PLAY OF THE GAME
The Packers dominated the first half but had nothing to show for it. They outgained the Eagles 268-164. They ran 47 plays to the Eagles' 26 and held the ball for 21 of 30 minutes. Still, the Packers trailed 10-3 at the break because they did nothing with all of that statistical dominance.
The key play came at the end of an impressive drive by the Packers. Starting at their 4-yard line and facing a 7-0 deficit, Eddie Lacy ran for 4 yards to convert a third-and-3. Scott Tolzien delivered a 36-yard strike to Jarrett Boykin when the Eagles jumped offside on third-and-9. Tolzien threw incomplete on third-and-1 at the Eagles' 26 but John Kuhn converted with a 2-yard run on fourth down. That set up a third-and-3 from the Eagles' 5. Jordy Nelson lined up in the left slot against 5-foot-10 cornerback Brandon Boykin. With the Eagles sending five rushers at Tolzien and Kuhn picking up blitzing safety Nate Allen, Nelson cut to the corner and immediately had a step on Boykin. If Tolzien leads Nelson, it's an easy touchdown in the back of the end zone. Even a jump ball wouldn't have been a bad option, given Nelson's 5-inch height advantage. Instead, Tolzien underthrew Nelson, Boykin undercut the route, made an easy interception and almost took it back the distance.
"Jordy did a seven route and I knew that the timing would probably be quick," Boykin said. "So, as soon he timed up to the seven route I turned my head trying to undercut it and I was able to get my hands on it. I am a little bit disappointed that I wasn't able to score, but it was a big stop in the red-zone so it was good."
Tolzien, playing in his first game since leading the Badgers to the Rose Bowl in 2010, had a solid day with 280 passing yards but it was this interception that was the play of the game.
"You always start with where you can get better and there's specific plays that you wish you had back," Tolzien said. "The first one you think about is the pick in the end zone. We had an awesome opportunity there and got a good look for the play we were running, really an ideal look, and looking back on that throw, I should have probably thrown it more back pylon. I could have thrown a better ball. Well, could have? Should have. You learn from that and try not to make that same mistake again."
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Through the first seven games, the Packers had allowed only 100 rushing yards twice, and one of those games was at Minnesota, when the Vikings got some garbage-time yardage with the game well out of hand.
The last two games, however, been a disaster for a defense that ranked fifth against the run with 94.5 yards allowed per game. After Chicago ran for 171 yards last week, the Eagles ripped the Packers for 204. The Eagles' LeSean McCoy ran 25 times for 155 yards, with 114 of those coming after halftime. His 30-yard run jump-started a touchdown that gave the Eagles a 17-3 lead early in the third quarter, and he had an 18-yard run as they extended the edge to 20-3 following Tolzien's second interception. Finally, with the Eagles trying to burn some clock, McCoy carried eight times for 50 yards, including a first-down runs for 14 and 9 yards.
"We just need to do a better job of being sound with our fundamentals and techniques as far as fitting it up, but I think you're really pointing to the fact that we weren't able to get off the field with these last two games," linebacker Clay Matthews said. "We just need to address the situation. In the fourth quarter, we obviously haven't played as well as we've had in the first three. It is addressed, it will continue to be addressed until we improve it, and right now we haven't done a good job, so that will be our emphasis going forward."
GAZING INTO THE CRYSTAL BALL
This is the game the Packers could not afford to lose without Aaron Rodgers. Green Bay is in eighth place in the NFC at 5-4. Carolina, with an upset win at San Francisco, is 6-3 and in fifth place in the NFC, with San Francisco also 6-3 and in sixth place. The 49ers have the tiebreaker of Green Bay. In seventh place is Chicago, which is 5-4 and with a victory in hand over Green Bay. Philadelphia is 5-5 and in ninth place and also with the tiebreaker.
Green Bay is practically in a must-win situation at the surging Giants next Sunday and at home against Minnesota the following week. Otherwise, the Packers will be sunk in tiebreakers because of their conference record.
0: Touchdowns in four trips into the red zone by Green Bay. That puts it 15-of-35 for the season, or 42.9 percent. The Packers were 68.1 percent last year, 65.2 percent in 2011 and 60.4 percent in 2011. They haven't been below 50 percent since a dismal 32.7 percent in 2006.
0: Career passes by Scott Tolzien since entering the league in 2011.
1: Quarterback drafted by GM Ted Thompson since grabbing Brian Brohm (second round) and Matt Flynn (seventh round) in 2008. Since then, Thompson selected 44 players. Only B.J. Coleman (seventh round, 2012) was a quarterback; Coleman is out of the league after being released after training camp.
1: Game in which the Packers have won the turnover battle this season. They've been even four times and lost four times. During McCarthy's tenure, the Packers have won the turnover battle in 63 of 120 games (tying 23 times and losing 34).
1: Home loss by the Packers over their previous 24 regular-season games at Lambeau before last week's game against Chicago.
2: Consecutive home losses, the first time since doing it twice in 2008.
3: Consecutive games without an interception by the Packers. Since Dom Capers took over as defensive coordinator, the Packers had just one two-game stretch (last year) without an interception. In fact, that was the only two-game stretch over the previous six seasons. The Packers hadn't gone three consecutive games since a four-game stretch in 2004.
3: Starting quarterbacks in as many weeks for the Packers once Scott Tolzien takes the first snap of the Giants. The Packers haven't used three starting quarterbacks in a season since Don Majkowski (eight), Mike Tomczak (seven) and Blair Kiel (one) in 1991.
3.3: Yards per carry by the Packers, their lowest of the season and a big dip from their top-ranked 5.04 average for the season.
5.5: Yards per carry by the Eagles, an improvement over their third-ranked average of 5.00 for the season.
6: Plays of third-and-1 and third-and-2 for Green Bay's offense. Despite the season-long success on the ground and with a third-string quarterback in the game, McCarthy ran the ball once (a third-and-1 conversion by Eddie Lacy) and passed it five times (1-of-3 on third-and-1 and 1-of-2 on third-and-2).
7.2: Yards per play allowed by the Packers' defense. They hadn't allowed more than 5.9 yards per play since yielding 7.3 vs. Washington in Week 2.
12: Quarterbacks drafted in 2011, none of which were Tolzien.
16: Points allowed per game over the Eagles' last six games. They allowed 27.5 in the first four.
23: Consecutive games without an interception by Tramon Williams. He had his hands on two passes against the Eagles, including one that deflected into the hands of DeSean Jackson for a 55-yard touchdown. Williams did force a fumble, breaking the Packers' streak of 14 consecutive quarters without forcing a turnover.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.