driver, Nelson and Co.
3rd-8 at 50: another key third down. Every one is key, of course.
ARod slips...and his throw is past Finley. Canty was about to clock him into the Hudson River.
5:25 p.m. Giants' 1st Drive 9:50
Green Bay 28, NY Giants 24
Manning-Nicks 4 yd TD pass
Not complete control of the game, but still a message sent.
Manning to Nicks...deep...and monster pass protection produces a monster pass to Nicks inside the 20. Good coverage. Perfect protection. Perfect throw. 51 yards.
Manning to Nicks. Much shorter. Nicks dragged down after seven yards downfield and 30 yards of dragging a defender.
1st-goal at GB 8, or maybe not. The Giants had a guy not report in as eligible. Diehl.
Manning to Nicks, for first down yardage. They ran the same play, basically.
1st-goal at GB 10: Bradshaw follows Snee for good yardage, six yards. Patience, and following your plow drivers.'
2nd-goal at GB 4: One-step throw to the end zone and Nicks made it a one-score game again. Start the track meet.
5:05 p.m. Packers' 1st Drive 15:00 left in 3rd quarter
Green Bay 28, NY Giants 17
Rodgers-Jennings 20 yd TD pass
And this is why you get the ball to start the second half. Own the momentum off the bat.
No James Starks yet.
ARod to Jennings and it went off his fingertips...but the corner held on to Jennings' right arm. Flaggage, despite the New York cheers going at the refs. Long-U vowels screaming, and not for John Kuhn.
Jennings holds on this time, beating Ross, for a first down catch at the Giants 47.
3rd-2 at NYG 40: ARod rolls...Driver rolls with him...makes the catch...barely in bounds. And I mean barely. Along the Giants' sideline, so that's gonna be challenged due to an easy view.
But no doubt. Driver's feet never left the ground.
Saine cutback, and what was an "ew" play turns out better than OK. Five yards. He made chicken salad out of chicken...well, ya know.
ARod to Quarless out of bounds just out of the red zone. The scramble gives him lots of options.
3rd-9 at NYG 20: a chance to make it a two-score game if you punch this in the end zone. If not, there's great worry.
Blitz...end zone...YES! Jennings! Uh, New York, you didn't get the memo. Don't blitz. ARod will kill you.
What? Reviewed? Uh, I guess I could see why, looking at the replay.
However, Jennings clearly had both hands on one side of the football. Strong, solid control. He took three steps before a Giant knocked the ball out. That was a touchdown.
Triplett confirms. Lovely.
4:49 p.m. Packers' 4th Drive :26
ARod to Saine with blocking...downhill to field goal range. Smart time out with :17. Lovely run and catch. That looked like 1996 with Edgar Bennett.
Rodgers to Saine...low throw, gets out of bounds at the 25, and it's Crosby time.
Nope. Pushed right.
4:43 p.m. Giants' 5th Drive 1:10
Uh oh. Blackmon hits a seam and Crosby saved a touchdown stopping him at the 35.
Cruz with the diving crab at the GIants 46, and Cruz was in the middle of a wide-open seam.
Flaggage on the Giants with :32 left - makes 2nd-3 a 2nd-8, and the Claymaker nearly produced a pick as he nailed Manning. Fumble? Yes! B.J. Raji with the recovery!
But was Manning's arm moving forward? The elbow was barely moving forward, but the wrist was not when Clay Matthews nailed him.
Raji was just standing there and Snee tried to rip the ball from him when everyone realized it was still a live ball.
Fumble! Raji again! Clay again!
4:29 p.m. Packers' 3rd Drive 6:44
Packers 21, Giants 17
Rodgers-Driver 13 yd TD pass
James Starks being carted off to the Packers' locker room. Not good. Ankle injury...so it's questionable.
"Kuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuhn" heard as #30 gets to the first down line. Lots of Packers fans in NY.
Rodgers-to-Finley for 23 yards. In the seam. That's what Rodgers may have wanted to do earlier when he threw the pick that cost Green Bay seven points.
Kenny Philliips injured. Walks off under his own power. Good.
Grant tripped up by his own guy. Newhouse. Pierre-Paul owned Newhouse, and Grant went over his big leg.
3rd-11 at NYG 43: ARod goes himself. First down territory? Barely. 11 yards. He knew exactly where he was, I guess, when he got that first down, then saved his life with the slide.
Kuhn pancaked Pierre-Paul, by the way.
Rodgers play action...pump fake...runs it himself for another first down. 18 yard scamper with the Red Sea in front of him.
With teams rushing four, covering man-to-man, no one is watching ARod and he can take it for a run.
