Rodgers, Packers rout G-Men
GREEN BAY, Wis.—Call it "Revenge of the Hail Mary" by Captain Hail Mary.
That play propelled the Packers to a 38-13 victory and a date at top-seeded Dallas in the divisional round next Sunday.
In the 2011 season, the Packers went 15-1 in the regular season but were routed 37-20 by the Giants in a divisional game at Lambeau. On the final play of the first half of that Jan. 15, 2012 game, Eli Manning connected with Hakeem Nicks for a 37-yard Hail Mary touchdown to give the Giants a 20-10 lead.
This time, Rodgers rolled out to his right and uncorked a high pass into the end zone. Cobb was behind four Giants defenders and the ball dropped over their hands and into the waiting mitts of Cobb on the final play of the half.
The Packers, outplayed for most of the half, ran into the locker room with a 14-6 lead.
"A lot," Rodgers said of the momentum swing. "It was kind of like that game we had five years ago."
Cobb, who had missed the past two games with an injured ankle, added two touchdowns in the second half—tying an NFL playoff record with three touchdown receptions—and Rodgers destroyed a Giants defense with three All-Pros in the secondary for 362 yards and four touchdowns.
Rodgers led the Packers (11-6) to their seventh consecutive win. During that span, he has thrown 19 touchdown passes and zero interceptions.
"He's playing tremendous football," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "He has spoiled all of us around here for a long time."
The Giants (11-6) were down, but they weren't out after the Hail Mary, thanks in part to a controversial decision by Packers coach Mike McCarthy early in the third quarter.
Facing a fourth-and-1 from the Packers' 42-yard line, McCarthy kept the offense on the field, and the Giants stuffed running back Ty Montgomery. One play later, the Giants were in the end zone when Manning found Tavarres King for a 41-yard touchdown pass that reduced the Packers' lead to 14-13
The Packers, however, answered. Having moved the ball to midfield, Rodgers went after slot cornerback Trevin Wade, who was in the game for injured veteran standout Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
First, it was a 20-yard gain over the middle to Davante Adams. Then it was a 30-yard catch-and-run touchdown by Cobb to put Green Bay in front 21-13.
"Very important," McCarthy said. "As a play-caller, as a head coach, you're sick to yourself. You feel totally responsible for the decision and the execution of the play and so forth, and then give up the play on the second down. But there's still a lot of football left."