Report card vs. Giants

Packers get low grades across board; coaching an 'F'

PASSING OFFENSE: C-minus -- His mostly sterling record would indicate otherwise, but Brett Favre isn't a cold-weather quarterback. He hung back in the Lambeau Field tunnel until after the team's defensive starters were introduced before the game, then rarely enjoyed himself in the 3 1/2 hours he was out in the subzero elements.

If not for the temporary warmth provided by a club-record 90-yard touchdown pass to Donald Driver in the second quarter - Driver accounted for the last 71 yards after the catch after he dodged Corey Webster's jam at the line to break into the open - Favre would have thrown for a paltry 146 yards. As it was, all but 73 of his passing yards came in the first half.

The final 30-plus minutes were forgettable. Both of his interceptions late in the game were vintage Favre from previous seasons, putting downfield throws up for grabs. The back-breaker on the second play of overtime was all on Favre, who had time to set his feet in the pocket but failed to drive the ball through the crisp air to the outside of Driver along the sideline, which allowed Webster to redeem himself by jumping the inside pass to get the Giants in position for the game-winning field goal.

Favre, who didn't hesitate in unloading one pass into triple coverage, should have had at least two more throws picked off.

Greg Jennings was a non-factor in the passing game, with only one reception. An assortment of screen and shovel passes were diagnosed time after time by New York.

The offensive line stood out, keeping the Giants' frenetic pass rush from sacking Favre.

RUSHING OFFENSE: D-minus -- Ryan Grant discovered how short-lived fame can be in the NFL. A week after carving up Seattle for a franchise-high 201 rushing yards, Grant was insignificant against his former teammates.

Although the ball was put in his hands only half of the workload he had against the Seahawks, Grant mustered but 29 yards in those 13 carries. His first eight runs went for 2, 2, 3, 2, 0, 1, 2, 2 yards. The lone hiccup for the Giants was a 13-yard pickup by Grant in the third quarter, as they fulfilled their top defensive objective of staying a step ahead of the Green Bay blockers and swarming Grant at the point where he would make his cutback.

PASS DEFENSE: D-minus -- The lethargic efforts by cornerstone corners Al Harris and Charles Woodson may give management long pause in the offseason about addressing the future of the position with younger talent.

Harris' first Pro Bowl invitation was called into question after he was repeatedly made to look silly by Eli Manning and Plaxico Burress, who teamed through the air 11 times for 154 yards.

Woodson also was responsible for some of the damage a supposedly gimpy Burress inflicted and was doubly outmatched by Amani Toomer the few times Manning went his way.

Harris, Woodson and free safety Nick Collins committed killer penalties in the second half, none more senseless than Collins' roughing Manning on an incomplete third-down throw that kept the Giants on the move toward a long touchdown drive.

Pressure on Manning was minimal, but defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila responded (albeit on a running start across the line as the ball was snapped) with a sack late in the fourth quarter that seemingly was going to be the wakeup call for the Green Bay offense to win out in regulation.

RUSH DEFENSE: C-minus -- Led by the instinctive play of linebackers A.J. Hawk and Brady Poppinga, the Packers were sturdy early against the run. The Giants, though, didn't relent and chipped away at a short-handed defensive front, amassing 134 yards in 39 rushes.

The power-and-burst tandem of Brandon Jacobs (67 yards) and Ahmad Bradshaw (63) was effective in keeping Green Bay off stride as the game wore on. When Jacobs wasn't dragging undersized challengers for a few extra yards, Bradshaw was juking and slipping several would-be tacklers (linebacker Nick Barnett was a primary offender).

SPECIAL TEAMS: D -- The moment was ripe for Jarrett Bush to emerge as a Johnny-on-the-spot hero. The young player, however, mistakenly tried to pick up the football on R.W. McQuarters' fumbled punt return, and the Giants kept possession at midfield before the two-minute warning of the second half with the score tied.

Sure hands - and sound thought processes - weren't the Packers' calling card. Koren Robinson bungled his pickup of a short kickoff, which Tramon Williams had to retrieve deep in Green Bay territory.

Williams set up a go-ahead touchdown drive in the third quarter with a 49-yard kickoff return.

Otherwise, Green Bay was abysmal in the return phase. The coverage units were hit and miss.

Mason Crosby made both of his field-goal attempts, but punter Jon Ryan struggled kicking a frozen football, averaging but 32.2 yards gross and 28.2 net.

COACHING: F -- Head coach Mike McCarthy had his worst game of an otherwise brilliant season as the offensive play-caller. To have a disinterested Favre attempt to throw the football nearly two-thirds of the time on a brutally cold night made no sense.

McCarthy abandoned the run by the third quarter in a hotly contested game. The extension of the run game in the passing attack utilizing quick slants, which worked wonderfully throughout the season, was conspicuously absent against an injury-plagued secondary.

The lopsided time of possession in favor of the Giants (40:01 to 22:34) was underscored by two straight three-and-outs late in the fourth quarter that each consumed no more than a minute, at a time when pounding away with Grant might have been the impetus for a substantial, game-winning drive at the end.

Defensive coordinator Bob Sanders inexplicably waited until late in the game to try to turn up the pressure on Manning.

All in all, a team supposedly destined to advance to the Super Bowl didn't bother showing up for a home game that was Green Bay's for the taking, never mind the unbearable conditions.

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