Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers was sacked five times in last night’s debacle at the hands of the New York Giants. Giants LB Mathias Kiwanuka led the charge with two sacks, while DE Osi Umenyiora had a sack and forced fumble.
Were the Giants pass rushers well rested from the bye week? Maybe so, but I believe there’s a lot more to it than just the rest. The Giants got a lot of coverage sacks and pressure, resulting from the secondary playing perhaps their best game of the season.
CB Corey Webster did blow his assignment against WR Jordy Nelson on the long touchdown that tied the game up at seven. However, Webster bounced back and picked off Rodgers later in the quarter. Many times throughout the game, Rodgers was forced to hold onto the ball a second or two longer because of good coverage.
Rodgers has been sacked a league-leading 37 times. This also explains why the Giants were able to apply pressure. The Packers offensive line, usually pretty good, have battled injuries and have not protected Rodgers all season. In their Monday Night Football game against the Seattle Seahawks in what has been dubbed the “Fail Mary,” Rodgers was sacked eight times in the first half alone.
This doesn’t discredit the Giants and their pass rushers. While DE Justin Tuck and DE Jason Pierre-Paul failed to join the sack party, they applied pressure on Rodgers numerous times, forcing him out of the pocket.
If the Giants want to continue to play the kind of ball they played last night, their pass rush will need to be like they were last night. That will also mean better secondary play. This was arguably their best performance of the season. If they keep this up, they can go at least 4-1 in their final five games.