Despite roaring offensively in the early going, Odell Beckham Jr. and the New York Giants failed to capitalize against the Green Bay Packers.

  • New York Giants 13 (0-1)
  • Green Bay Packers 38 (1-0)
  • NFL Playoffs, Wild Card Round, Final, Box Score
  • Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wisconsin

“Playoff Eli,” as some like to call him when he enters tournament play, certainly showed up. Even those who have, in the past, referred to Eli Manning as “the weak link” of the New York Giants offense, would have to admit the clutch version of the future hall of fame QB came to play on Sunday at Lambeau Field.

The problem for Big Blue during the NFC Wild Card Round was that the supposed strength of Ben McAdoo’s offense, the wide receivers, choked away the game. With the offensive line actually holding up in pass protection and Manning humming the ball around the field, Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard dropped two passes apiece.

One from OBJ was on a critical 10-yard hook on 3rd-down while other came on a wide open fade route that Beckham would usually snag 10-out-of-10 times.

The missed opportunities led to two Robbie Gould field goals and an early 6-0 lead. Although the Giants dominated the first half of play, the game ultimately turned into a 38-13 Green Bay Packers playoff victory.

The backbreaker came prior to halftime when Aaron Rodgers found Randall Cobb on a 42-yard Hail Mary with no time remaining:

Despite that sting New York was forced to carry into halftime, Manning struck back early in the third quarter after his defense stuffed the Packers on a 4th-and-short situation. Mike McCarthy inexplicably went for it and it backfired when Tavarres King cashed in on a blown coverage:

From a Giants perspective, that was all she wrote. Rodgers, a man who stunk up the joint in the first half and seemed stunned by the brilliant mix of Steve Spagnuolo pressures, torched the Giants secondary freshly dubbed NYPD (New York Pass Defense).

He found Cobb again, for his second score of the game in a direct answer to the King TD:

Rodgers finished with 362 yards, four touchdowns, and no interceptions on 25-of-40 passing. Cobb led the Pack with three touchdowns in total and 116 yards on five grabs. Davante Adams hauled in eight receptions for 125 yards and a score.

What worked for Spags and a tough Giants defense in the first half completely fell apart in the second. The conventional pass rush led by Olivier Vernon simply did nothing.

Additionally, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was injured early and missed the remainder of the contest. When DRC was missing in the second half, Rodgers targeted Trevin Wade often.

The Green Bay fan will argue that the DRC injury was canceled out by the Jordy Nelson variety. In the first half, Nelson was hit in the ribs by veteran Leon Hall and he, also, did not return to the game.

From an offensive perspective, while the O-Line did a good job early in pass protection, they could never move a feisty GB front-seven who was primed to stop the run. Paul Perkins mustered just 30 yards on 10 carries.

Manning’s day consisted of 299 yards and that lone touchdown to King on 23-of-43 passing. He also threw a desperation interception that meant very little. While the numbers may look pedestrian, nothing about Manning’s play suggested “weak link” of the offense.

The most disappointing aspect offensively came out wide. Beckham finished with just four grabs for a mere 28 yards. Shepard went for 54 while Cruz gathered 30.

Unfortunately, the narrative surrounding the events of Monday will revolve around the wide receiver’s trip to Miami last week. It’ll go down this way purely due to the horrid performance put up by such a talented crop of weapons. This, even with the Packers banged up at the corner position.

Manning was “Playoff Manning.” The defense, while they did struggle in the second half, confused and bamboozled Rodgers in the first half.

This loss comes down to the Giants offense stars, Beckham and Shepard, not making plays count as TDs early when everything was going for them, and the defensive line not generating a conventional four-man pass rush when Rodgers had finally figured out that tricky Spags blitz.

If Odell Beckham Jr. wants the spotlight, he needs to deliver. The only way he’ll be remembered as a legend is if he starts making the great clutch catch, not just the spectacular one.

The Packers will now head to Dallas to take on the No. 1 seeded Cowboys while the Giants have a date with cleaning out the lockers.

Robby Sabo is a co-founder, CEO and credentialed New York Jets content creator for Jets X-Factor - Jet X, which includes Sabo's Sessions (in-depth film breakdowns) and Sabo with the Jets. Host: Underdog Jets Podcast with Wayne Chrebet and Sabo Radio. Member: Pro Football Writers of America. Coach: Port Jervis (NY) High School. Washed up strong safety and 400M runner. SEO: XL Media. Founder: Elite Sports NY - ESNY (Sold in 2020). SEO: XL Media. Email: robby.sabo[at]