The Giants then took the ball and drove 55 yards in eight play, capping the drive with a 16-yard Eli Manning-to-Rueben Randle touchdown behind cornerback Davon House and safety M.D. Jennings. On the next play from scrimmage, veteran cornerback Corey Webster came off his man (James Jones) and jumped a quick Rodgers pass intended for Randall Cobb and picked it off at the Packers’ 33-yard line. Even though the Giants had to settle for a 43-yard Lawrence Tynes field goal, the tone was set.
The Packers went three-and-out on their next possession, which began with an 8-yard sack by Chase Blackburn on first down, and the Giants offense went back to work. A 25-yard Manning-to-Hakeem Nicks completion led to Victor Cruz’s 9-yard touchdown catch, pushing the lead to 24-7.
The ensuing drive stalled out at the Giants’ 20-yard line when tight end Jermichael Finley dropped a pass, and while Rodgers went right back to him for a 9-yard gain, the Packers settled for a 28-yard Crosby field goal that made it 24-10.
When the defense forced a three-and-out punt again, the Packers actually had their chance to make a game of it again. With the ball and 1:50 left in the first half and set to receive the second-half kickoff, touchdowns to end the second quarter and start the third quarter would’ve forged a 24-24 tie.
That didn’t happen.
Instead, on first-and-10 from the Packers’ 39, Osi Umenyiora beat left tackle Marshall Newhouse and forced a Rodgers fumble that Jason Pierre-Paul recovered. Two plays later, Bradshaw rumbled in from 13 yards out to make it 31-10 at halftime.
The Packers managed only one first down on the opening drive of the second half – on a 16-yard catch by Finley that happened after Rodgers was hit by Justin Tuck and the resulting fluttering pass went off Pierre-Paul’s hands on what should’ve been an interception – and had to punt. By the time Manning hit Nicks for a 13-yard touchdown with 3:36 left in the third quarter, the issue had already been decided.
“It’s one game,” said Rodgers, who gave way to backup Graham Harrell for the final 4:53. “(We) had a good opportunity to put ourselves in a better position than we’re in right now and didn’t do that. We’re going to be disappointed watching this film. (But) we have to move on.
“We’ve got to get a couple things shored up. When you win five in a row, everybody’s happy but, like I said last year during the (undefeated) run, there’s things that kind of go under the radar that need to be handled. Sometimes it takes a loss to handle those things.
“Now, that being said, I’ve never been on the side of this kind of loss before. But I know if you play long enough that at a certain point you will. Hopefully, we’ll remember this feeling and not let this kind of embarrassment to happen again.
“We’re better than this. We’re going to regroup.”
Listen to Jason Wilde every weekday from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on “Green & Gold Today” on 540 ESPN, and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/jasonjwilde.