“We picked the most inopportune time to play our worst ball,” Matthews told Yahoo! Sports’ Mike Silver. “The fact is, [the Giants] didn’t beat us; we beat ourselves. We need to play our best ball when it counts. This year, I expect us to be right back where we should be.”
The Packers finished the NFL regular season on a tear and was easily the best team at 15-1. But a streaking Giants team roared into Lambeau Field with Eli Manning slinging the football with elite ability and the Giants defense stifled Green Bay’s high-powered offense, something the defense simply wasn’t used to.
To hinge all credit for the Giants’ success on the Packers defense, as Matthews did, is disrespectful. The defense may have been more laid back than they should have been with high expectations for Rodgers and the offense, but the Giants were not going to be beat. They rolled through three of the NFL’s best teams to win their second Super Bowl in five seasons.
Manning was 21-of-33 passing for 330 yards and three touchdowns, including an astounding hail mary completion to Hakeem Nicks that only the Giants could have achieved at that point last season. The Packers inability to play strong defense could not be blamed there, where Green Bay was as tight as they had been all day—Nicks just made the play.
The Giants and Packers meet again this year during the regular season in Week 13 at MetLife Stadium on Sunday Night Football. We’ll see if Clay Matthews and the Packers find a way to beat themselves again.