Keisean Nixon was the hero last week by intercepting Patrick Mahomes, but his performance cost the Green Bay Packers against the New York Giants on Monday night.
Nixon made a game-changing mistake early in the third quarter. The Packers had a three-point lead and forced a punt on the Giants' opening possession after halftime. Green Bay had the opportunity to get the football and build a lead.
However, Nixon muffed the punt, recovered it, decided to attempt another return, and fumbled again. The Giants recovered and took the lead on a Saquon Barkley touchdown run only three plays later. All Nixon needed to do was lie on top of the football when he recovered it the first time. Getting up to attempt another return was a terrible decision.
Nixon also struggled on defense. He was beaten badly by Giants receiver Wan'Dale Robinson for a 32-yard gain on New York's game-winning drive. It moved the Giants from their own 46-yard line to the Packers' 22 and comfortably into field-goal range.
It was a tough night for Nixon.
Packers coach Matt LaFleur wasn't happy with Keisean Nixon in Week 14
Packers head coach Matt LaFleur gave an honest answer when asked whether Nixon should've stayed down with the ball rather than attempting to make another return.
"Yeah, absolutely. You can't do that. You're kind of in a panic mode anyway when you muff the ball," said LaFleur. "Not the smartest play in that situation."
Nixon had already muffed the punt but was lucky to jump back on the ball. Just stay there. The chances of getting back to his feet and making a positive return were unlikely.
The fumbled punt return was a turning point in the game. Green Bay had gotten the defensive stop it needed to kick off the third quarter, already leading by a field goal. The mistake led to a Giants touchdown, swung the momentum, and changed the game script.
It summed up the Packers' performance. They couldn't get out of their own way. From inaccurate passes to penalties to special teams errors. That's not even mentioning Joe Barry's defense. It was a disaster in all three phases for Green Bay.
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