A poor performance from the run defense, a pulled hamstring by Aaron Rodgers, and a few poorly-timed interceptions by the Saints combined for an ugly Packers loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday Night in the Superdome by a final score of
Here's your game recap from an ugly loss.
On the opening drive, the Packers quieted the Saints' home crowd quickly. An early ten-yard run by Eddie Lacy got the team going, but the Packers faced third and long from their side of the fifty. With marvelous protection, Aaron Rodgers was able to evade one last rusher several seconds after the snap and launched a deep ball to Randall Cobb, who was able to make the catch while backing up and outrace a pair of Saints defensive backs to the end zone for a 70-yard score and a 7-0 lead.
The Saints struck back quickly, though. A deep pass by Drew Brees to Kenny Stills set up the Saints inside the five-yard line, and Brandin Cooks ran in a jet sweep to tie the score at 7.
Ready for more right away? The Packers got loose on a screen pass (seriously) as Lacy picked up 67 yards. The Packers set up on second and goal with Julius Peppers motioning out wide in single-coverage, and though Rodgers' pass hit him in the hands, he couldn't bring it in for a score. A sack on third down set up a short Mason Crosby field goal to make the score 10-7 Packers.
McCarthy dipped into his bag of tricks for the second time in a few plays, as he called an onside kick on the ensuing kickoff. Unfortunately, the ball bounced out of bounds out of the reach of the Packers, and the Saints got the ball with great field position. The run defense missed that drive, as Mark Ingram had a few nice runs and a blown coverage led to the Saints getting inside the 10 again, but a sack by Julius Peppers on third down forced a tying field goal to make the score 10-10.
A Packers drive straddled the end of the first and start of the second, and consisted of a few quick passes to Randall Cobb, as he exceeded 100 yards in less than 16 minutes of game time. Unfortunately, a holding penalty on David Bakhtiari pushed the Packers back into a long yardage situation, and Mason Crosby was forced to hit a 49-yard field goal to give the Packers their third lead of the game at 13-10.
Once again, the Saints moved the ball well. After a deep incompletion to Brandin Cooks, Brees found him again on the next play for a big gain despite the ball bouncing high in the air after a tip. Ingram was running the ball well again, but he was stopped short on a second-and-one. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix then made a nice play to stop a screen pass behind the line of scrimmage and force yet another field goal by Shayne Graham, which led to yet another tie game, this time at 13.
Davante Adams had a nice catch early on the next drive, followed by first down receptions by Richard Rodgers and Eddie Lacy to get the ball inside the Saints' 30. Unfortunately, a pass interference penalty on Adams forced the Packers into a first and 20 and a delay of game penalty moved the Packers back another five yards. They picked up about twenty of those again in the next three downs, but were forced to settle for a Mason Crosby field goal attempt just after the two-minute warning. Crosby nailed it though, and the Packers led 16-13.
The Saints ran a two-minute drive, though, and pulled into field goal range yet again to tie the game up at the half.
On the opening drive of the second half, Ingram busted out in a big way with a 28-yard run to get the Saints out to midfield. However, the Packers' defense came up with the first stop of the day as they stuffed the Saints' running game twice in a row, on third-and-one and then again on fourth down.
The Packers' next drive became the Eddie Lacy show, but an unfortunate injury contributed to a turnover. Lacy broke a series of tackles on several runs during the drive and Aaron Rodgers picked up a red zone first down, but he tweaked a hamstring stretching out for an extra yard. He was obviously hobbled on the next two plays and ended up getting intercepted after a pass bounced off Andrew Quarless and into the hands of David Hawthorne.
Ingram had a big run early on the next drive and Jimmy Graham finally started to get involved on the ensuing series. Then came the deep ball - Drew Brees hit Brandin Cooks for a 50-yard score, splitting Micah Hyde and Tramon Williams down the middle for a touchdown and the Saints' first lead of the game at 23-16.
Lacy had a nice run on the second play of the next drive to pick up a first down, but a questionable call on a ball-spot challenge of a Davante Adams catch led to a Packers fourth-down attempt. Eddie Lacy was hit in the backfield after trying to run behind Lane Taylor and came up short of the line to gain at the 41-yard line.
Jimmy Graham burned Tramon Williams on the next drive for another Saints score in the corner of the end zone, as the big tight end made a leaping grab (possibly aided by a push off from #38) to extend the Saints lead to 30-16.
The Packers next drive concluded in the early fourth, following some nice catches by Adams and Lacy, but Adams couldn't haul in a pass from Rodgers on the run. The pass bounced off Adams' outstretched right hand and into the arms of the Saints' Corey White, for New Orleans' second pick of the night, though Adams was likely at fault for cutting his route short.
The Packers got burned by a bad pass interference penalty on Davon House early on the next drive, which gave the Saints the ball at the 20. The run defense was abysmal on the drive though, as Mark Ingram continued to carve up the middle of the Packers' defense. Play-action to Ingram set up a wide-open touchdown pass from Drew Brees to tight end Josh Hill to extend the lead to 37-16.
The Lacy show continued on the next drive, as he went over 100 receiving yards thanks to a handful of receptions, including a big conversion on a fourth-and-six. Aaron Rodgers stepped up and ran into the end zone from 14 yards out to cut the lead to 37-23. Unfortunately, they could not recover an onside kick and the Saints got the ball back at the Packers' 35.
Mark Ingram added a touchdown late before Matt Flynn came on to relieve Rodgers late in the game (and promptly coughed up the ball on a sack).
In a statistical oddity, neither team punted tonight - the second time that the Packers have been involved in such a game this season (it also happened against the Bears in week four).