GREEN BAy, WI (WSAU) There will be no repeat championship for the Green Bay Packers this year. The Pack ended a 15-and-2 season -- and they snapped a 13-game home winning streak -- with their 37-to-20 playoff loss to the New York Giants last night.
The Packers never recovered after Eli Manning threw a 37-yard Hail Mary pass to Hakeem Nicks as time expired in the first half. It turned what would have been a 13-to-10 game into a 10-point Giants' lead. And that proved to be insurmountable for a Packer team that put on a sub-par performance.
Aaron Rodgers had a quarterback rating of 78-point-five, well below his N-F-L regular season record of 122-point-five. He threw an interception and lost a fumble, committing two of Green Bay's four turnovers. And the Giants' defense sacked Rodgers four times. He completed 26-of-46 passes for 264 yards and two touchdowns to John Kuhn and Donald Driver. Kuhn left in the second half with a knee injury. Rodgers was also the Packers' leading rusher with seven carries for 66 yards.
Manning threw for 330 yards and three touchdown passes, two to Nicks -- who carved the N-F-L's worst defense for 165 yards on seven catches.
Greg Jennings had four catches for 40 yards. But he and his fellow Packer receivers were their own worst enemies at times as they dropped six passes.
Mario Manningham scored on Manning's other touchdown pass. Ahmad Bradshaw ran for 63 yards, and Brandon Jacobs scored the Giants' final T-D on a 14-yard run. Packers' offensive coordinator Joe Philbin returned for the game, a week after he lost his son Michael who drowned while falling through the ice on the Fox River. Coach Mike McCarthy said he refused to blame the death -- or the Packers' bye week -- for coming out flat.
The Giants will now travel to San Francisco to play the 49'ers in next Sunday's N-F-C Championship Game.