EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.  — The Green Bay Packers don't experience slumps like this too often. At least they know what's causing the losing.

In the midst of their longest slide since 2008, the Packers pointed directly to the errors they made in a 27-13 loss to the New York Giants on Sunday. Green Bay's third straight loss was built on three interceptions thrown by third-string quarterback Scott Tolzien, filling in for injured star Aaron Rodgers, a close miss on a fake punt, and inconsistency on both sides of the ball.

"It's not good. It's definitely new territory," linebacker Clay Matthews said, noting he'd never been through a three-game losing streak. "It's tough, because you go 10-5, 10-6, 15-1. You lose three, it doesn't feel good. But right now, we're just not playing very good ball."

They could easily blame the loss of Rodgers and several other injuries. But as the Packers (5-5) plummet, they're still only one game behind Detroit and Chicago in the NFC North.

But until Rodgers returns from a broken left collarbone, they need to get something going with Tolzien. No one knows that better than the third-year pro who made his first NFL start against the Giants (4-6).

He finished 24 of 34 for 339 yards and no touchdowns. The three interceptions made the difference.

Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul scored on a spectacular, leaping 24-yard fourth-quarter interception return as the resurgent Giants won their fourth game in a row. Green Bay trailed only 20-13 at that point.

"He made a nice play, but that's on me giving their team a freebie," Tolzien said. "We had a chance at that point. That kills ya. It was a game-changer. You see the arms up in the air and you can't throw it."

Coach Mike McCarthy still believes these Packers can be a "special team," but the roster he had on the field Sunday looked very ordinary. Rodgers can lift a team to an elite level, of course, and has done that for Green Bay. But his return date is uncertain.

So the Pack needs to play error-free ball. While Tolzien played well at times, the three picks set up 10 points.

"Turnovers are the most glaring stat," McCarthy said. "You have one takeaway and three giveaways, do that and the ability to win on the road, you're going uphill."

The Packers got a 1-yard TD run by Eddie Lacy and two field goals by Mason Crosby, including a 57-yarder.

Eli Manning threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to Rueben Randle, and Brandon Jacobs added a 1-yard run for the Giants.

New York's winning streak following a 0-6 start improbably has moved the Giants within 1½ games of first-place Philadelphia (6-5) in the weak NFC East. They are a game behind second-place and idle Dallas (5-5), which will play here next Sunday.

The Giants never trailed, but they never put the Packers away until the interception by Pierre-Paul, who was questionable all week after injuring a shoulder against Oakland last week. He didn't practice until Friday.

Pierre-Paul didn't do much until the fourth quarter with New York clinging to a 20-13 lead.

On first-and-10 from the Packers 30, Tolzien, a practice squad player until a couple weeks ago, dropped back, turned to his left and tried to throw a quick out. Pierre-Paul, who has struggled this season after back surgery in June, jumped, snagged the pass and dashed all alone to the end zone.

The Giants had the better of the play in the first half, holding the ball for almost 20 minutes. They jumped to a 10-0 lead on Manning's 26-yard touchdown pass to Randle and Josh Brown's 40-yard field goal.

The touchdown reception was Randle's sixth in the last six games, and he set it up with a 32-yard punt return. Manning finished 25 of 35 for 279 yard and an interception.

A 30-yard pass to Victor Cruz, who had eight catches for 110 yards, and a 5-yard run by Jacobs on fourth-and-1 at the Packers 36 set up the field goal.

Tolzien threw passes of 25 yards to Jordy Nelson and 45 yards to James Jones on consecutive plays to set up a 24-yard field goal by Crosby on the next series.

The Giants mismanaged the clock at the end of the first half, with a three-and-out series that started with an incomplete pass. Taking over at the Packers 37 with no timeouts, Tolzien hit on passes of 9 yards to Jarrett Boykin and 15 yards to Nelson, setting up Crosby for the 57-yard field goal on the final play.

