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Game recap: 5 takeaways from Packers' loss to Giants

Every phase of the game “wasn’t good enough”

Green Bay Packers QB Jordan Love
Green Bay Packers QB Jordan Love

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Packers lost to the Giants, 24-22, on a walk-off field goal at the end of a crazy fourth quarter Monday night at MetLife Stadium.

Here are five takeaways from the disappointing defeat that dropped Green Bay to 6-7:

  1. This was a poor performance all-around, the close score and last-minute decision notwithstanding.

Head Coach Matt LaFleur said after the game he didn't see the letdown coming the way the Packers were playing, and after a good week of practice. But that only added to the disappointment.

"You can look and nitpick each phase of the game," LaFleur said. "Special teams wasn't good enough. Offense wasn't good enough. Defense wasn't good enough. All three collectively, and when you're bad in all three phases, that's what happens. You lose the game."

Check out photos from the Week 14 matchup between the Green Bay Packers and New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on Monday, Dec. 11, 2023.

  1. The Packers were on the verge of a miracle win they probably didn't deserve.

It looked as though the Packers were headed to a 21-16 defeat when Giants running back Saquon Barkley broke into the clear for a fourth-quarter run that likely would've sealed the game.

Only Barkley fumbled on his own as he stumbled to the ground, and Packers cornerback Carrington Valentine scooped it up and returned it 50 yards, setting up an unthinkable go-ahead TD pass to receiver Malik Heath with 1:33 left.

But the potential miracle was erased by one final letdown, as the Giants drove into field-goal range, highlighted by a 32-yard pass to Wan'Dale Robinson that made the ending feel inevitable.

"We obviously gave up too many chunk plays, lost our leverage twice," LaFleur said. "Explosive plays lead to points. You cannot do that in that critical situation. We were off – way off – on one of the throws where they get an easy hitch and gain like 10 yards. It was just bad ball."

  1. Final drive aside, the blame was everywhere.

Quarterback Jordan Love turned the ball over twice on a fumble and interception on back-to-back drives in the first half. The Packers also had three straight possessions crack the New York 30-yard line in the second half but got only six points on two field goals (plus a missed kick).

In addition to that special-teams miscue, Keisean Nixon muffed a punt return, and penalties in the return game in the first half damaged field position considerably.

Nixon's biggest mistake, which led to a Giants touchdown, was trying to get up and run with the ball after the muff rather than just stay down after he fell on it to save the possession.

"Yeah, absolutely, you can't do that," LaFleur said. "You're kind of in a panic mode anyways when you muff the ball. You re-gather that and just not the smartest play in that situation."

The Packers got another gift turnover on special teams when a high punt hit an unsuspecting Giants player and Green Bay recovered in the red zone. But it only led to a field goal.

Ultimately that, along with the missed field goal and failed two-point play after the late touchdown – which LaFleur criticized himself for a "bad call" on a Jayden Reed sweep run – left too many points out there.

"We had plenty of opportunities to win that game," said Love, who called his own play not good enough as he went 25-of-39 for 218 yards with one TD, one INT and a 76.7 rating. "Didn't execute good enough. It's disappointing for sure."

  1. The run defense was a major issue on that side of the ball again.

For the fourth time this year, an opponent rushed for more than 200 yards on the Packers. Barkley had 86 on 20 carries with two TDs, getting 34 on the play that ended with his blunder.

Robinson added a 32-yard run off a wildcat pitch from Barkley to set up a TD, and QB Tommy DeVito's scrambling and read-option runs accounted for 71 yards on 10 attempts as the much-sacked quarterback proved very elusive. All told, the Giants had 34 rushes for 209 yards as they won their third straight and improved to 5-8.

DeVito also wasn't sacked as he was an efficient 17-of-21 for 158 yards with a TD and 113.9 passer rating.