By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published Dec 12, 2023 at 4:56 PM Photography: Evan Siegle /

We kind of all saw that coming, right? After a three-game winning streak highlighted by two great performances against potential Super Bowl teams, the Packers were due for a comedown, for a brutal crash down to the planet mediocrity. I just didn't expect the Green Bay reckoning would come at the hands of a guy nicknamed Tommy Cutlets with an agent pulled out of a bad direct-to-video 1940s gangster movie. 

Indeed, Jordan Love and the rest of the Packers gave fans a throwback to October that no one asked for, caughing up a primetime opportunity and losing to the New York Giants, 24-22. And if you are a sicko who actually enjoyed watching those early Packers games, boy, did I have the Monday night showcase for you! Jordan Love looked oddly uneasy at quarterback again, the offense in general was sloppy and sputtering, the coaching was suspect, the defense was fresh burrata soft and just as stinky when put under the spotlight and hey, how about some special teams mishaps for old times' sake too? And like a month ago, somehow the Packers were in position to win thanks to the Giants being an equally bad, equally wounded football team. Alas, it may be the season of miracles and good will – but not for Green Bay on Monday night. Must've used them all up against the Chargers, Chiefs and Lions. 

Hopefully this will be a healthy humbling for the young Pack, learning to face every opponent like Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift are on the opposing sideline, as well as learning that, well, they've got a lot to learn. And fans do too. There was a lot of postseason talk this week ... but as we learned last night, this team's nowhere near good or consistent enough to overlook the likes of the Bucs, Panthers, Vikings and Bears between now and then. Because if Tommy Cutlets can dice you up like that, anyone can. 

Let's take one final look back at the key takeaways and moments from Monday night's mediocre-off ... even if it's only to have an excuse to take one final look at DeVito's agent and the halftime show dog. 

1. Bad omen

Aaron JonesX

The first sign Monday night was going to be trouble: No, not Aaron Jones listed as out but the Packers running back showing up without his signature sombrero. While AJ Dillon's done a commendable job holding the fort, we clearly gotta get Jones back onto the field – and back into a pregame sombrero.

2. A wiseguy, eh?

Somewhere a community production of "Guys & Dolls" in New Jersey was missing its Nicely-Nicely Johnson last night. Between DeVito's agent and his charming family, if the Packers had to make a pedestrian quarterback look like a star, at least they did it to a guy with such a colorful cast of characters surrounding him. 

3. Love hurts 

Jordan LoveX

After outplaying superstars like Herbert, Goff and Mahomes, it was now Love's turn to struggle against a seemingly inferior foe. Whether it was the windy weather, the primetime pressure or just an inevitable ebb during this rookie season, Love looked off on Monday night, missing targets on easy passes, looking unsettled in the pocket and coughing up the football – once via a fumble, another courtesy of an awful interception. It's a shame he followed up some of his best performances with arguably one of his worst – even if the numbers (218 yards with a touchdown toss) don't tell the whole sloppy story. 

4. The need for Reed

The good news: Despite all their first quarter troubles, the Packers got on the board in the opening frame thanks to a beautiful jet sweep from rookie speedster Jayden Reed. The bad news? Matt LaFleur made like Amazon with the sledding old ladies commercial and overplayed that play call to diminishing returns death. The worst news? After an impressive showing, Reed had to leave the game early for concussion concerns and will now deal with those heading into a short week of preparation for the Buccaneers. That's OK, though, because at least the rest of the Packers roster is healtOH NO!

5. A Giant problem

Packers fans weren't just nervous about Monday night because of Sconnie sports cynicism. The Green Bay run defense has been unspectacular for most of the season – and considering the Giants have a great running back in Saquon Barkley and a young back-up QB, it seemed easy to predict that might get exposed once more on Monday. Lo and behold, Barkley scampered over the Packers for more than 80 yards on the night and two touchdowns. 

What was LESS easy to predict, though, was quarterback Tommy DeVito ALSO scampering over the Packers for more than 70 yards, consistently keeping plays alive and pushing the ball up the field on the ground if the air wasn't an option. In total, the Packers hemmorrhaged more than 200 yards on the ground to a team that averages less than 115 a game. Hope you enjoyed the relative peace and quiet of that winning streak while you could, Joe Barry. 

