Three interceptions by Scott Tolzien and more poor play out of the defense generated a third straight loss and further dimmed the Packers’ playoff hopes ahead of Aaron Rodgers’ return. Green Bay now sits a full game back of both the Lions and Bears in the NFC North, making next week’s meeting with the Vikings a must-win to keep pace in the division. The outcome will be largely dependent on the defense’s ability to return to form against the run and establish some sort of pass rush.
The highly-criticized cornerback made a big pitch to remain a Packer beyond this season, tallying a number of key tackles and an interception against the Giants. This type of performance was needed on a day where Davon House was forced to fill in for Sam Shields at the cornerback spot opposite Williams. It will be interesting to see what Ted Thompson and the front office do with Williams with one year left on his contract.
Unlike other areas of the roster, the Rodgers-less Packers got help from their receiving corps. against a talented Giants secondary. Jordy Nelson, Andrew Quarless and Jarrett Boykin all had highlight-reel catches, helping Scott Tolzien go over the 300-yard mark in passing. Unfortunately, no receiver was able to find pay dirt, one of many reasons for the Packers’ second straight loss of double digit points.
Hyde looked flat out atrocious in coverage versus the Giants, filling in for Casey Hayward in the slot. Hyde also continued to struggle in the kick return game, which consistently left the offense with poor starting field position. It’s disappointing to see Hyde falter in coverage and on kick returns after such a rousing start to his rookie season. However, his struggles on defense may be an indication that a move to safety in 2014 is in the works.
In a game where the Packers needed to play disciplined football, bonehead penalties were committed, leading to a number of third-and-longs for the inexperienced Tolzien. It’s understandable that, with all of Green Bay’s injuries, various sub-packages would create some confusion amongst backup personnel. However, if the Packers are to have any prayer at the postseason, newer faces will need to get up-to-speed quickly.