The crowd had plenty of reason to cheer.
Three interceptions. Four touchdown passes. Staying energized to combat the 32-degree cold.
Here’s the catch: Snow covered the Giants’ home field, but the Cheesehead-wearing visitors chanted “Go Pack go!” and braved what could be considered warm temperatures where they come from.
Giants fans mostly stayed away in droves or stayed quiet — alarming signs for attentive owner John Mara as he weighs the critical decision of whether to stick with coach Pat Shurmur — and Aaron Rodgers predictably carved up an overmatched young secondary to lead the Packers to a 31-13 victory at MetLife Stadium.
The Giants really couldn’t ask for a better situation than this early in the fourth quarter: The Packers faced third-and-goal from the 17-yard line — after a holding penalty took a touchdown off the scoreboard — and one more stop would force a field goal and keep it a one-score game.
Heck, the Giants even had an extra defender on the field for the play.
But Rodgers threw over the middle to Davante Adams, who made his second touchdown catch with three confused defenders encircling him. The penalty was declined and the Packers (9-3) led 24-13.
Rodgers threw for 241 yards and four touchdowns to send the Giants (2-10) to their eighth straight loss, the longest slide since the final eight of coach Jim Fassel’s last season in 2004.
Freezing rain at kickoff quickly turned to snow. Before the end of the first quarter, the stadium crew was shoveling every 5 yards during commercials.
Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (20 of 37 for 240 yards, three interceptions) didn’t fumble for the first time in four games, but he offered another mixed bag. He threw two head-scratching picks — not many of those during his rookie season — but strung together two of his best drives in the first half.
A game-tying 11-play, 71-yard march included a fourth-down conversion to Darius Slayton and a perfectly thrown 18-yard pass to Sterling Shepard just as the pocket collapsed. Shepard, the Giants’ best route-runner, smoked his defender in one-on-one coverage.
Trailing 17-7, Jones led an 18-play, 66-yard drive that took 9 minutes 31 seconds. It ended with a high throw into the end zone from a well-protected third-down pocket, settling for a 27-yard field goal.
Jones, who was hit so squarely on one run that the “Y” flew off his interlocking helmet logo, went into the medical tent late in the second quarter. He limped through the final plays of the second scoring drive but didn’t miss any action, so Eli Manning’s next — final? — appearance will have to wait.
Colin Holba — in his first game replacing 13-year stalwart Zak DeOssie — had no trouble long snapping on the icy field and struggling kicker Aldrick Rosas banged through all three of his kicks, including a 45-yard field goal as the Giants pulled within 17-13 with 6:41 remaining.
Rodgers’ pitch-and-catch continued as the Packers scored on three of their four first-half possessions.
A 37-yard touchdown to Allen Lazard on a post route revealed how easy it would be. Because of the white track, it was easy to trace the footsteps of Lazard and turned-around safety Antoine Bethea — and the wide gap between the two sets showed just how open the receiver was without deep help.
Putting the big-play susceptible Bethea alone in one-on-one coverage is a questionable decision by coordinator James Bettcher, but, if he can’t trust his 34-year-old, what can he do? First- and second-year players Sam Beal, DeAndre Baker and Grant Haley all gave up big plays.
Saquon Barkley had his best game since suffering a high ankle sprain in Week 3, rushing 19 times for 83 yards with another 32 yards receiving. But the Packers’ fourth-quarter score prevented him from impacting the outcome.
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