Packers LB Clay Matthews: Giants 'didn't beat us' in 2011 playoffs

This is how Matthews goes to work. (US Presswire)

Oftentimes in sports, debates emerge about whether "one team won" or "the other team lost." The difference usually involves beating yourself versus getting beat. And Clay Matthews believes the former is exactly what happened to the Packers in the playoffs last season.

Matthews, speaking to Mike Silver of Yahoo! Sports, said he doesn't think that the Packers lost to the Giants, per se, but rather that the Packers beat themselves.

"We picked the most inopportune time to play our worst ball," Matthews said. "The fact is, [the Giants] didn't beat us; we beat ourselves. We need to play our best ball when it counts. This year, I expect us to be right back where we should be."

The larger context of Silver's article is that the Packers went 15-1 in a season when their defense wasn't that good (at least in comparison to 2010's Super Bowl-winning unit), largely in part to Rodgers going superhuman on the rest of the NFL. In that sense, yeah, the Packers spent all season trying to beat themselves by not producing at a higher level on defense.

But if you watched the game against the Giants, then you know that Matthews is wrong. The Packers didn't play that poorly on offense, although definitely looked rusty and definitely had way too many drops out of their wide receivers. But the Giants sacked Aaron Rodgers four times, picked him off once and generally harassed the mess out of him.

The Packers got lucky once (Greg Jennings incredulous no-call on a fumble which led to a fumble) and got torched once when Hakeem Nicks caught a Hail Mary before halftime.

But acting like the Giants won because the Packers didn't show up is just silly -- Eli Manning had a monster game, Nicks destroyed the Pack's defense and the Giants defense continued on a roll that eventually won them a Super Bowl.

I don't blame Matthews for believing in his team and projecting them to have a big season in 2012 -- they should -- but he's not required to disrespect the Giants just because it's the popular thing this offseason, even if he believes it's true.

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CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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