Inside two minutes, inside the red zone now: ARod blitzed and a rare incompletion during a blitz play. Pierre-Paul with the deflection. He could have been on the U.S. Olympic volleball team.
3rd-5 at NYG 13: ARod to Driver! Right corner, and the Giants' defenders must have fallen in Jimmy Hoffa's grave. SO WIDE OPEN!
4:25 p.m. Giants' 4th Drive 7:20
NY GIants 17, Green Bay 14
Jacobs 1 yd TD run
12 yards from the lead: Manning finds Nicks, beats Woodson, but doesn't get to the end zone, thanks to two tacklers.
1st-goal at 1: Jacobs right side. Ugh.
4:22 p.m. Packers' 2nd Drive 8:11
94 yards from paydirt, it's 90 after Grant and two blockers pushed four Giants out of the dead zone.
No. Blackburn with the pick. A rare what-the-heck-are-you-thinking-taking-that-chance throw by Rodgers.
4:16 p.m. Giants' 3rd Drive 10:31
Woodson, thank you for stopping Nicks from a long sideline catch by staying on him like a glove.
3rd-6 at NYG 29: Manning on the run and he gets Cruz open on the right sideline. Too much extra time after that safety blitz. Peprah got burned with a juke for the sideline by Cruz.
Francois blitzes, and Bradshaw runs right into him...and the plugged hole due to Pickett owning o-linemen.
3rd-9 at NYG 47: overthrow of Barden. Wilt Chamberlain couldn't have caught that.
4:10 p.m. Packers' 1st Drive 12:31
Green Bay 90 yards from the goal line and the Giants' fan base knows it. They have the volume up...but a Starks run with patience lowers the volume with a five-yard run.
3rd-5 at GB 15: ARod to Finley WIIIIDE open at the 29. He gets in a referee's face...verbally, not physically, after getting held while on the pass pattern. "C'mon, Mr. Referee. Could you pretty please call it?"
ARod to Finley again...droppage. That is not how you get a huge raise from the Packers on your next contract, Jermichael.
3rd-7 at GB 32: make that 3rd-12 at GB 27 after Lang earns yellow hankies on the field.
ARod nailed by Justin Tuck at the 19. ARod stepped into Tuck who simply beat DIetrich-Smith after Pierre-Paul toasted Newhouse, forcing the Rodgers step-up.
4:01 p.m. Giants' 2nd Drive 14:50
Oh no. Fight time amongst special teams guys. Ryan Taylor at the bottom of a pile. A Giant ran into a Giant that Taylor blocked after the play ended, and that is how Taylor ended up there.
Manning playing bombs away again, and Morgan Burnett came over to pick the ball off. But it won't matter. Woodson flagged again. Illegal chuck after a double-move by a Giant receiver.
Bradshaw piledrives for seven yards. Wayne: "What a difference he makes."
Manning forced to throw the ball away late, and Charles Woodson struck Manning in the head. Larry: "Folks, it wasn't a vicious hit, but it was up near the head."
Replays show the brunt of the hit was in the shoulder, but he did love-tap Manning in the helmet.
Manning blitzed and he threw a near-catch and near interception. Both Nicks and Williams nearly had a shot.
3rd-6 at GB 45: overthrown pass to Cruz. Packers out-gained 2-1, but they own the lead.
3:59 p.m. Giants' 1st Drive continued from 1st quarter
Matthews 38 yd INT return TD
PICK SIX! CLAY MATTHEWS! He was rushed and Matthews broke on Bradshaw like Woodson on a wideout.
3:56 p.m. Giants' 4th Drive :53
Brandon Jacobs for 11 yards. Ugh. Ballard crushed Erik Walden.
Jacobs almost off to the races. Thank you Burnett for saving a touchdown with an ankle tackle.
3:51 p.m. Packers' 3rd Drive 2:00
Cobb with a fabulous kickoff return to the 40 yard line. He blased through the hole provided by his blockers.
Cobb tried the reverse pass and the lefty missed Jennings along the sideline. Great play design. Pretty good passer, but glove-like coverage.
Credit ARod with the block of Kiwanuka, too.
3rd-8 at GB 42: ARod wide of Jennings, and Pierre-Paul got to ARod as he threw it.
3:41 p.m. Giants' 3rd Drive 5:06
Tynes 38 yd FG
"Cruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuz" is the long-u vowel heard at the Meadowlands following the Victor Cruz catch for five yards that started the drive.
A lot more "Cruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuz" on a rainbow throw, and Cruz owned Tramon Williams with a post pattern. B.J. Raji and Clay Matthews were about to sandwich Manning.
New York knows it can throw deep on the Packers.
They can run on the Packers, too. Eight yards on a cutback run off right tackle.
A WR screen to Ware didn't work. -3. Larry: "Screen didn't do much screenin'."
