Packers’ defense pays for lack of pre-snap urgency

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The same goes for the offense, which was just as inconsistent but in a different fashion, scoring 20 points in the first half and then getting blanked in the second half.

While any number of moments proved critical – the third-down sack taking the Packers out of field-goal range in the third quarter, and the consecutive batted passes on third and fourth down inside the New York 10-yard line late in the game obviously qualify – LaFleur provided the most detailed explanation on the heavily scrutinized all-passing three-and-out that followed the Giants’ tying touchdown in the fourth quarter.

On first down, the Giants were in a single-high safety look, and he wanted to attack it, but Allen Lazard got bumped off his route on the right side without an illegal contact flag being thrown.

On second down, quarterback Aaron Rodgers had the choice to run or throw based on the defensive look, and he turned to an in-breaking route by Cobb that had converted a crucial third-and-1 in overtime the previous week against the Patriots. They’d also run that same concept, which LaFleur referred to as a “premier play,” to Romeo Doubs earlier in the game for a 22-yard gain, but this time a slightly high throw went off Cobb’s hands incomplete.

“Now you’re sitting in third-and-10,” LaFleur said. “And I understand that, going into it, you’re going to have to stand up here today and answer for that, and I’m perfectly fine with that, as long as our process and our thought process is in the right spot. Unfortunately, from a results standpoint, it didn’t work out.”

The all-pass sequence looks even worse when by game’s end, running backs Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon have combined for just 19 carries despite averaging 5.1 yards per rush. The “run solutions,” which are quick horizontal throws at Rodgers’ discretion that moved the ball effectively throughout the game, certainly took opportunities away from the backs.

LaFleur also admitted he has to be more mindful of how often his 1-2 punch in the backfield is actually getting the ball, not just how many plays were called for them that might’ve changed on the spot.

“But I don’t think one sequence or one play was the deciding factor in that game,” he said. “Just the consistency with which we played, or lacked in the second half is why we lost the game.”

Ultimately, when things started going south, the offense didn’t pick up the defense, nor vice versa, to stem the tide as the Giants’ comeback gained serious steam.

“When you’re up on a team 17-3 at one point in the game, … you have to put a team like that away. And we didn’t,” LaFleur said. “We let them hang around, and we all know how this momentum game works in our league. Once it starts flipping, it doesn’t matter who you’re playing. It’s real, it happens. Unfortunately, we were on the wrong side of that.”


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Mike Spofford

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