It was a yard shy of his Packers record and the longest against the Giants.

Five things learned from the game:

GIANTS DEFENSE: Perry Fewell's guys have given up just two TDs in the four-game winning streak. Once again, they stopped the run. Lacy, who was leading the NFL with 618 yards rushing since Oct. 1, was held to 27 on 14 carries. The defense intercepted three passes — Antrel Rolle and Jon Beason had the others — in a game for the first time since last season.

TOLZIEN PERFORMANCE: While he threw three interceptions and didn't have a touchdown, Tolzien made some impressive throws. He had 10 passes of more than 15 yards, including five of more than 25 yards. His long was a 52-yarder to Jarrett Boykin.

MANNING MISHAP: Manning threw his 17th interception of the season when Tramon Williams made a diving interception of a pass to Louis Murphy. It spoiled a 74-yard drive that started at the New York 11. Like so many of his picks this season, it was the result of bad communication. Murphy broke the pattern inside and Manning threw to the outside. After the play, Manning got in Murphy's face on the sideline.

MR JONES: Linebacker Brad Jones was by far the leader of the Packers defense. He had a team-high 13 tackles, including three for losses, and a sack. The much-more publicized Clay Matthews was somewhat invisible. He had four tackles and sack.

DOWN THE ROAD: Of their final six games, the Giants have only two against teams with winning records — Seattle (10-1) and Detroit (6-4). Besides Dallas, the others are against San Diego (4-6) and two with Washington (3-7). The Packers have Minnesota (2-8), Detroit (6-4), Atlanta (2-8), Dallas, Pittsburgh (4-6) and Chicago (6-4).

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(6) comments


Besides practice player Scott Tolzien, Pro Bowler Drew Breeze and Top Draft pick E.J. Manuel threw pick sixes yesterday, so those things happen. Early in the game the Packers would not allow Tolzien to throw anything down field (no confidence?), so The Pack were throwing short (no way to a first down) on 3rd and long. They insisted on running Eddie Lacy into a brick wall, Lacy runs hard, but the Giants were playing 8 in the box and even though Lacy's effort was there, the holes weren't, so switch it up Mike--to slow to react with different play schemes. Green Bay's defense isn't good, for as many plays as Brad Jones made, he missed more, you wouldn't know Hawk played except he looses his helmet twice a game so he is hard to miss. Packer cornerbacks often seem to be in position, but can't make the play, and Hyde can tackle, but doesn't have the speed to defend speedy slot guys, and lets get someone else to return kicks, we are last in the league.


agree...the play calling was predictable and unimaginative. dom capers and shaun slocum should be gone---last year. mc carthy should be accountable for that as well. and ted thompson bears some responsibility for the barren qb situation behind rodgers. gb was "whistling through the graveyard" after decades of stabilty with farve and rodgers. those days will never happen again in my lifetime.


The defense only allowed 20 pts bc of the pick six thrown by Tolzien. I would grade more negatively the offense than the defense. In todays NFL, if ur defense can keep a team in the low 20s, u should win. But Tolzien is horrible. Bad decisions, missed open throws, and overall poor pocket awareness

Crow Barr
Crow Barr

On to the Vikings, they will make the packies look good again!!! Still can achieve 8 and 8! Oops, checked the schedule, make that 7 and 9!


It's becoming evident Aaron Rodgers may be a Super Bowl quality quarterback, but the Packers are not a Super Bowl quality team. Tolzien made some bad throws but the offensive line afforded little protection and blocking for the running backs. The defense looked lost. Every team has thrown freely over the middle with no resistance and today was no different. Giants receivers made catches with two and three Packers defenders around them. Tackling was poor and penalties were stupid - two for too many men on the field. The defense once again could not rise to the occasion. The question remains is it lack of talent, poor coaching or both? All teams have injuries. The best teams find ways to overcome them.


Injury riddled?? No excuse. The Giants have stunk all year!!

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