Giants stand tall over Packers with 37-20 win
APGREEN BAY, Wisconsin -- New York quarterback Eli Manning threw three touchdown passes as the Giants shocked Green Bay on Sunday, beating the Packers 37-20 at Lambeau Field to move within one win of a Super Bowl appearance.
January 17, 2012, 12:08 am TWN
Manning threw for 330 yards, sending the Giants to San Francisco for the NFC championship game next Sunday.
The Packers might have been the reigning Super Bowl champs, but the Giants might be the hottest team in the NFL.
“We're a dangerous team,” Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. “I like where we are and how we're playing.”
The Giants stunned the Packers with a touchdown off a long heave from Manning to Hakeem Nicks just before halftime, then knocked them out with a late touchdown off a turnover.
The win came four years after the Giants beat a Brett Favre-led Packers team in the NFC title game. It wasn't nearly as frigid this time around, and the Packers' vulnerable defense seemed to be waiting to get sliced up.
Manning found six different receivers against a porous Packers defense. But Manning did the most damage with his throws to Nicks, who caught seven passes for 165 yards and two touchdowns.
Nicks' biggest play was a 66-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter. His score at the end of the half came on a 37-yard pass into the end zone with defenders all around.
“It was a big momentum play for them, but we were not deflated as a football team,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said.
The Giants' defense also was able to defuse the big-play abilities of quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Packers' defense.
Rodgers was 26 of 46 for 264 yards, with two touchdowns and an interception. He also was the Packers' leading rusher with 66 yards on seven carries.
Meanwhile, the Packers' past problems with dropped balls by their talented group of wide receivers returned at the worst time imaginable.
And while Green Bay's defense has been porous all season, giving up far too many yards and big plays, they've typically made up for it by forcing turnovers. This time, the Packers were the ones giving the ball away.
Green Bay lost three fumbles, including one on a rare giveaway by Rodgers. The Giants also sacked Rodgers four times.
With the Packers trailing 20-10 at halftime but finally beginning to look like themselves on offense to start the second half, Osi Umenyiora swatted the ball away from Rodgers, and Deon Grant recovered the fumble at the Green Bay 37.
But the mistake didn't cost the Packers points, and Green Bay cut the lead to seven points on a 35-yard field goal by Mason Crosby late in the third quarter.
The Packers put together another drive early in the fourth quarter, but Michael Boley and Umenyiora combined to sack Rodgers on fourth-and-5 in Giants territory.
Green Bay Packers fullback John Kuhn #30 dives over New York Giants cornerback Aaron Ross during an 8-yard touchdown reception in the first half of an NFL divisional playoff ...
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