GREEN BAY—The Packers defense allowed a 59-yard screen-pass completion on just the fourth play of Sunday night's game, and never did anything to halt the Giants' momentum.
"This is the first time on the road we faced adversity early. They hit us with that screen and kind of got us back on our heels," Packers Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers said, as he answered media questions the day after the Packers' 38-10 defeat in MetLife Stadium.
Fresh off one of the defense's best performances of the season in a win in Detroit, the Packers surrendered 390 yards, 23 first downs, 147 yards rushing and sacked quarterback Eli Manning only once. It's a performance that caused the Packers' defensive rankings to drop in most major statistical categories, to 17th overall, 11th against the run and 22nd against the pass.
"You have to find some way to break that momentum. We weren't able to do that," Capers said. "We weren't able to get off the field on third down."
The Giants were six of 12 in third-down conversion attempts.
Rookie defensive back Casey Hayward had a chance for an interception – he might've returned it for a touchdown – in Giants territory early in the game, but dropped the ball.
"We didn't make those plays to change the momentum," Capers said.
Hayward leads the Packers in interceptions, five, but he played sparingly as a nickel slot back. The Giants seemed to target cornerback Davon House, who continues to play with a harness that restricts motion and protects a preseason shoulder injury.
"It was a different game because we weren't involved in as many sub packages. We were in Okie personnel. We liked House out there against their big, physical receivers," Capers explained.
Translation: The Giants didn't do a lot by formation. They lined up in predictable sets and won the one-on-one confrontations. Clearly, they wanted to keep the Packers' base personnel on the field.
"They had a good plan and were able to keep momentum on their side," Capers said.
The Giants' genius was in its mix of run and pass, which kept the Packers guessing.
"If you can get your running game going, you have to play both run and pass. They were able to mix run and play-pass," Capers added.
The Giants achieved a near perfect run-pass balance. They dominated the line of scrimmage and used their running game to win time of possession. Capers blamed lack of gap control and failed tackling for the Packers' failures against the run.
"We've got to learn from it, be accountable for it," Capers said. Additional coverage - Nov. 26