When the Green Bay Packers narrowly escaped Lambeau Field with a victory over the New England Patriots in Week 4, Aaron Rodgers cautioned that winning games the way that they were was not sustainable. It only took a few days for Rodgers’ to be proven correct.
The Packers flew over to London to take on the New York Giants in Week 5. Despite opening up a 14-point lead in the second quarter and leading by 10 going into halftime, Green Bay ended up losing the game, 27-22. It was a shocking defeat as the Giants were short-handed on both sides of the ball, down the top five wide receivers on their depth chart and losing key contributors throughout the game defensively.
Despite that, New York outscored Green Bay 17-2, with their two points coming with 11 seconds left in the game after punter Jamie Gillian smartly ran out of the endzone for a safety instead of attempting to punt the ball. It was another gutsy performance by a Giants team who has responded very well to Brian Daboll as head coach despite being at a talent deficiency virtually every week.
As for the Packers, many questions arose from the performance. How could they blow a multi-score lead against a team that was so limited in its options offensively? What was supposed to be one of the most dominant defenses in the NFL has struggled at times to slow down what would seem to be inferior opponents.
While the defense was questionable against the Giants, the offense was nonexistent in the second half. They got whatever they wanted in the first half, marching down the field on four out of their five drives in the half. The script flipped in the second half, as the Giants gained all of the momenta and never relinquished it.
Despite the poor performance, the Packers still had a chance to tie the game late. They drove the ball inside the Giants; 10-yard line with virtually no resistance. But, the Giants stepped up when they needed to most, batting down Rodgers’s pass attempts on the last two plays of the game.
It was something that running back Aaron Jones discussed post-game, as he was confident either he or A.J. Dillon would have gained the two yards needed to keep the drive going.
All season the Giants’ defense has been gashed by the running game. Despite the Packers seldom running the ball, they still found success as Jones and Dillon combined for 97 yards on 19 carries. That kind of efficiency is exactly what a team is looking for, but for whatever reason, they opted to try and throw the ball twice at the end of the game.
Green Bay has sometimes gotten away from their running game this season despite having arguably the best duo in the NFL in Jones and Dillon. Expect them to focus on getting them the ball more in the coming weeks as the passing offense still has a lot to iron out.