Overall, the Packers struggled on the road. The Green Bay run game had their worst performance of the year, only managing 55 yards on the ground with a 2.8 yards per rush. Without Sam Shields, the Packers secondary struggled to slow down the Giants passing game. And going against the league’s worst team in turnover ratio, the Packers only managed one interception.
Despite all this, the Packers defense made enough stops in the game to give the Green Bay offense a chance to get back in the game. Down 20-13 following the Packers first touchdown of the game early in the fourth quarter, the Green Bay defense forced the Giants to go three-and-out deep in their own territory with a sack on both first and third down.
This was a critical stop for the defense. Green Bay’s offense got the ball back down one score with eleven minutes remaining in the game. Unfortunately, on the first play of the drive the Giants’ Jason Pierre-Paul picked off a Tolzien pass to Andrew Quarless in the flat and took it to the house.
This play was the tipping point in the game. The Packers let the comeback slip from their grasp.
Tolzien stared down his receiver. According to Coach McCarthy, he threw flat-footed and failed to read Pierre-Paul’s stance to drop back. A mistake you’d expect from a player in his first professional start, but nonetheless, costly.
Without being too critical of a quarterback who lacks experience, Tolzien made plenty of big throws in the game. He threw for 339 yards against an improved Giants defense, and according to McCarthy, Tolzien hit all of the deep throws called in the game. Something that doesn’t happen too often in this league.
If it wasn’t for the three interceptions, today we may be talking about how impressive Tolzien looked in his first start on the road. But we can’t overlook the turnovers. They came at critical moments in the game, and it’s something the young quarterback is going to have to clean up if the Packers are going to have any chance at winning in Aaron Rodgers‘ absence.
Tolzien’s first interception ended a Packers drive that opened the second half. Green Bay was at midfield and moving the ball only down 10-6. This was the Packers chance to take the lead and get control of the game. However, Tolzien underthrew an open James Jones over the middle of the field and was picked off by Giants linebacker Jon Beason.
Tolzien’s third interception came on the Packers’ last chance to get back in the game. Green Bay was in scoring range, once again, before Tolzien overthrew Jarrett Boykin after escaping pressure and failing to set his feet. Antrel Rolle‘s pick closed out the win for the Giants.
All three interceptions came at crucial points in the game.
Tolzien will get the start again this week against the Minnesota Vikings. Hopefully, with another week of work with McCarthy and his coaching staff Tolzien will limit these errant throws and give Green Bay a chance to get their first win without Rodgers in the lineup.