|Date of game: 11/17/2013
Recap: NY Giants vs. Green Bay
East Rutherford, NJ (SportsNetwork.com) - The Green Bay Packers continue to find life without Aaron Rodgers to be extremely challenging.
Scott Tolzien threw three interceptions in place of the injured former league MVP, one of which was returned 24 yards by Jason Pierre-Paul for a momentum- changing touchdown in the fourth quarter that helped the New York Giants to a 27-13 victory over the free-falling Packers at MetLife Stadium.
"He made a nice play, but it's on me. I gave him a freebie there, really. It was a huge momentum swing," Tolzien said of the Pierre-Paul interception.
Tolzien did do some good things in his first NFL start, throwing for 339 yards on 24-of-34 efficiency and leading a long touchdown drive early in the fourth quarter that brought the Packers within 20-13. His next series ended in disaster, however, with Pierre-Paul making an athletic leaping grab of the young quarterback's attempt in the flat and racing untouched to the end zone with 10:49 left to play.
Green Bay (5-5) has now dropped three straight since Rodgers exited the team's Week 9 loss to Chicago early with a fractured left collarbone.
Conversely, New York (4-6) has now reeled off four consecutive wins since a dreadful 0-6 start. Pierre-Paul's touchdown highlighted a strong defensive effort that limited the Packers to 55 rushing yards, while Victor Cruz paced the offense with an eight-catch, 110-yard performance.
"We're playing better defense, we've rushed the ball better, we've done a little better job tightning up with the turnovers," Giants head coach Tom Coughlin said of the team's winning streak.
Eli Manning added a touchdown pass to Rueben Randle and finished with 279 yards and an interception on a 25-of-35 completion rate.
Jordy Nelson racked up 117 yards on eight catches for Green Bay, with Jarrett Boykin amassing 91 yards on six grabs.
Tolzien's starting debut began ominously, as the Packers' first two drives both ended in three-and-outs during an opening quarter in which the Giants dominated en route to building a 10-0 lead less than a minute into the second.
Randle helped set up New York's initial score with a 32-yard punt return into Packers' territory, then hauled in Manning's bullet down the middle shortly afterward for a 26-yard touchdown that sent the Giants in front with 5:43 remaining in the period.
Cruz's 30-yard catch-and-run on New York's next possession, along with a 5- yard rush on 4th-and-1, helped set up a 40-yard field goal from Josh Brown that extended the margin to double-digits.
Tolzien began to find a groove on the ensuing trip, finding Nelson for a 25- yard gain and connecting with James Jones on a 45-yard deep strike that led to Mason Crosby's 24-yard field goal that got Green Bay on the board.
The Packers halted a potential scoring drive when Tramon Williams intercepted Manning deep in enemy territory late in the first half, and Tolzien got his team in range for Crosby to knock through a 57-yard field goal as time expired to bring Green Bay within 10-6 at the break.
Jon Beason intercepted Tolzien's second pass of the second half, however, and Manning hit Hakeem Nicks in stride for a 35-yard gain on the following play to bring New York to the Packers' 15. The Giants' offense stalled thereafter, though, and Brown came on for a 28-yard field goal to restore the 7-point differential.
After forcing another Packers' punt, Manning engineered a 10-play, 63-yard march to enable New York to create some distance. He went 6-for-6 on the sequence, highlighted by a 25-yard connection with Cruz and an 8-yard delivery to Brandon Myers on 3rd-and-5 that created a 1st-and-goal from the three. Jacobs punched it in from a yard out two snaps later to give the Giants a 20-6 advantage late in the third quarter.
The Packers needed just five plays to answer. Boykin made an acrobatic 52-yard catch to put Green Bay back in the red zone, with Eddie Lacy powering off a 4- yard run to finish off the short trek and make it a one-possession game.
Green Bay's defense then induced a quick three-and-out, but Pierre-Paul came up with his interception immediately after the punt to turn the tide and put the Packers back in a 14-point hole.
Tolzien got Green Bay inside the Giants' 35 just after the two-minute warning, but his errant throw for Boykin down the middle was picked off by Antrel Rolle to end any comeback hopes.Game Notes
Lacy's touchdown was only the second allowed by the Giants' defense during the
team's four-game win streak ... Crosby's 57-yard kick was the second-longest
field goal in Packers history, surpassed only by his 58-yarder at Minnesota on
Oct. 23, 2011 ... New York has now won the last three meetings in the series,
following up a 37-20 victory at Lambeau Field in the 2011 NFC Playoffs with
last season's 38-10 triumph at home ... Lacy was held to 27 yards on 14