Rapid Reaction: Packers 38, Giants 35

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- As they said they would, the New York Giants came out and fought like their season was on the line. But they fell just short, as Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers squeezed by the G-men with a Mason Crosby game-winning field goal.

What it means: The Giants came to play, but Rodgers hit Donald Driver on a 7-yard touchdown pass with 3:34 left to push the Packers up 35-27. Eli Manning marched the Giants down the field for a touchdown and game-tying two-point conversion. But they left 58 seconds on the clock, and Rodgers drove the Packers down for a game-winning field goal.

The Giants didn’t play a flawless game -- Manning threw a pick-six to Clay Matthews that proved to be an absolute killer -- but they played with so much more life and fight than they displayed on Monday night in New Orleans. But now the season comes down to the Giants' ability to beat the Dallas Cowboys twice in their last four games. The Giants basically need to win out to give themselves a legit shot at a playoff spot.

No challenge: Tom Coughlin historically has been great at challenging calls on the field, but he lost two challenges against the Packers on plays that seemed to be pretty clear rulings.

The first failed challenge came on an incomplete Jake Ballard catch in the end zone in the first quarter -- Ballard was ruled out of bounds before getting his left foot down.

And in a real head-scratcher, Coughlin challenged a Driver catch along the sideline when he clearly caught the ball with both feet inbounds along the sideline in the third quarter.

Injury update: The offensive line took a hit before the game even started as center David Baas was a late scratch due to headaches. Also, backup Stacy Andrews was hospitalized with pulmonary embolisms in both of his lungs. Andrews, who the Giants use as an extra offensive lineman, is expected to be released from the hospital on Monday.

With Will Beatty (eye) already out for the season, Mitch Petrus got his first career start at left guard. Kevin Boothe moved to center and Jim Cordle was the extra offensive lineman.

Giants safety Kenny Phillips also suffered a sprained knee in the second quarter. Phillips had surgery on the same knee two seasons ago.

Welcome back: Running back Ahmad Bradshaw and linebacker Michael Boley returned to play against Green Bay. Bradshaw, who had missed four straight games with a fractured foot, ran hard and gave the Giants’ dead running game new life.

Boley played for the first time since injuring his hamstring in the second quarter against San Francisco on Nov. 13. After Boley got hurt, the Giants lost three straight games without him.

The Giants rotated newly-signed linebacker Chase Blackburn in the game quite a bit as well, and he came up with an interception deep in Packers territory to set up a Brandon Jacobs touchdown.

What’s next: The Giants travel to Dallas for the first of two crucial meetings with the Cowboys.