Packers' offensive line dominates in win over Giants

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  • By Jeremy Bergman NFL.com
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Aaron Rodgers took his sweet time behind a sturdy offensive line as the Green Bay Packers (3-1) dominated time of possession in a 23-16 victorious slog past the New York Giants (2-3).

1. Josh Sitton who? After the Packers' front office released the Pro Bowl guard in the offseason, many cheeseheads were scratching their heads as to the rationale of unloading Green Bay's top offensive lineman. Sunday night was a three-hour-long "See, I told you!"

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers sat comfortably in the pocket all night long, many times past five seconds, thanks to the work of David Bakhtiari, Lane Taylor, JC Tretter, T.J. Lang and Bryan Bulaga. The Packers' O-line stifled a reworked Giants defensive line that boasts Olivier Vernon and Jason Pierre-Paul, but has yet to put any pressure on opposing quarterbacks. New York's inability to sack or hit Rodgers off the snap allowed the quarterback to do what he does best: scramble and ad-lib. Rodgers rolled out frequently away from pressure and gave his receivers, who have struggled to separate from defensive backs, enough time to find space in the Giants' secondary -- for example, his first TD pass to Jordy Nelson came on a perfectly-designed boot. Thanks to Green Bay's line play, the Packers dominated time of possession (36:38 to 23:22) and salted away a needed win.

2. Fresh off a week of criticism, Odell Beckham (five rec, 56 yards) had his moments, including a toe-tapping touchdown late. But where were his friends? With Green Bay's top two cornerbacks out due to injuries, Sterling Shepard and Victor Cruz were primed to feast on an undermanned Packers secondary. Instead, two of New York's vaunted trio went M.I.A. Shepard caught just two passed on seven targets, while Cruz failed to haul in a single reception and was targeted twice. Eli Manning's inability to exploit the supposed mismatches in the secondary should be looked at as a missed opportunity.

3. Message to future opponents: Don't run on the Packers. Or try and fail, whatever you prefer. Sans starter Rashad Jennings, the Giants struggled to establish a running game early against Green Bay's league-best run defense with Orleans Darkwa and Bobby Rainey toting the rock. It was only late in the game, with the Packers dropping rushers back, that New York found any room to run. The Packers came into Sunday night's contest allowing just 1.8 yards per rush and boosted that reputation even further, allowing just 43 yards on 15 attempts.

4. One bright spot for the Giants was Janoris Jenkins. The cornerback was matched up on Rodgers favorites Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams for most of the night and stood his ground. Jenkins recorded, what was at the time, a crucial interception late in the first quarter that squashed a Packers scoring drive. The new addition added a second interception late in the second quarter, diving in front of Adams to switch field possession and momentum.

5. Eddie Lacy turned in one of his more impressive outings before leaving due to injury. Displaying nimble footwork and great acceleration, Lacy ran behind the aforementioned Great Wall of Acme for 81 yards on 11 carries. Unfortunately, the running back left in the third quarter with a left ankle injury, and despite being listed as questionable to return, did not re-enter the affair.

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