Eli Manning throws 3 TD passes as Giants rout Packers
Tom Coughlin came back from the bye week saying, as politely as he could, that he was getting sick of having to answer queries about November swoons, slumping quarterbacks and defensive miscommunications. He said he'd rather just address those issues with a convincing win, a complete team effort.
Any more questions?
The Giants looked refreshed, refocused and maybe even ready to repeat in a 38-10 blowout of the Packers on Sunday night at MetLife Stadium.
After spending the past month playing like one of the worst quarterbacks in team history -- statistically, anyway, with zero touchdown passes in three games -- Eli Manning emerged from the victory with the most touchdown passes in franchise history. The defense forced two turnovers and sacked Aaron Rodgers five times. "We played well tonight, really in all three phases,'' Coughlin said. "Something we needed to do.''
That was the recipe that led the Giants to a Super Bowl championship last season. If they are able to win another Lombardi Trophy this season, it will be this win, which snapped a two-game losing streak, that will be looked at as the turning point.
"It's kind of a familiar feeling," defensive lineman Chris Canty said. "It feels like one of those wins we had toward the end of the season. This is a familiar place for our football team."
It gives the Giants (7-4) a two-game lead over the Cowboys and the Redskins in the NFC East. A win at Washington next Monday would virtually seal a second straight division crown.
"To get us back on track was very important," Manning said.
It didn't take the Giants long to flash their new and improved play. They needed only six plays to go 74 yards on their opening drive -- 59 of them on a screen pass to Ahmad Bradshaw -- as Andre Brown scored on a 2-yard run for a 7-0 lead. (Brown broke his left fibula in the fourth quarter and is out for the season.)
The Packers (7-4) answered quickly as Rodgers hit Jordy Nelson for a 61-yard TD to tie it at 7. Corey Webster was fooled on a double move by Nelson; he appeared to peek into the backfield and had no safety help deep.
Webster made up for it later, though, jumping a pass intended for Randall Cobb and intercepting it to set up a field goal late in the first quarter. That gave the Giants a 17-7 lead, because minutes earlier, Manning hit Rueben Randle in the back of the end zone for a 16-yard touchdown, his first TD pass since the 77-yard game-winner against the Redskins on Oct. 21.
The Packers had a chance to creep back into the game late in the half. A field goal cut their deficit to 24-10, and the Giants had a three-and-out. With the Packers getting the ball to start the second half, it seemed like the perfect opportunity for them to score twice. Instead, Osi Umenyiora came around behind Rodgers and knocked the ball from his hand. Jason Pierre-Paul recovered it and set the Giants up at the Packers' 23.
One play later, Bradshaw took a handoff up the middle, jumped over A.J. Hawk, picked up blocks from Sean Locklear and Martellus Bennett and scored on a 13- yard run for a 31-10 halftime lead.
The Giants had a third-quarter touchdown run by Bradshaw wiped out on a holding penalty against Will Beatty, but that allowed Manning to break Simms' record two plays later.
Manning hit Nicks on third-and-goal from the 13, and the receiver was ruled down inside the 1. Coughlin, using his first challenge of the season, asked for a second look, and referee Terry McAulay ruled that Nicks was sitting on top of Davon House as he stretched over the goal line. The 200th TD pass of Manning's career made it 38-10 heading into the fourth quarter.
Notes & quotes: Brown was replaced by rookie David Wilson, who likely will see an increased role. The Giants have only two healthy running backs and likely will add another this week . . . S Kenny Phillips left the game in the third quarter with a knee injury after missing six games with an MCL injury in his right knee . . . T David Diehl left in the first half with a burner in his neck.