3rd-6 at GB 20: Manning has forever...but his throw to Ballard drew him way too far away from the sideline.
But Coughlin challenges. One knee equals two feet, and had Ballard's knee gone down in bounds, it's a TD. But it didn't.
3:32 p.m. Packers' 2nd Drive 8:02
Rodgers-Finley 12 yd TD pass
Starks in now and just two yards, but they're faking reverses. Setting up the Giants for later, maybe?
ARod back shoulder to Nelson! Fantastic leaping catch! Deep down the sidelines, and Webster had no chance to stop that catch. Amazing turn to make the catch.
But then Starks run out of field goal range as the Giants prove they can stuff the wide run.
ARod to a wide-open Jennings. ARod pumped more than someone trying to pump a tire...and Jennings took advantage.
Rodgers forced to run it after being chased by blue shirts...I don't mean IBM workers....and he gained a couple. Newhouse is getting mauled on the line of scrimmage.
ARod again....right at the goal line and Finley reaches over!
3:29 p.m. Giants' 2nd Drive 9:45
Great stuff by Francois at the 15 yard line. Amazing job by Francois to get off the ball and beat the Giants' center.
3rd-8 at NYG 15: Manning underthrew Barton. Bounce passes only work in hoops, Manning.
3:19 p.m. Packers' 1st Drive 13:24
The other bad part about that score - there was no pass rush. None. A near-literal wall of steel surrounded Manning there. Ugh.
Cobb at the goal line...and this time his protection failed him. Had to run it out, but not to the 20.
Green Bay starts with Grant slamming for five yards off right tackle. Driver had trouble with his block of the corner, otherwise it would have been a lot more.
Run...run...pass. Not a great pattern, but required after a -2 run by Grant following Bulaga failing in his blocking assignment.
3rd-7 at GB 21: ARod blitzed...and Finley gets the first down at the 32. Don't blitz Rodgers. He will kill you. Did you not listen, New York? Packers fans hope they don't.
Oh by the way, the Packers have clinched a playoff berth.
Kuhn? You cannot drop that! Even if ARod led you a little bit.
3rd-11 at GB 31: maybe not. Face mask on the Giants. Lovely.
Another drop? Cobb? Rookie mistakes aren't allowed, especially now.
3rd-10 at 46: ARod with forever...and he needs forever to find someone open...and he never did. Great secondary coverage. No one open. Ugh.
3:15 p.m. GIants' 1st Drive 15:00 left in first quarter
New York 7, Green Bay 0
Manning-Beckum 67 yard TD pass
Thomas takes the short kickoff and gets just to the 21. The battle of the special teams is a wash.
The Giants start with a swing pass into the flat with Bradshaw. Smart for New York to go with their now-healthier meal ticket and get him into the swing of things. Packers are doing a lot of nickel defense with their injured starters.
Bradshaw takes advantage with a first-down run righ up the gut, where it's Francois and Smith instead of Bishop and Hawk.
Manning bombs...and Beckum gets to the house. Ugh. Couldn't you have done that years ago at Wisconsin?
Coin flip time: Packers call tails...and it's heads. Giants get the ball first. Thanks, New York, for giving Green Bay the ball to start the 2nd half.
Key points from today's inactives:
It's the Francois and Smith show at inside linebacker, with Bishop and Hawk both out.
Evan Dietrich-Smith, or Mr. Suh stomp victim, will take the field for Josh Sitton.
For the Giants, Mario Manningham won't be available as a target for Eli Manning, but Ahmad Bradshaw will go for the Giants. How effective he is? Very different question.
Folks, a division championship party may be imminent when the Packers arrive at Austin Straubel Airport after the Packers-Giants game.
If they win today, and if New Orleans upends Detroit tonight (after the Packers game on TODAY'S TMJ4, by the way), the Packers will have finished the "third quarter" of the season (as Mike McCarthy might put it) as an NFC North champion.
But like Mercury Morris told me about an undefeated season: "Don't count your chickens until you get to Colonel Sanders."
Some sad news on the Giants end, reported by the Associated Press.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- New York Giants backup offensive tackle Stacy Andrews has been hospitalized with embolisms in both lungs.
Hours before playing the undefeated Green Bay Packers, the Giants said Andrews had been admitted to Hackensack University Medical Center on Saturday night and would not play Sunday.
The team says the blood clots are thought to have originated in his legs, broken up and traveled to his lungs.
Giants trainer Ronnie Barnes said Andrews is receiving treatment and resting in the hospital and will most likely be released Monday.
Andrews, 30, is an eight-year NFL veteran in his first season with the Giants. He played in nine of the first 11 games, starting three as an extra lineman/eligible receiver.