GREEN BAY, Wis. - The Giants knew all about how Aaron Rodgers likes to get rid of the bal quickly, how he hits the quick slants and the post routes with ease. Even so, the Giants were powerless Sundayto stop the Packers' Pro Bowl quarterback from operating as efficiently as he has all season. In fact, this was about as good as Rodgers has looked in his career.
"We practiced it all week, but he still got it done," safety Deon Grant said. "He's a great quarterback, and he had all the answers for us. We practiced just what they called, and we knew what was coming, but still, it wasn't good enough."
Rodgers torched the Giants' secondary for a career-high 404 yards, and tied his career high with four touchdown passes. He finished with a 139.9 rating and put the Packers in position to gain a playoff berth with a win Sunday against the Bears. The Giants? Rodgers may have sealed their playoff fate, because the Giants need a win over the Redskins and help from elsewhere to get in.
"It was missed opportunities," cornerback Terrell Thomas said. "They made plays and we didn't. It's unfortunate. I don't know if they wanted it more, but we couldn't catch a break."
Greg Jennings led the Packers' receivers with seven catches for 142 yards, while Jordy Nelson had four catches for 124 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown on the Packers' second possession. Nelson ran a skinny post down the middle and beat coverage by safety Antrel Rolle before outracing Rolle and Grant into the end zone.
"He likes to get his receivers in one-on-one matchups, and he did a good job of that against us," Rolle said. "We tried to run what the coaches called, but they did a better job than we did. It's a matter of executing the defense, and we didn't do it. They always managed to find the opening in our defense, and Rodgers threw a lot of his passes where only his receivers could get it."
It's been a stark turnaround for a pass defense that once was one of the Giants' biggest strengths. Combined with a fourth-quarter meltdown against the Eagles last week, the Giants have given up 73 points in less than five quarters.
"We're not giving up, by any means, but we have to go look at the film and correct our mistakes," Grant said. "I think we all have to be accountable. When you look at it, each individual is not making the plays we're supposed to, and when that happens, you're going to get breakdowns. That's what was happening today, and we couldn't stop it."
The Giants have only one more week to stop it, or else they miss the playoffs. And even if they beat the Redskins in Washington, they still might miss the postseason for the second year in a row. Last year, they finished 8-8 after going 6-2 over their first eight games. After another 6-2 getaway this season, the Giants are 3-4 in their last seven games.
"We have to find a way," Grant said. "The reason I signed here was to play in January and then get to February. We have a chance, but it's not all in our control anymore."