The Green Bay Packers look like a team without an identity now that Scott Tolzien is starting at quarterback in place of the injured Aaron Rodgers. They could not run the ball effectively against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, and despite big yardage numbers from Tolzien he turned it over three times as the Giants defeated the Packers by a score of 27-13.
The Giants got off to a solid start in the first quarter, going up 10-0 on the strength of Eli Manning and his receivers. On the opening drive, the Giants moved the ball well but the Packers' defense got bailed out by a facemask penalty on a New York offensive lineman and forced a punt. After a Packer three-and-out, the Giants converted a big drive that ended with a touchdown by Reuben Randle as he got behind Micah Hyde in zone coverage. Another three-and-out by Tolzien and company led to a field goal after the defense couldn't contain Victor Cruz, and it was a quick 10-0 hole for the Packers' offense.
The Packers struck back on their third drive, though, as Mike McCarthy let Tolzien open up the passing game off play-action. Two big passes to Jordy Nelson and James Jones got the Packers in the red zone, but then they got conservative again and settled for a field goal to make the score 10-3.
The defense bent, but eventually struck back on the next drive. Chris Banjo made a big tackle on the kick return at the ten yard line, but the defense gave up big chunks of yardage and let the Giants convert a 4th-and-one. However, Tramon Williams read an Eli Manning throw and picked off a pass in the red zone as Louis Murphy ran the wrong route, giving the ball back to Tolzien.
He couldn't get the Packers another score then, though. A big play-action pass to Brandon Bostick (during which big #86 shook off several defenders) got the Packers across midfield, but Marshall Newhouse allowed a big hit on Tolzien by Justin Tuck and the Packers punted yet again. A three-and-out by the Giants gave the Packers the ball back with less than a minute left before halftime.
Tolzien then went to work, throwing big passes to Jarrett Boykin and Jordy Nelson before spiking the ball with five seconds left at the 39 yard line. Mason Crosby hit a 57-yard field goal at the buzzer to make the game 10-6.
After halftime, Tozien threw a perfect lob pass to Jordy Nelson up the right sideline before being picked off in the middle of the field. Jon Beason dropped back in coverage and nabbed the pass, as Tolzien didn't appear to see him slipping back into zone. Manning then had a big completion to Victor Cruz, but the defense forced a field goal to make the score 13-7.
The Packers then drove yet again, with a little tough running from Lacy, to cross midfield before stalling out. Mike McCarthy called a fake punt on 4th and 7, but M.D. Jennings' run ended up a half-yard short and the Giants took over. Two more big plays to Cruz and a 3rd down conversion to Brandon Myers set up a Brandon Jacobs touchdown to make the score 20-6.
The Packers finally found the end zone on the next drive, as Jarrett Boykin's 53-yard reception set up a 4-yard touchdown from Eddie Lacy to pull the Packers to 20-13. Unfortunately, the Packers' next possession saw Tolzien throw another pick, as Jason Pierre-Paul snatched the pass out of mid-air at the line of scrimmage and took it 24 yards for the final points of the day.
All in all, Tolzien finished the day 24 of 34 for 339 yards, but he had no touchdowns and threw three interceptions, including one late in the game. Eddie Lacy gained only 27 yards on 14 carries, though he did have the one touchdown. On the receiving end, Jordy Nelson led the way with eight receptions for 117 yards.
The Packers lost out on their chance to pull even with the Lions and Bears (as Detroit lost to Pittsburgh earlier in the day and Chicago beat Baltimore), instead falling to 5-5 as the Giants moved up to 4-6.