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Key to the game: All-around execution falls short in loss to Giants

Turnovers, Giants’ ground game snap Packers’ three-game win streak

Green Bay Packers LB Rashan Gary pursues New York Giants QB Tommy DeVito
Green Bay Packers LB Rashan Gary pursues New York Giants QB Tommy DeVito

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – A familiar trend that haunted the Packers earlier this season reemerged during Monday night's 24-22 loss to the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium.

Behind an elusive Tommy DeVito, the Giants rushed for 209 yards and two touchdowns on 34 carries (6.1 yards per rush) while edging Green Bay in both the turnover battle (3-2) and red-zone offense (New York's 3-of-4 to Green Bay's 2-of-3).

While the Giants struggled on third downs, all three of their conversions came on touchdown-producing drives. It was just enough to propel 5-8 New York past the 6-7 Packers in a game filled with wild swings and lead changes.

"They showed up and they made plays," defensive lineman Kenny Clark said. "We're in the NFL. You don't play your best ball – I don't care who you're going against – you're going to lose. Credit to the Giants. They made some great plays today and they showed up and we didn't."

Coming off three straight wins, the Packers went into Monday's matchup with the Giants understanding how critical it would be to stop Saquon Barkley and the Giants' run game.

Green Bay bottled up Barkley in the first half, but corralling DeVito proved difficult. After being sacked 28 times over four games, the undrafted rookie quarterback squirmed out of several pressures to move the chains 71 yards on 10 scrambles.

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.

Like last year's win over the Packers in London, the Giants also used the Wildcat formation to break a 32-yard Wan'Dale Robinson run that set up New York's first score in the second quarter – a 5-yard Barkley TD run.

Barkley shook off a slow start to finish with 86 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries. The Giants improved to 4-0 this year when the two-time Pro Bowl running back scores a TD.

Once the Giants' run game was going, Green Bay struggled to get after DeVito en route to finishing with no sacks and just two QB hits.

"We got back there and just didn't finish on the quarterback and the quarterback had some rush lanes and he made some plays," Clark said. "When you got the run game going, you don't have to pass. They did a good job all day with the run game. When you do that, play-action and all that kind of stuff – you can have whatever you want."

The Packers still had several chances to turn back the Giants, who missed on their first scoring opportunity in the first quarter when kicker Randy Bullock missed a field goal after New York took possession of the ball at the Green Bay 32.

The Packers nabbed both of their takeaways in the second half, as safety Rudy Ford jumped on a loose ball at the Giants' 14-yard line after Daniel Whelan's 36-yard punt hit New York safety Bobby McCain for the fumble.

The Packers took a lead late in the fourth quarter after Barkley fumbled without anyone touching him at the tail end of a 33-yard run. Rookie cornerback Carrington Valentine jumped on the ball and returned it 50 yards to the Giants' 36.

The ensuing drive resulted in a nine-play, 36-yard scoring drive that culminated in an 8-yard touchdown pass to Malik Heath from Jordan Love with 1 minute, 33 seconds remaining.

"He hit the ground and I saw him hit the ground and nobody touched him," said Valentine of Barkley's fumble. "The ball popped out and I grabbed it and I started running."

Conversely, the Packers had too many lapses in execution in all three phases. Love threw an interception and lost a fumble in the second quarter, but the Giants failed to add points off either turnover.

The third time was the charm, though. After the Packers' defense forced a three-and-out to start the second half, returner Keisean Nixon muffed a punt. He jumped on the initial ball but then fumbled it again after regaining his footing.