What to say? It’s tempting to talk about what a wonderful year the Packers had, how they achieved so much more than anyone expected, how they played their hearts out, etcetera.
There’s an entire off-season for that. So we’ll focus on this game.
The Packers got beat. It would have been extraordinary had they won despite the performance by the Giants. The Packers were outplayed and, much as I like Mike McCarthy, thoroughly outcoached. The Giants ended up with nearly at 2-to-1 time-of-posession advantage, 40 minutes to 22 and change. The Packer defense could barely stand up at the end of the game — a fact evidenced by the numerous missed tackles at the end of regulation, some of which (the ones on the Ahmed Bradshaw screen) contributed to the final outcome.
The playcalling down the stretch was simply awful. The coach who has said that the perfect game would be 50 rushes just refused to run the ball. It is certainly true that the Packers had limited success on the ground tonight. But Ryan Grant finally broke a couple of runs and then we stopped running altogether. Even if we had to settle for 2-yard gains, at the end of the game that would have been worth it. We just needed to keep our defense off the field.
I think we saw some old Brett Favre tonight, too. Not only on the interception that would determine the outcome of the game, but also on the throw to James Jones, when Favre threw into triple coverage in order to move the ball down the field. On the interceptions in overtime, Favre had Ryan Grant, his checkdown, wide open with nobody in front of him. This has been Favre’s best season, in my view, but he pressed tonight and it cost us.
Two closing ironies: The Packers, who not only found a running game during the second half of the season but found a dominant running game, failed to run the ball. And on September 15, I made a $25 future bet that the Packers would win the NFC Championship. I didn’t mention it because I didn’t want to jinx myself. Oh well.
We’ll have lots more in the coming days about the game, the playcalling, the future and the draft. Stay tuned.
And one more irony: I will be in Arizona for four days to cover the Super Bowl. Nice.
UPDATE: Let me add that I think the Giants played very well, other than the two missed field goals. As poor as the Packer playcalling was, the Giants playcalling was excellent. Kevin Gilbride kept the Packer defense guessing all day and when the Packers failed to make adjustments to the Giants’ first-half gameplan, the Giants pressed on with great success. Congratulations to the Giants.