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Giants-Packers playoffs lore is more than red-faced Coughlin

Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy talks with New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo following the game at Lambeau Field.

In the first half, Green Bay struggled to move the ball on offense. Rodgers is playing better than any quarterback in the National Football League, throwing 19 touchdown passes with no interceptions during the team's winning streak. The receivers were plagued by drops - not the kind of outing that the trio envisioned after taking heat from some fans and media for a trip to Miami on their day off to celebrate a regular-season-ending win over Washington. "We've got to start fast and make them as one-dimensional as possible".

They connected again on a 30-yard touchdown pass late in the third quarter for a 21-13 lead. Their history might look a lot different today had Dez Bryant's catch at Lambeau Field two years ago not been overturned.

It was a fitting end to a frustrating evening as the Giants suffered their first playoff loss in Green Bay since 1961. Defensive end Julius Peppers sacked Manning at the NY 8-yard line, setting up great field position for the Packers' ensuing possession.

It started when Rodgers hit Nelson up for the first of many rides to the airport in 2012 and has blossomed into a successful familiarity that was apparent when Rodgers hit Nelson on a long pass in his first week of practice last summer.

The Giants got the ball back on their 8-yard line after taking the 6-0 lead midway through the second quarter, but outside linebacker Julius Peppers sacked Manning on third down and New York's offense was never the same. Had Cook caught the ball, the clock likely would have expired, and the Packers wouldn't have had another chance to score. Green Bay finally got on the board with an Aaron Rodgers touchdown pass to Davante Adams with roughly two minutes remaining in the half.

- The Giants and Packers exchanged touchdowns in the 3rd quarter.

- The Cobb touchdown began a streak for Green Bay, which went on to score on its next three possessions.

Moments later, it came sailing behind a clutter of Giants' defenders and right into the arms of Randall Cobb for the huge touchdown.

Yet Collins told reporters after the loss that NY had had a successful season.

The awful outcome was the climax of a week that saw New York's wide receiving corps face criticism for spending a day off last week on a yacht in Miami with the R&B artist Trey Songz. It defeated three playoff teams during that six-game stretch, including two that have already won in the Wild Card Round: Houston and Seattle. Giants cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie left the game in New York's first defensive series with a thigh injury.

That provided a welcome shot of confidence for the fourth-seeded Packers heading into their game against the top-seeded Cowboys. Manning lofted a pass that drifted toward the front of the end zone. The other four - the Detroit Lions, Dolphins, Giants and Oakland Raiders - all lost, so maybe there is something to be said for recent playoff experience, too.



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