6. MVP

Frankly, neither the Giants nor the Packers deserved to win last night's game – so let's give the W to Salsa the halftime fetch pup who caught the longest pass play of the night, so Stickum gloves necessary. 

7. Not so special again

It wasn't just the Giants uniforms throwing it back last night. The Packers special teams decided they wanted to harken back to the past as well – the recent past when their special teams were hot garbage that actively lost them football games.

The most notable whoops came from Keisean Nixon – always aggressive on his kick returns – who muffed a punt right at the start of the second half. At first it seemed like he cured his mistake by recovering the ball ... but then he just made a bad play worse by trying to run with the fumble rather than just calling it a day, coughing it up again in the process but this time with the Giants recovering and turning the ensuing possession into a touchdown. But wait, there's more! Later in the game, rookie kicker Anders Carlson botched a 45-yard field goal – his fifth miss of the season – that would've been awfully critical in a game decided by two points. 

Add in some shoddy punts, and if the Packers want to be a playoff team this season, their special teams unit simply can't play like it's 2021-22 all over again.

8. Cut apart by Tommy Cutlets 

Tommy DeVitoX

Our apologies, sports fans, for turning Tommy DeVito into a star on Monday Night Football and starting what will surely be a week of bizarre sports talk drooling over a clearly adequate-at-best back-up quarterback. (See also: the Josh Dobbs storyline, last seen getting benched this weekend mere weeks after being annointed The Savior of Minnesota.) But hey, DeVito took advantage of the opportunity and the squishy defense in front of him, making plays when needed to the tune of 158 yards and a touchdown – plus more than 70 yards on the ground – all while not making the kind of game-altering mistakes Love and company did. (And all while wearing those sweet Giants old-school uniforms.) Enjoy the moment and the extra cutlets, Tommy – because I'm not sure it'll survive past playing two of your next four games against the Eagles.

9. Barkley nearly bobbles it away

Saquon Barkley was the Giants' GOAT last night, scoring two touchdowns and contributing over 100 yards on offense (86 rushing, 15 through the air) – but he was almost the goat for the team after he coughed up this untouched fumble with a handful of minutes left in the game. Maybe he was just so surprised that he was able to gash the Packers defense – YET AGAIN! – that he lost his grip on the ball and almost the entire game. 

10. Second time's the charm

For a moment, it looked like Malik Heath not only caught his first NFL touchdown but the game-leading score. But then a savvy Giants defender whacked the ball out of his arms in the endzone, and because of the league's labyrinthine rules about what constitutes a catch (did he have possession of the ball? Did he make a football move? Did his soul claim the ball as a part of his earthly form before it was juggled and lost?) the touchdown was nullified. No worries, though, because Heath made good on his second chance, nabbing the next throw and getting the ball over the pile-on before body-checking the ref for delaying his glory and delaying the Packers' moment on top.

Perhaps the phrase "no worries" isn't accurate, though, because there's always worries when a Joe Barry defense has to rise to the moment. 

11. Easy does it

And rise to the moment, Joe Barry's defense did not! Instead, the Green Bay defense played like they thought they were up by more than a single point, letting DeVito and the Giants – a team that scored 20 or more points only twice this season before Monday night – casually clip their way up the field with easy open passes without really any concern or pressure whatsoever. If you want your middling quarterback to look like a stud, schedule a visit with Joe Barry's defense and he'll make an ESPN highlight reel for him, no questions asked. 

I feel like Packers fans would be angrier if it didn't feel like a letdown was inevitably headed the team's way, that if it wasn't Monday night, it would've come next week against the flat Bucs. And if the Packers played like they deserved that victory at all – not that the Giants particularly did, either. So congrats again to Salsa the halftime dog for its impressive Monday Night Football victory – and for currently holding the sixth seed in the NFC playoff picture! Like the Vikings and (*spins wheel of mediocre back-up quarterbacks*) Nick Mullens deserve it?

Matt Mueller Culture Editor

As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.

When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.