Tolzien throws three picks in Packer loss
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.—The New York Giants are back in the playoff hunt and the Green Bay Packers are falling out of it without Aaron Rodgers.
Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul scored on a spectacular, leaping 24-yard fourth-quarter interception return and the resurgent Giants won their fourth game in a row with a 27-13 victory over the slumping and injured-riddled Packers on Sunday.
Eli Manning threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to Rueben Randle, and Brandon Jacobs added a 1-yard run as the Giants (4-6) handed the Packers (5-5) their third straight loss, their longest skid since a five-game losing streak near the end of 2008.
Two of the three losses have come with former NFL MVP Rodgers sidelined with a broken collarbone.
While Scott Tolzien played well at times in his first NFL start, the Giants intercepted him three times, setting up 10 points. Pierre-Paul's pick early in the fourth quarter gave New York a 14-point lead.
The winning streak following a 0-6 start improbably has moved the Giants within 1½ games of first-place Philadelphia (6-5) in the weak NFC East. They are a game behind second-place and idle Dallas (5-5), which will play here next Sunday.
The Packers, who got a 1-yard TD run by Eddie Lacy and two field goals by Mason Crosby, including a 57-yarder, fell a game behind Chicago and Detroit in the NFC North.
Tolzien finished 24 of 34 for 339 yards and no touchdowns.
The Giants never trailed, but they never put the Packers away until the interception by Pierre-Paul, who was questionable all week after injuring a shoulder against Oakland last week. He didn't practice until Friday and his status was uncertain until the inactives were announced just before the game.
Pierre-Paul didn't do much until the fourth quarter with New York clinging to a 20-13 lead.
On a first and 10 from the Packers 30, Tolzien, who was a practice squad player until a couple of week ago, dropped back, turned to his left and tried to throw a quick out. Pierre-Paul, who has struggled this season after back surgery in June, jumped, snagged the pass and dashed all alone to the end zone.
The Giants had the better of the play in the first half, holding the ball for almost 20 minutes. They jumped to a 10-0 lead on Manning's 26-yard touchdown pass to Randle and Josh Brown's 40-yard field goal.
The touchdown reception was Randle's sixth in the last six games, and he set it up with a 32-yard punt return. Manning finished 25 of 35 for 279 yard and an interception.
A 30-yard pass to Victor Cruz, who had eight catches for 110 yards, and a 5-yard run by Jacobs on a fourth-and-1 at the Packers 36 set up the field goal.
Tolzien threw passes of 25 yards to Jordy Nelson and 45 yards to James Jones on consecutive plays to set up a 24-yard field goal by Crosby on the next series.
The Giants mismanaged the clock at the end of the first half, with a three-and-out series that started with an incomplete pass. Taking over at their own 37 with no timeouts, Tolzien hit on passes of 9 yards to Jarrett Boykin and 15 yards to Nelson, setting up Crosby for a 57-yard field goal on the final play.
It was a yard shy of his Packers' record and it was the longest against the Giants. Brett Conway of Washington kicked a 55-yard against them in 2001.