17 - 45 Final
  for this game

Packers crush Giants, bolster playoff hopes

Dec 27, 2010 - 4:08 AM Green Bay, WI (Sports Network) - Green Bay kept its playoff hopes alive by picking a fresh wound, sending the New York Giants to another embarrassing loss.

Only this one lasted most of the game, not just the final eight minutes.

Aaron Rodgers returned from a concussion to throw for a career-high 404 yards and four touchdowns, and the Packers intercepted Eli Manning four times in a 45-17 rout on Sunday.

Green Bay (9-6) can clinch a wild card berth with a win at home next Sunday over NFC North-rival Chicago, which captured the division title last week.

Meanwhile, New York's postseason chances were dealt a serious blow. The Giants (9-6) would have made the playoffs with a victory in Green Bay. Instead, they turned the ball over six times and handed snowed-out Philadelphia the NFC East title.

The division lost, New York will need a victory next week in Washington and a Packers loss -- or a victory plus two losses by the New Orleans Saints -- just to earn a wild card berth.

"We didn't play well enough to win. Plain and simple," Manning said.

Making matters worse, the Giants were grounded in Green Bay because of the same East Coast snow storm that postponed the Eagles-Vikings game until Tuesday night.

Rodgers missed last week's loss to New England, but returned to tie a career high with his four touchdown passes, picking apart the Giants defense while completing 25 of his 37 throws for a 139.9 passer rating.

"My arm felt like it was live," said Rodgers.

He threw an 80-yard touchdown pass to Jordy Nelson in the first quarter to give the Packers a 7-0 lead. They would never trail after that, although the Giants would tie the game before halftime.

Fullback John Kuhn scored three touchdowns -- two rushing, one receiving -- including a pair in the fourth quarter that sealed the win. Greg Jennings led all players with seven receptions and 142 yards, though he didn't catch any of Rodgers' TD passes.

Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said his team played one of its most complete games and said it "absolutely" felt like a playoff atmosphere.

"You had to put it in that category," he said. "We had no other choice."

The Giants were humiliated for the second week in a row and are tied with the Packers and Tampa Bay for the NFC's wild card berth.

After giving up four touchdowns in the final eight minutes in their loss to the Eagles -- including DeSean Jackson's buzzer-beating punt return -- the Giants turned the ball over six times against Green Bay.

Manning passed for 301 yards and two touchdowns, but was picked off four times. Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw both fumbled and the New York running backs combined for just 78 yards on 20 carries.

Green Bay gained 515 yards and picked up 27 first downs. New York had 386 yards of offense, but wasted a lot of it.

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin told his team afterward that there is no way to win in the NFL while turning the ball over six times and said it's a "very bad component of our team."

"We thought we had it under control. But obviously we didn't," Coughlin said.

The Packers carried a 21-14 lead into halftime, responding to a pair of quick touchdown strikes by Manning -- including an 85-yarder to Mario Manningham -- with Kuhn's eight-yard TD run inside the 2:00 mark.

The Giants, needing a strong second half, instead finished with a whimper.

Bradshaw fumbled a direct snap when cornerback Charles Woodson got his hand on the ball, and the Packers turned it into a 10-point lead on Mason Crosby's 31- yard field goal.

New York responded with a 38-yard field goal from Lawrence Tynes to pull within 24-17. But the Packers restored their 14-point lead after Rodgers hit Donald Driver for 33 yards and Jennings for 36 to set up Donald Lee's one-yard touchdown catch with 4:44 left in the third quarter.

The Giants dodged a bullet on the ensuing kickoff when Hakeem Nicks' fumble was overturned -- his right forearm was ruled down -- but they turned the ball over anyway.

Linebacker Clay Matthews poked the ball from Jacobs' hands on the right sideline and the Packers recovered it at their 27 after a free-for-all scrum.

Making a play for the Packers was linebacker Desmond Bishop, who slapped the ball to keep it in bounds. Not making a play for the Giants was tight end Kevin Boss, who tried to advance the fumble instead of picking it up.

Green Bay punted, but any momentum from the overturned kickoff fumble was gone. Manning threw three more interceptions, and the first two were converted into Packers touchdowns.

A five-yard pass from Rodgers to Kuhn made it 38-17. Kuhn then scored his third touchdown on a one-yard run less than three minutes later, giving Green Bay its winning margin with 4:20 remaining.

The Packers took a 14-0 lead in the first quarter on two big plays -- one on offense, the other on defense.

On the first play of Green Bay's second possession, Rodgers hit Nelson with a short pass over the middle that the wideout took down the right sideline for his 80-yard score.

Tramon Williams intercepted Manning on the next series, and the Packers turned it into James Jones' three-yard touchdown catch in the front of the end zone for a 14-0 lead with 1:47 remaining in the first quarter.

Manning and the Giants tied the game with two big pass plays in the second quarter. They halved their deficit when Woodson slipped in coverage and Nicks took a catch down the right sideline for a 36-yard touchdown.

Manning then hit Manningham for an 85-yard score, finding him behind the defense on the left sideline to tie the game at 14-14. The Giants gained possession on a fumble after safety Antrel Rolle put his helmet on the ball and knocked it from Nelson's hands deep in New York territory.

The Packers came back to take the lead before halftime, moving ahead 21-14 on Kuhn's eight-yard touchdown run inside the 2:00 mark.

Game Notes

Green Bay snapped a two-game losing streak...The Giants' last two losses came on the heels of a three-game winning streak that had them zeroing in on the playoffs...Rodgers also threw four touchdown passes in a 31-3 win over Minnesota on November 21.