Giants Defense Shut Down Aaron Rodgers in Two Extremely Rare Ways

Aaron Rodgers

Getty Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers struggled against the New York Giants in London.

During their Week 5 win over the Green Bay Packers in London, the New York Giants shut down quarterback Aaron Rodgers in two extremely rare ways:

  1. Deep Passes
  2. Batted Balls

Let’s start with Rodgers’ lack of successful deep pass attempts. The four-time league MVP attempted six deep passes against the Giants on Sunday, according to NFL Next Gen Stats, and completed zero of them. That is the most he’s attempted without completing one since the 2016 season.

The Giants now have the seventh stingiest defense in the NFL on deep pass attempts with an opponent completion percentage of 22.2 percent, according to the official Next Gen Stats Twitter account.

Rob Demovsky of ESPN dove deeper into the numbers and explained how Rodgers’ lack of success throwing deep was amplified in the second half.

“Rodgers averaged just 3.5 air yards in the first half and had a 75% completion rate and two touchdowns doing so, according to ESPN Stats & Information research,” Demovsky wrote. “He averaged 12.1 air yards per attempt in the second half and completed just 47% without a touchdown. He was 0-for-5 on passes that traveled 20 or more yards in the air, including 0-for-4 in the second half.”

Now, let’s talk about the batted balls.

Rodgers rarely has passes batted down at the line of scrimmage. Heading into Week 5, he only had one such pass attempt on the season, according to ESPN. Then, in the final minutes of the game, Rodgers had back-to-back pass attempts batted down on 3rd and 4th down to kill a potential game-tying (or game-winning) drive that got all the way down to the Giants’ six-yard line.

Here’s a close-up of Rodgers’ 3rd-down pass attempt, which hit a leaping Kayvon Thibodeaux in the face:

Here’s Rodgers’ 4th-down pass attempt, which was deflected by a blitzing Xavier McKinney off the edge:

Although Rodgers finished with a respectable 222 yards, two touchdowns and 96.3 passer rating on Sunday, these individual efforts combined with New York’s overall ability to take away the deep ball completely squashed the Packers in the second half. Green Bay’s only second-half points came on an intentional safety by Giants punter Jamie Gillan in the final seconds.

Giants Also Pulled Off Rare Comeback vs. Aaron Rodgers

In addition to the defensive stats outlined above, the Giants also pulled off a rare come-from-behind victory over the Packers. Sunday’s battle in London marked only the fourth time ever that Green Bay has lost a game with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback after leading by 14-plus points, according to Jeff Kerr of CBS Sports.

The Packers led the Giants 17-3 in the second quarter on Sunday.

After going into the locker room down 20-10 at halftime, the Giants outscored the Packers 17-2 in the second half.

Wink Martindale to Face Familiar Foe in Week 6

Giants defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale put together a brilliant game plan and made extraordinary second-half adjustments to stymie Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in London. Now he’s staring down a personal matchup against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 6.

Martindale, who joined Giants head coach Brian Daboll’s staff this offseason, was a linebackers coach for the Ravens from 2012-17 and served as Baltimore’s defensive coordinator from 2018-21. New York is counting on him to have a plan for bottling up dual-threat quarterback Lamar Jackson and the rest of the Ravens offense next Sunday.

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