The Green Bay Packers played a sloppy game and couldn’t quite overcome those mistakes in a 24-22 loss to the New York Giants. New York kicked the game-winning field goal on the final play of the game. Jordan Love threw for 218 yards and a touchdown in a losing effort.  Here are 10 things we learned from the Packers 24-22 loss to the Giants.

First Thing We Learned in the Packers Loss: The Defense Couldn’t Hold the Lead

The Packers took the lead with 1:33 left in the game but the defense couldn’t stop the Giants and Tommy DeVito from moving the ball down the field for the winning field goal. The big play was a 32-yard pass from DeVito to Wan’Dale Robinson that gained 32 yards. Slot corner Keisean Nixon was beaten badly on the play, and it set up the winning field goal.

The defense had a chance to clinch the victory but stumbled in the clutch after not playing particularly well in this game.

Second Thing We Learned: The Packers Run Defense Was Lacking Again

The Packers defense couldn’t contain the running of the Giants quarterback in this game. DeVito ran 10 times in the game for 71 yards including a 26-yard scamper. His running ability kept the Giants offense on the field and helped keep several scoring drives alive.

The Green Bay defense did a poor job of staying in their rush lanes and just couldn’t catch DeVito who ran past them for big gains.

The Packers kept Saquon Barkley in check until the final two drives of the game but then he did some real damage.

Overall, the run defense allowed the Giants to gain 209 yards in 34 carries for an average gain of 6.1-yards per carry.

Stopping the run had to be the top priority for Joe Barry and the defense in this game and they just didn’t get it done.

Third Thing We Learned in the Packers Loss: Special Teams Mistakes Were Costly

The Packers special teams struggled again with penalties and poor execution. A fumbled punt return by Nixon set up a short touchdown drive by the Giants in the third quarter.

Kicker Anders Carlson missed a field goal that would have made a difference in the game in the fourth quarter.

The Packers also had a chance to take a three-point lead after they scored the go-ahead touchdown with 93 seconds left on the clock. Unfortunately, the two-point conversion try, which was an ill-advised run by wide receiver Jayden Reed, was stuffed.

Special teams penalties also hurt field position like Rudy Ford’s personal foul that gave the Giants great field position. This was not a strong game for Rich Bisaccia’s bunch.

Fourth Thing We Learned: The Offense Was Inconsistent

The Packers offense lacked the consistency we’ve seen in recent games. Love threw some very good passes late in the game, but in the first 55 minutes, he also threw some floaters including one that was intercepted.

The Giants sacked Love twice, but they also put pressure on the Packers quarterback throughout the game. That prevented him from throwing downfield early. In fact, Reed caught eight passes in the game but gained just 27 yards.

The wind at the Meadowlands also seemed to hamper Love’s accuracy until late in the game. He missed some throws he made consistently in recent weeks.

Love also seemed to really miss Christian Watson who helps open up opportunities for the other receivers.

Fifth Thing We Learned in the Packers Loss: The Packers Pass Rush Vanished

The Giants have one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL and had allowed more sacks than any other team entering this game.

The Packers defensive line never sacked DeVito. On those rare occasions they did get pressure, he was easily able to avoid the rush and either run for chunks of yardage or throw to an open receiver.

This was a disappointing performance by a defense that had been getting consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks in the past four or five games.

Sixth Thing We Learned: The Offense Struggled in the Red Zone

The Packers offense struggled in the red zone. Officially, they were just two-of-five in red zone chances. Had they turned one of those missed chances into a touchdown, they would have likely won the game.

The Giants defense came through in those crucial situations when the Packers got close. They also came up big on third downs which the Packers struggled at until their final drive.

Seventh Thing We Learned in the Packers Loss: Carrington Valentine Made a Big Play

The biggest reason the Packers almost won this game was the big play made by rookie cornerback Carrington Valentine.

The Giants were driving deep in Packers territory with a chance to increase their lead and clinch the win when Barkley fumbled without being touched and Valentine alertly picked it up and started running back the other way. He returned it to the Giants 36, a runback of more than 50 yards.

That set up the Packers go-ahead touchdown pass from Love to Malik Heath, who caught his first career NFL TD.

Valentine continues to show why he was a steal in the seventh round of this year’s draft.

Eighth Thing We Learned: Patrick Taylor Made Some Good Plays but…

Backup running back Patrick Taylor made some good plays in this game. He carried the ball only four times but gained 30 yards including a 14-yard scamper.

He also caught two passes on two targets for 22 yards and did a solid job of pass blocking when called upon.

But once again, late in the first half, he failed to get out of bounds when he had a chance. That could have helped the Packers score a touchdown instead of settling for a field goal.

This mistake is similar to one Taylor made earlier this season. He has to be smarter in these situations and stop the clock rather than worry about gaining a few more yards.

Ninth Thing We Learned in the Packers Loss: This Young Team Is Still Learning

The Packers entered this game having won four-of-five including big wins over the Lions and Chiefs on national TV.

Against the Giants, they simply didn’t play their best game and made too many mistakes to win.

Were they overconfident or reading their press clippings? Maybe. Either way, the Packers reminded us that they are still a young team learning how to win and are prone to making mistakes.

Tenth Thing We Learned in the Packers Loss: We’ll See How They Respond to Adversity

How will the Packers respond to this loss? Will Matt LaFleur have them ready for the Bucs next week in what becomes a huge game if they hope to keep their playoff chances alive?

The Packers proved they had resilience after their four-game losing streak. Now, with the pressure on during the playoff push, they have to show they can bounce back in the clutch and get back on the winning track.

LaFleur suffered his first December loss as coach of the Packers. The team has precious little time to prepare for their next game and get back on the winning track.


Follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers

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