The New Orleans Saints (0-4) were defeated by the Green Bay Packers (2-2), 28-27 in a dramatic shootout at Lambeau Field on Sunday afternoon.
The Black and Gold moved to 7-16 all-time against the Packers. The Saints were also defeated by the Packers in Green Bay in the 2011 NFL kickoff contest.
The Saints fell to 0-4 for the first time since 2007 and will return home to face the San Diego Chargers in a Sunday Night Football on NBC primetime contest at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Packers will travel to Indianapolis next Sunday to face the Colts as part of a three-game road trip.
“I thought we had a chance to pull that thing out, but obviously we didn’t make some plays at the end of the game that we needed to make,” said Offensive Line/Running Game Coach Aaron Kromer.
QB Drew Brees completed 35-of-54 attempts for 446 yards, the highest total by a Saints signal-caller against the Packers in team history. Brees connected on three touchdown passes with no interceptions and earned a quarterback rating of 109.0.
Brees tied an NFL record by throwing a touchdown pass in his 47th consecutive game, a 20-yard touchdown pass to WR Marques Colston.
Brees can move past Johnny Unitas, who has held the mark for 52 years yards, next week against the Chargers.
With the touchdown reception, Colston moved to second place in Saints history with 49 touchdown receptions, one behind former WR Joe Horn.
Colston led the team in receiving with nine receptions for 153 yards (17.0 avg.) and a touchdown. TE Jimmy Graham caught seven passes for 76 yards and WR Joe Morgan caught an 80-yard scoring strike from Brees.
RB Darren Sproles also added 44 yards receiving and a touchdown.
LB Curtis Lofton led the team in tackles with 12 (nine solo). S Malcolm Jenkins added 10 tackles (eight solo) while also recovering a Packers’ fumble deep inside New Orleans territory.
The Saints picked up 23 first downs through the air while racking up 474 net yards. New Orleans did not give up a turnover and forced two.
The Packers won the coin toss and elected to receive.
The first two drives were defined by solid defensive plays. On Green Bay’s first possession, QB Aaron Rodgers completed a third down pass to WR James Jones but Jones was stopped short of a first down by CB Jabari Greer to force a punt.
The Saints began their first drive with a quick completion by Brees to Colston. RB Pierre Thomas carried on second and third down but was stopped short of a first down by LB Clay Matthews who brought down Thomas for no gain after rushing from the edge on third down.
The Packers had more success on their next possession as Rodgers completed four passes and the Packers gained three first downs to set up a 12-yard scoring pass from Rodgers to Jones. K Mason Crosby made the extra point and the Packers took an early 7-0 lead.
The Saints had much more success on their next offensive series. Brees completed seven consecutive attempts on the drive while picking up four first downs through the air. He passed for a total of 84 yards on the drive including a 20-yard touchdown pass to Colston to tie Unitas’ consecutive games with a touchdown pass streak. K Garrett Hartley made the extra point to tie the game at 7-7.
Rodgers led the Packers 80 yards down the field on 11 plays, completing seven consecutive passes including a 20-yard strike to TE Jermichael Finley before the end of the first quarter.
To start the second period, Rodgers completed a short pass to Finley to set up a nine-yard scoring throw to WR Greg Jennings. Crosby made the extra point to give the Packers a 14-7 lead at the beginning of the second quarter.
Sproles returned the next kickoff 32 yards and the Saints were able to move the chains a few times through the air. The Packers secondary made two consecutive plays to deflect Brees passes intended for WR Lance Moore and Colston to force a punt by P Thomas Morstead. Morstead punted the ball 32 yards, forcing WR Randall Cobb to call fair catch on the Packers eight-yard line.
Starting deep in their own territory, the Packers kept the football on the ground as Benson carried five times and caught two passes to help move the ball down the field. The Packers converted on a fourth-and-one deep in their own territory as FB John Kuhn rushed for five yards and a new set of downs. Rodgers and Benson were able to move the ball the rest of the way down the field on a 13-play drive lasting over six minutes that led to a 14-yard touchdown pass from Rodgers to Jones. Crosby made the extra point and the Packers took a 21-7 lead with 4:50 remaining in the first half.
After a touchback, Brees completed nine passes and gained five first downs through the air on a 12-play, 80-yard drive. Sproles caught a screen pass and was able to pick up 20 yards and brought the Saints down to the Green Bay 20 yard line. Brees then completed quick passes to Moore and Colston to set up a six-yard touchdown pass from Brees to Sproles. Hartley made the extra point and brought the game within one score, 21-14.
The Packers returned the kickoff and Benson rushed once to end the second quarter.
The Saints drove down the field all the way to the Green Bay three-yard line on the opening possession of the second half but couldn’t get into the end zone. On the drive, Colston made a catch for 26 yards and Moore caught a 19 yard pass on the right sideline to move the chains. Hartley capped off the drive by making a 20-yard field goal and bringing the score to 21-17.
On the first Packers possession of the second half, Rodgers came out firing again. He completed six passes for 65 yards to lead the Packers into Saints territory. Rodgers was injured on a facemask and QB Graham Harrell entered the game faced with first-and-goal from the four-yard line. Harrell tripped while attempting to hand off the football to Benson, fumbled the ball, and Jenkins recovered for the Saints at the eight-yard line.
Following the first turnover of the contest, the Saints struck quickly. After picking up a first down on a seven-yard pass to Moore, Morgan caught a deep pass from Brees and went 80 yards for a Saints touchdown. Hartley made the PAT and gave the Saints a 24-21 lead.
The Packers turned the ball over on their next possession as well. Rodgers completed 16-yard passes to both Nelson and Crabtree before CB Patrick Robinson intercepted a Rodgers pass intended for Nelson. Robinson was stopped for no gain at the New Orleans 34-yard line.
On the next offensive drive, Brees completed a 12- yard pass to FB Jed Collins but was sacked by Mathews for a loss of ten yards. Faced with third-and-17, Brees found Colston between defenders in zone coverage for a 23-yard pickup. Sproles rushed for no gain to end the third quarter.
Continuing to start the fourth quarter, Brees completed a 27-yard strike to Colston but the Packers defense didn’t allow the Black and Gold to move the chains any further and Hartley was brought on to attempt a 27-yard field goal. Hartley made the kick and increased the Saints lead to six points, 27-21.
After forcing a Saints three-and-out, the Packers took over from their own 43-yard line later in the fourth quarter. Rodgers completed five-of-six passes on the drive for 49 yards, including an 11-yard touchdown pass to Nelson. Crosby made the PAT and gave the Packers a 28-27 lead with seven minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
Brees and the Saints offense took the field to attempt a comeback. After picking up a first down on the ground, Brees was sacked by DE C.J. Wilson for a loss of seven yards. The offense battled back as Brees connected with Colston on a 15-yard completion but he was stopped short of the first down. On fourth-and-two, Brees completed a six-yard pass to Moore to gain a first down. Brees then completed passes to Moore for 14 yards and Graham for 11 yards before the Saints were stopped in their tracks. Hartley came on to attempt a 43-yard field goal but a holding call on Thomas moved the Saints back ten yards. An encroachment penalty on the Packers then moved the Saints five yards closer but Hartley missed the 48-yard field goal, returning the football to the Packers.
Rodgers was able to pick up a first down on a third down completion to Jones and kneeled to end the game with a 28-27 Packer victory.
Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments »