Giants Stagger Defense Early
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Giants Stagger Defense Early

After playing remarkably air-tight defense to start the first 10 games, the Packers were wobbled early. Green Bay's defensive start on Sunday was particularly frustrating considering how dominant that unit had been in earlier games.

Green Bay Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers didn't wait for an opening question before diving into what he saw as the key to Sunday night's loss to the New York Giants.

You might say he started his media session quickly — in stark contrast to how his defense started the game.

"As we looked and evaluated the game this morning, one of the things that became very obvious to me was it was the first time this year (that the defense started slowly)," Capers said. "We had gone 10 straight games where we forced a team to punt (to start the game) with a three-and-out or one first down-and-out. We were the only team in the league to have done that. This is the first time, on the road, that we faced a little adversity early. They hit us with that 59-yard screen play and kind of got us on our heels. We didn't execute very well on that play."


Opening Drives vs. Packers Defense

Game 1: San Francisco — 0 first downs, 4 yards.

Game 2: Chicago — 0 first downs, minus-1 yards.

Game 3: Seattle — 0 first downs, 3 yards.

Game 4: New Orleans — 0 first downs, 9 yards.

Game 5: Indianapolis — 1 first down, 29 yards.

Game 6: Houston — 0 first downs, 8 yards.

Game 7: St. Louis — 1 first down, 26 yards.

Game 8: Jacksonville — 1 first down, 13 yards.

Game 9: Arizona — 0 first downs, minus-7 yards.

Game 10: Detroit — 0 first downs, 3 yards.

First 10 games: 3 first downs, 87 yards.

Game 11: N.Y. Giants — 2 first downs, 74 yards, 7 points.


Momentum was the operative word for Capers. Green Bay was eighth in third-down defense (35.5 percent) and New York was 17th in third-down offense (37.3 percent) but the Giants converted 6-of-12 third-down plays. All three of Eli Manning's touchdown passes came on third down. Manning typically had ample time in the pocket, a fact aided by a running attack in which Andre Brown (13 for 64) and Ahmad Bradshaw (10 for 58) combined for 23 attempts, 122 yards and two touchdowns.

"We had a couple of adversity situations where the ball was turned over and we responded well to one by holding them to a field goal, but then the other one right before the half, they scored a touchdown and really took the momentum into the locker room at half," Capers said. "This is a game where you have to find some way, when the momentum's going against you, to break that momentum. That was the thing we weren't able to do last night. Over the last few weeks, we've been playing the run awful well; we didn't play the run as well last night. There were a number of things – gap control, we've got to be sharper in our tackling. Again, I think the biggest thing is they got the momentum early in the game and we had some opportunities to make some plays but we didn't make those plays to change the momentum of the game. That's what you have to do in this business."


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.

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