EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.—Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy didn't hide his emotions for his team's 38-10 loss to the New York Giants on Sunday night.
"We were thoroughly beat this evening. We were beat in every facet. It starts with me. When a team is beat like that, it starts with the coach," McCarthy said in a postgame press conference like none in recent memory. McCarthy even hinted that Sunday's loss at MetLife Stadium might be the worst in his seven years as the team's coach.
At the root of the Packers' loss were five sacks of Aaron Rodgers by the Giants who, again, were able to disrupt the Packers' passing attack with a four-man rush. It was the same formula the Giants used last January to win at Lambeau Field and knock the Packers from the playoffs.
"The New York Giants have an outstanding defensive line. We had a plan. We didn't execute it very well. We got away from it and went to some spread things that didn't work very well. That was my fault, bad play calling," McCarthy said.
Green Bay's plan for neutralizing the most feared four-man pass rush in the league likely involved making the Giants defense play run as well as pass. Seventeen first-quarter points by the Giants quickly made the Packers one-dimensional, however, and as the Packers turned harder to the pass, the Giants turned harder to the pass rush.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers was forced to scramble from the rush on several occasions. In addition to the five sacks, the Giants totaled seven quarterback hurries. One of the sacks resulted in a fumble the Giants recovered in scoring territory with 1:03 to play in the first half. They quickly converted that Packers turnover into a touchdown that staked the Giants to a 31-10 lead at halftime.
The Giants gained 390 yards of offense, including 147 rushing. They registered 23 first downs, converted six of 12 third downs and committed no turnovers.
Eli Manning was at his best following consecutively poor performances in losses to Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. Manning threw for 249 yards, three touchdowns and a 114.4 passer rating.
Rodgers was outpointed by an opposing quarterback for one of the few times in the last three years. He threw for 219 yards, one touchdown, one interception and an 81.9 passer rating. Considering the pressure he was under, it was an accomplishment that he avoided injury.
"When your quarterback is under pressure like that, it affected me tonight," McCarthy said of the effect the Giants' pass rush had on the coach's play calling. "You have to protect your quarterback. It's the offense's No. 1 responsibility."
The loss ends a five-game winning streak and leaves the Packers at 7-4 and a game behind the Bears in the NFC North title race. The Packers' advantage is a Week 2 win over the Bears.
"This is a game that makes everybody look inside and find out what you're all about. It doesn't taste good, it doesn't feel good. The most important thing is accountability, responsibility. Everything we want to accomplish is in front of us," McCarthy said.
Four of the Packers' five remaining games are against NFC North opponents, beginning with this Sunday's game at Lambeau Field against the Minnesota Vikings.
"We have to make the most of them. Go back home and get some home cooking," Rodgers said.