The Green Bay Packers (3-1) defeated Odell Beckham Jr. and the New York Giants (2-3) 23-16 Sunday night in a low-scoring affair.
Even with plenty of offensive weapons for both the Packers and the Giants, defense and sloppy play proved to be the main themes at Lambeau field.
The Packers began the game with a long drive, spanning almost nine minutes and ending in a two-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers to Jordy Nelson. Despite a dominating performance by the Packers offensive line, Green Bay’s only other touchdown came on a 29-yard touchdown pass from Rodgers to Davante Adams in the middle of the second quarter.
Rodgers was able to stand comfortably in the pocket for most of the game, but a surprising amount of dropped passes and penalties led to a mediocre stat line of 23-45, 259 yards passing, two touchdowns and two interceptions per NFL.com.
The Packers running game helped dominate time of possession for Green Bay, keeping the Giants offense off the field. Eddie Lacy led the charge on the ground for Green Bay behind phenomenal offensive line play. Lacy finished with 11 carries for 81 yards, a 7.4-yards-per-carry average.
The Packers scoring was rounded out by Mason Crosby, who connected on three field goals, one at the end of the first half and two in the fourth quarter.
The Giants suffered their third loss in a row in large part due to a combination of great Packers defense and an overall pitiful offensive performance. In contrast to the Packers, the Giants offensive line was porous, opening up minimal running lanes and forcing quick throws under pressure by Eli Manning.
Manning was sacked three times and hurried numerous times, going 18-35 with 199 yards and one touchdown.
The Giants running game was ineffective, gaining only 43 yards on 2.9 yards per carry.
Giants kicker Josh Brown was their only source of scoring through three quarters, with two field goals in the second quarter and one in the third quarter.
The Giant’s lone touchdown came near the end of the fourth quarter. In a hurry-up offense, the Giants were able to drive down the field into Packers territory. The drive culminated with a scrambling Manning finding Odell Beckham Jr. in the back of the end zone from eight yards out. While Manning scrambled, Beckham was able to keep his route alive, breaking free briefly from a Packers defender. A high throw by Manning led to a difficult catch from Beckham Jr., who was able to expertly haul in the pass while barely keeping two feet in-bounds.
Beckham ran off of the field after his catch with almost no celebration, instead, heading to the kicking net on the sideline. In a humorous and touching moment, Beckham kissed the kicking net, in effect ending the beef between the two sworn enemies.
Beckham’s first incident with the kicking net came in week three against the Redskins. Their interaction was much less cordial then. After an emotional game going against rival cornerback Josh Norman, Beckham swung his helmet in anger against the kicking net on the sideline. Never scared of a fight, the kicking net swung back against Beckham, bouncing and hitting him in the face after being struck by Beckham’s helmet.
While Beckham’s apology to the kicking net last night may seem silly, it does bold well in the short term for Giants fans. Coming into Sunday night, all eyes were on Beckham after two emotionally charged weeks in a row filled with personal foul penalties, tears, outbursts on the sidelines, and controversial quotes in the media. An Odell who can run off the field after a touchdown in a calm manner, make a quick joke on the sideline, and keep his head in the game is a sharp contrast from the player we saw in Minnesota just last week.
Next week, the Giants play at home against Baltimore, the Packers plays at home against Dallas.
[Featured Image by Mike Roemer/AP Images]