Tuesday, September 25, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Rodgers powers Packers over Giants in NFC wild-card game

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Aaron Rodgers, master of the Hail Mary pass, struck again.

Rodgers overcame a sluggish start and finished with four touchdown passes, including a momentum-swinging 42-yard heave to Randall Cobb at the end of the second quarter, to lead the Packers to a 38-13 win Sunday over the Giants in an NFC wild-card game.

Green Bay advances to face Dallas in the division round.

Rodgers was 25-of-40 for 362 yards, continuing a remarkable run of quarterback play that helped the Packers win their final six games of the regular season to take the North Division. Cobb finished with five receptions for 116 yards and three scores.

For much of the first half, the Giants defense flustered the two-time league MVP. It got pressure on Rodgers, and the secondary blanketed the Packers' receivers. A few boos rained down from the stands at Lambeau Field after New York built a 6-0 lead on two Robbie Gould field goals.

As it turned out, Rodgers was just getting started.

"We hit a Hail Mary. That got us going," he said.

Green Bay scored two touchdowns in the final 2:20 of the second quarter, punctuated by the desperation pass by Rodgers.

With the ball on the Giants 42, Rodgers took the snap with six seconds left. He rolled right before heaving a throw from about the Packers 47. Cobb got behind three defensive backs near the back of the end zone to haul in the pass, getting both feet in before falling out of bounds.

"They boxed us out better than we played it," Giants coach Ben McAdoo said. "It was a heck of a throw, heck of a catch."

The Giants looked stunned, just like the Lions and Cardinals looked last season after Rodgers pulled off similar feats.

"Davante (Adams) made a bunch of plays," Rodgers said of one of his top receivers, "and Randall Cobb, who this offense has been missing for a long time. We're better with (No.) 18 on the field, and he showed it (Sunday)."

Rodgers and Cobb weren't done. They connected again on a 30-yard scoring pass late in the third for a 21-13 lead. That answered a Giants scoring drive that briefly cut the deficit to one.

A Packers defense ranked 21st in points allowed (24.3) coming into the game limited the production of Odell Beckham and the Giants receiving corps in spite of a battered secondary.

Beckham finished with four catches for 28 yards. Eli Manning was 23-of-44 for 299 yards, including a 41-yard touchdown pass to Tavarres King in the third. But the Giants were plagued by a series of drops by their receivers .

"It's a game of inches, and we were just … inches away from big plays," Beckham said.

Packers leading receiver Jordy Nelson was knocked out of the game with 11 minutes left in the second quarter with a rib injury.

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Published: 09/24/18