The win was not a surprise for more than one reason.
‘T was dé·jà vu all over again, as Yogi Berra might say had he been following the Packers recently.
Just four weeks ago, the lowly Kansas City Chiefs beat the Green Bay Packers 19-14. The Chiefs had been up 19-7 with 2:04 left in the game when the Packers scored a face-saving TD. On the final series of plays, the Chiefs marched down the field with ease within easy field goal range when the clock ran out.
Most NFL fans know that the Packers have one of the most potent passing attacks in the game –ranked 3rd. Fewer fans are aware that the Giants have a potent passing game themselves – ranked 5th .
Both teams have a rather ineffective running game – Green Bay and New York average 97 and 87 points respectively.
In total offense, the Packers average 405 yards per game and the Giants 384 yards per game – a difference of 21 yards.
In total defense, the stats favor the Giants – Packers allow 410 yards per. game and the Giants, only 376 yards per game, which is a difference of 34 yards.
Hence, from a statistical standpoint the Giants are overall a slightly better team, with a net difference of 15 yards per game.
Notwithstanding these figures, outcomes are often determined by immeasurable factors. One would think that the margin of victory would have been much closer with two teams so closely matched.
Clearly, the Packers played poorly, the worse they have played in years.
Although Eli Manning was heralded as the hero and rightly so, Aaron Rodger’s performance was not that bad. Manning completed 21 of 33 passes averaging 10 yards per attempt for 330 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. Rodgers, not quite as accurate as normal, completed 26 of 46 passes for 264 yards averaging 5.4 yards per attempt with two touchdowns and one interception.
Rodgers’ stats would have been much higher had not six of his passes been dropped, one each by six different receivers.
This uncharacteristic performance, along with three lost fumbles by Green Bay to none by NY, spelled the difference.
Incidentally, Rodgers was the leading rusher on the field yesterday with 66 yards in seven carries, which underscores both teams’ want of a running game – notably the victors’.
One must wonder why the Packers were lackluster, especially in a game of such importance.
Packers’ wide receiver Gregg Jennings tweeted yesterday morning that, “Today’s game would be full of emotions.”
Those emotions were of sorrow and sympathy for their offensive coordinator Joe Philbin whose son drowned last week, falling through ice that gave out from under him on a Wisconsin river.