Packers show they can dominate line of scrimmage vs Giants
GREEN BAY, WIS. >> The Green Bay Packers got pushy on both sides of the line of scrimmage against the New York Giants.
The offensive line kept Aaron Rodgers clean in the pocket and helped drive the running attack. The defensive line is playing so well that that the MVP quarterback is taking notice.
A little more consistency in the passing game, and the Packers could be a force again in the playoffs.
Rodgers threw for 259 yards and two touchdown passes, and Green Bay's defense disrupted Eli Manning and limited Odell Beckham Jr. in a 23-16 win on Sunday night.
"We feel good about the yardage and the third-down percentage (9 of 19), but we'd like to score a few more points there to help our defense out when they're playing so well," Rodgers said. He had two interceptions.
Manning was 18 of 35 for 199 yards and was sacked three times. The Giants (2-3) lost their third straight game, and the offense has struggled in road losses at Minnesota and Green Bay the last two weeks.
"We need to block better. We need to make better throws. We need to make contested plays," Giants coach Ben McAdoo said.
The Packers' defense contained the Giants in the red zone, holding New York to three field goals until late in the fourth quarter. Green Bay's secondary played well, especially considering the Packers (3-1) were without starting cornerbacks Sam Shields (concussion) and Damarious Randall (groin).
Other notes and takeaways from Sunday night:
LINE UP: The Packers had another stellar day against the run, albeit against a team that was missing lead running back Rashad Jennings (thumb). The Giants managed just 43 yards on 15 carries against a defense ranked first against the run coming into the night.
Mike Daniels and Letroy Guion led the effort on the defensive line, with first-round draft pick Kenny Clark becoming a key sub. The line only figures to only get stronger with the expected return of top backup Mike Pennel next week from a four-game suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy.
"But if you really want to focus on one group, it's got to be the defensive line," Rodgers said.
EYES ON ODELL: Beckham finished with five catches for 56 yards, but did get his first touchdown catch of the season.
The 8-yard score stood on replay review after the receiver jumped high in the air for Manning's pass and was ruled inbounds after straddling the back line of the end zone.
Perhaps more importantly for the Giants, Beckham didn't throw an attention-grabbing tantrum like the meltdowns he had the previous two weeks against Minnesota and Washington.
A few weeks ago against the Redskins, an angry Beckham slammed his helmet against a kicking net in an outburst that went viral. On Sunday night, he made up with the net , giving the netting a mock kiss and hug.
"Yeah, we hugged it out. Last time I hit him, he hit me back," Beckham said. "You've got to have fun, you've got to have fun."
TOUGH GUY: Randall Cobb was the Packers' most consistent receiver with nine catches for 108 yards. With the Giants missing starting safety Nat Berhe because of an injury, Cobb excelled in his specialty of working the middle of the field and turning short passes into long gains.
Cobb appeared to be OK on the sideline after taking a hit to the back of his head or neck from safety Landon Collins on a 13-yard catch on third-and-10 with about 2 minutes left.
"It hurt, the hit definitely hurt, but it wasn't necessarily scary from the hit perspective," Cobb said. "It was more so just seeing everybody standing over top of me."
ON THE CORNER: Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins had two interceptions in the first half, one coming on third-and-6 at the Giants 21 after a pass deflected off receiver Jordy Nelson's hands. It was Jenkins' first two-interception game since his rookie season with St. Louis, when he had two against Arizona on Nov. 25, 2012.
Giants: The battered secondary lost CB Eli Apple to a groin injury in the second quarter. The rookie missed New York's 24-10 loss last week at Minnesota because of a hamstring injury, and had been listed as questionable for the Packers game. ... Dwayne Harris was taken to the locker room two separate times in the second half, for X-rays on his jaw and toe.
Packers: Backup S Chris Banjo (hamstring) limped off after the opening kickoff of the second half. ... Lacy left late in the third quarter with a left ankle injury. He had 81 yards on 11 carries, including 77 yards on nine carriers in the first half.