Giants spoil Packers international debut with 27-22 win
LONDON (AP) — Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley spoiled the Green Bay Packers’ international debut.
Aaron Rodgers and the Packers set the stage by jumping out to an early lead over the New York Giants.
But Jones and Barkley made the key plays in a 27-22 comeback victory at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday to spoil Green Bay’s first regular-season game outside the United States.
“We were aware that we were underdogs in the game — you realize that but I think we’re a motivated group,” Jones said. “We’re motivated to play for each other.”
Barkley took a direct snap and ran for a 2-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter to cap New York’s comeback.
Rodgers then drove the Packers to the 6-yard line, but his pass on fourth-and-1 was swatted down at the line of scrimmage by safety Xavier McKinney with just over a minute left.
After Giants punter Jamie Gillan — the “ Scottish Hammer ” — ran out of the end zone for a safety, the Packers (3-2) got the ball back and set up a desperation pass, but Rodgers was sacked by Oshane Ximines at the Green Bay 29, fumbling as the clock ran out.
The Giants (4-1) scored 17 unanswered points in the second half as Jones, playing on a sprained ankle, led three scoring drives to erase a 20-10 deficit. It’s the Giants’ best start since 5-0 in 2009 and matches their win total from last season (4-13).
“Give New York all the credit. They outcoached us, they outplayed us,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said. “They definitely wanted it more. It was the tale of two halves. They kicked our butt in the second half. You can’t do that in this league.”
After back-to-back three-and-outs to start the game, the Giants scored on five consecutive possessions. They were six of 11 on third down.
Barkley rushed for 70 yards on 13 carries and had 36 yards receiving — his third consecutive game with more than 100 yards from scrimmage, his longest streak since 2019, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
Gary Brightwell’s 2-yard touchdown tied the score at 20-20 to complete a 15-play, 91-yard drive with just over 10 minutes to play. On the drive, Jones scrambled for two first downs — after carrying just once in the first half for 3 yards.
Barkley hurt his shoulder on the first play of that drive when he was tackled by De’Vondre Campbell but later returned.
“Just got banged up,” the running back said.
Rodgers threw for 222 yards and two touchdowns, but couldn’t get any points on the board in the second half. Rodgers connected with Allen Lazard and Marcedes Lewis for first-half scoring strikes.
“We had chances, a lot of chances,” Rodgers said. “We’re five weeks in, and there’s a lot of football left. Can’t squander any more games like this, though, because the season is going to be pretty tough.”
The Giants entered the game as the NFL’s top rushing offense, but struggled to run the ball early, falling behind 17-3 after Lazard’s 4-yard touchdown reception and Lewis’ 2-yard catch in the end zone when Rodgers found the veteran tight end wide open.
Early on, Jones seemed to be limited by his sprained ankle. But Barkley took a direct snap for a 40-yard gain to the Giants 38, bringing the offense to life, and the Giants used some trickery to get the ball in the end zone.
From the shotgun, Jones ran right, pitched it to Barkley, who then pitched to Daniel Bellinger. The rookie tight end avoided a tackle and ran it in from the 2 to close the gap to 17-10.
But 1:15 on the clock was enough for Rodgers to lead the Packers into field-goal range. Mason Crosby connected from 48 yards as time expired in the half to give the Packers a 20-10 lead.
Jones completed 21 of 27 passes for 217 yards, and he carried 10 times for 37 yards.
Randall Cobb led Green Bay with seven receptions for 99 yards.
Unlike most London games, the crowd Sunday was distinctively green or blue — mostly the former. Typically, fans come dressed in whatever team jersey they have, regardless of who is playing. Not this time. Midwest accents were apparent on public transportation to the stadium, though British fans still comprise the overwhelming majority of the crowd. The reliability of traveling Packers fans is the main reason why Green Bay was the last NFL team to play an international game — other teams never wanted to give up a home game against the Packers.
British and European fans are buzzing about NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s comments Saturday. At a fan forum in London, Goodell mentioned the idea of a full European division of teams: “That’s part of what we’re doing. We’re trying to sort of see, could you have multiple locations in Europe where you could have an NFL franchise, because it would be easier as a division.”
He said London could “undoubtedly” support two franchises, not just one.
The Giants improved to 3-0 in London and now they’ve won in three different stadiums. In 2007, the Giants beat the Miami Dolphins 13-10 at Wembley Stadium in the first regular-season NFL game played in London. They defeated the Los Angeles Rams 17-10 at Twickenham Stadium in 2016.
Giants: FB Chris Myarick walked off after Barkley’s 40-yard run in the second quarter with an ankle injury. CB Adoree’ Jackson left with knee and neck injuries. DL Leonard Williams was inactive with a knee injury. Jones said his ankle “felt good throughout the game.” The quarterback also had some turf burn on his hand.
Packers: WR Christian Watson left with a hamstring injury in the third quarter.
Giants: Host Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday; bye in Week 9.
Packers: The New York Jets visit Lambeau Field on Sunday; bye in Week 14.
More AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL
Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.