GREEN BAY, Wis. - Quarterback Aaron Rodgers returned from a concussion to turn in his sharpest performance of the season Sunday and keep Green Bay on a path toward the playoffs - all at the expense of the New York Giants, whose season is spinning out of control after their 45-17 loss at Lambeau Field.
"There's no denying what took place," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. "Facts are facts. We're responsible for it. I'm responsible for it. So we have to live with it. And as we say in this game, the only chance you have is to turn around and line up the next week."
Trying to cling to their playoff hopes a week after their collapse against the Eagles, the Giants (9-6) couldn't stop Rodgers, who threw for 404 yards and four touchdowns. They also couldn't hold on to the ball, as they lost two fumbles and Eli Manning threw four interceptions.
Green Bay (9-6) went into the game needing to win their final two games to reach the postseason. The Packers will host division rival Chicago in their regular-season finale.
Safety Nick Collins said Sunday had felt like a playoff game. "That's how it's going to be next week, too," he said.
John Kuhn ran for two TDs and caught a pass for a score for the Packers. Greg Jennings caught seven passes for 142 yards for Green Bay, while Jordy Nelson had four catches for 124 yards and a touchdown.
Rodgers, who had missed the previous game because of his concussion, was sacked twice, but wasn't under much pressure otherwise as his line delivered one of its best pass-protection efforts of the year.
"Those guys were ready to play," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "They were sick and tired of hearing about how tough the Giants were all week."
Manning threw for 301 yards with two touchdowns.
"If you have interceptions, it's my fault, and we had four today," he said. "There's not one that wasn't my fault, so I've got to be smarter with the ball, and toward the end of the game you're in desperate mode, you try to force some things, and it didn't go our way."
Trailing by 21-14, the Giants began the second half with yet another major mistake. On third down in Green Bay territory, Charles Woodson stripped the ball from Ahmad Bradshaw, and the Packers recovered at the 50. They settled for a field goal.
The Giants answered with a field goal, but Rodgers was at his best on the Packers' next possession. He hit Donald Driver for 33 yards and Jennings for 36 on back-to-back plays, and a 1-yard pass to Donald Lee two plays later gave the Packers a 31-17 lead with 4 minutes, 44 seconds left in the third quarter.
Hakeem Nicks appeared to fumble on the ensuing kickoff, but Coughlin challenged the play, and New York kept the ball.
Brandon Jacobs then broke free for a long run - but linebacker Clay Matthews punched the ball into the air, and the Packers recovered. This time, Coughlin's replay review was unsuccessful, and Green Bay kept the ball.
"We came out and we played like we didn't have anything to play for," Giants defensive end Justin Tuck said.
N.Y. Giants 0 14 3 0 – 17
Green Bay 14 7 10 14 – 45
GB–Nelson 80 pass from Rodgers (Crosby kick), 7:53.
GB–J.Jones 3 pass from Rodgers (Crosby kick), 1:47.
NYG–Nicks 36 pass from Manning (Tynes kick), 11:40.
NYG–Manningham 85 pass from Manning (Tynes kick), 5:13.
GB–Kuhn 8 run (Crosby kick), 1:54.
GB–FG Crosby 31, 9:56.
NYG–FG Tynes 38, 7:10.
GB–D.Lee 1 pass from Rodgers (Crosby kick), 4:44.
GB–Kuhn 5 pass from Rodgers (Crosby kick), 6:58.
GB–Kuhn 1 run (Crosby kick), 4:20.
First downs 16 27
Total Net Yards 386 515
Rushes-yards 21-90 35-119
Passing 296 396
Punt Returns 3-13 2-7
Kickoff Returns 8-149 4-60
Interceptions Ret. 0-0 4-7
Comp-Att-Int 17-33-4 25-37-0
Sacked-Yards Lost 1-5 2-8
Punts 4-42.3 5-41.6
Fumbles-Lost 2-2 2-1
Penalties-Yards 5-45 3-31
Time of Possession 22:59 37:01
Rushing: N.Y. Giants, Jacobs 8-47, Bradshaw 12-31, Manning 1-12. Green Bay, Jackson 18-39, Nance 9-32, Rodgers 2-26, Kuhn 6-22.
Passing: N.Y. Giants, Manning 17-33-4-301. Green Bay, Rodgers 25-37-0-404.
Receiving: N.Y. Giants, Bradshaw 5-41, Manningham 4-132, Nicks 4-93, Ware 2-24, Hagan 2-11. Green Bay, Jennings 7-142, Nelson 4-124, J.Jones 4-36, Driver 3-44, Kuhn 2-7, D.Lee 2-4, Crabtree 1-21, Quarless 1-16, Jackson 1-10.
Missed Field Goals: None.