Off To San Francisco!

Thanks to a dominant offense and yet another outstanding defensive performance, the Giants beat Green Bay 37-20 Sunday in the NFC semifinal and are now off to San Francisco for the NFC Championship game.

They did it again!

And now they're off to second-seeded San Francisco for a shot at the Super Bowl.

Aided by five takeaways, the last gathered in by Deon Grant with 2:36 remaining in the game, and a stellar offensive effort, the Giants beat top-seeded Green Bay 37-20 at Lambeau Field.

It's not as surpising that they beat Aaron Rodgers' high-scoring offense up there, since they pulled off a similar upset over Brett Favre in their 2007 Super Bowl run. But the margin of victory was astounding considering all the defensive issues the Giants had gone through this year.

This time, they forced three fumbles and picked off Rodgers twice, as well as sacking him four times (two each by Michael Boley and Osi Umenyiora). And the offense produced a 21-of-33, 330-yard passing performance from Eli Manning that included a heart-stopping 37-yard Hail Mary touchdown throw to Hakeem Nicks (seven catches, 165 yards, two TDs) to end the first half up 20-10.

The Packers had cut the score to 20-13, but the Giants pulled away in the fourth quarter, first by sacking Rodgers on fourth-and-5 from the Giants' 39 to start a field goal drive, and then by hitting Mario Manningham for a touchdown the play after Kenny Phillips knocked a short completion loose from Ryan Grant and Chase Blackburn returned it to the Packers' 4.

Green Bay's receivers also chipped in to help the Giants, dropping eight of Rodgers' passes as he went 26-of-46 for 264 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.

Though the ground game reaped only 95 yards, Brandon Jacobs ended the scoring with a 14-yard run around right end with 2:36 remaining.

The Giants head off for the Bay City now, knowing full well from their first experience with the 49ers that quarterback Alex Smith has become a dangerous entity and that a now healthy Frank Gore can chew up a run defense that allowed 147 yards Sunday.

But for now, a rewarding run has now turned toward the improbable, with stark similarities to the 2007 Super Bowl run. The Giants knocked off No. 1-seeded Dallas in the conference semifinal then, too, before heading up to frigid second seed Green Bay to get to the Super Bowl.

The difference was, neither of the Dallas and Green Bay victories was as decisive and dominant as Sunday's.

Here's the good and bad.


HAKEEM NICKS: Another big-play day for the Giants' big playmaker, as he caught seven passes for 165 yards and two touchdowns. This time there was a 66-yarder in the first quarter where he caught a 20-yard pass and bounced off Charlie Peprah and outran the rest of the secondary to the end zone for a 10-3 lead. Then, minutes after yet another escape, he gathered in Manning's half-ending desperation throw to the end zone between two defenders to extend an unlikely halftime lead to 20-10. Nicks, now the only Giants receiver in history with four postseason touchdown catches, finished that half with a whopping 152 yards on five catches with two touchdowns.

Antrel Rolle: He recovered a late second-quarter fumble by John Kuhn and returned it to the Packers' 34 to give the Giants a chance to break the 10-10 tie. Lawrence Tynes converted the first Giants' turnover of the game into a field goal and a 13-10 lead.

Ahmad Bradshaw: His 23-yard, change-of-direction gallop to the Packers' 37 as the Giants appeared to be running out the first-half clock set up Manning's dramatic Hail Mary throw to Nicks. Bradshaw came all the way across the field to find open space and still got out of bounds with six seconds left. He finished with 12 carries for 63 yards.

OSI UMENYIORA: As the Packers drove on the first drive of the second half, the defensive end came in and swatted the ball from Rodgers' hands, with Deon Grant recovering at the Giants' 37.

MICHAEL BOLEY: As Rodgers went for it on fourth-and-5 from the Giants' 39 in the fourth quarter, Boley stormed in and recorded his second sack of the day to stop the potential game-tying threat.

KENNY PHILLIPS: He knocked out a reception by Ryan Grant and Chase Blackburn returned it to the 4 to set up Manning's fourth-quarter scoring throw to Mario Manningham to put the Giants up 30-13 with 6:43 left. It maked the Packers' fourth turnover of the game, after giving the ball up only 14 times during the regular season.


OFFENSIVE LINE: Believe it or not, that 20-10 halftime advantage could have been even bigger had the line not allowed LB Brad Jones to block reliable Lawrence Tynes' 40-yard field goal attempt in the second quarter. Tynes got that back when his 35-yarder went through to make it a two-score game in the fourth quarter.

UMENYIORA: He came in a bit too high on Rodgers on an unsuccessful third-down pass in the fourth quarter and got nailed for roughing the passer, giving the Packers a first down that led to a touchdown that tightened the score to 10 points with under five minutes remaining. The officials caught some criticism for the call, but it did appear Umenyiora's helmet hit Rodgers' on the side.

The Giants Beat Top Stories