There was undoubtedly much disappointment in the Packers locker room after last Sunday’s 37-8 defeat at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers. It wasn’t just a loss. It was a blowout. The Packers had a chance to make a real statement by going into San Francisco and beating one of the NFL’s best teams. But they fell flat on their faces. Absolutely nothing went right for Green Bay and they walked out of Levi’s Stadium with their second loss in three games after starting out 7-1.
No excuses were made by head coach Matt LaFleur following the game, “We got out-coached and we got outplayed,” he said. “It’s unacceptable.”
But he had a sense that his team would be able to bounce back.
“They’re a resilient group,” he said before Sunday’s game in New York.
The Packers showed their resiliency on Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium. They put together a complete game in the snow, as the offense and defense both thrived on the way to a 31-13 victory over the Giants.
The effort was led by the Packers receiving corps. Rookie Allen Lazard turned in his best game as a pro and Davante Adams continued his dominance to help Aaron Rodgers bounce back from a couple rough games in a row.
Lazard caught only three passes all day, but he made them count. He went for 103 receiving yards and added his second touchdown catch of the year.
“He’s earned his opportunities,” LaFleur said. “He gives it his all each and every day. I’m happy for him.”
Adams came to play as well, catching 6 passes for 64 yards and two touchdowns. He continues to be Rodgers’ most reliable target and one of the most dangerous receivers in the league.
One key play happened late in the third quarter with the Packers driving down the field. They were on the Giants 34-yard line and only leading 17-13 when they were faced with a 4th down and 10. They could have attempted a 52-yard field goal, but with the snowy and windy conditions, they decided against it. Instead, LaFleur decided to send the offense back out and go for it. Rodgers was in trouble as soon as the ball was snapped, and it looked like he would be sacked for a large loss and the Giants would take over near midfield. However, Rodgers was somehow able to get rid of the ball before he was brought down, and it was caught by Geronimo Allison for a 14-yard gain and a first down. A few plays later, Rodgers completed a 17-yard pass to Adams for a touchdown and the Packers took a 24-13 lead.
Rodgers and LaFleur agreed that the game was decided on that play.
“I think that was kind of the play of the game,” said Rodgers.
“That was a huge play in the game,” LaFleur added. “It was a critical play because we were able to get points out of it.”
If the Packers had any lasting effects from their blowout loss to the 49ers last week, they sure didn’t show it on Sunday afternoon. They fired on all cylinders on their way to a 9-3 record.
The team also secured its spot atop the NFC North. The division rival Vikings will face a tough test on Monday night as they travel into Seattle to take on Russel Wilson and the surging Seahawks in a game that could cement Green Bay atop the standings for good.
Packer fans can feel good about this win, and the team controls its own destiny going forward. The loss to the 49ers hurt, but things can be learned from the loss.
Take it from LaFleur: “Our guys came in and they got to work. That’s what it’s going to take to be successful in this league.”