Packers XLV

Packers Send Saints Marching Home...Barely

Posted October 1st, 2012 @ 12:10am

Is this week over yet? In a game that featured nearly as much drama as last Monday's game, including a pair of big calls in the final minutes, the Packers escaped with a one-point win over the Saints. To say it salvaged the season might be a bit of a stretch--but not by much.

Everything changed when the Graham Harrell era made its debut late in the third quarter. With the Pack inside the 10 and Rodgers knocked out for a play after getting hit in the face, Harell tripped over a lineman causing a fumble and initiating a 14-point swing. Rather than a Packer touchdown and an 11-point lead, Brees took over and caught Sam Shields napping. The result: an 80 yard touchdown to "Chicken Wing" Joe Morgan and their first lead of the game.

The Packers' last scoring drive was efficient, with McCarthy mixing runs and passes. Benson finished with more than 80 yards on the ground. Nelson fought hard for the score and the Pack edged ahead 28-27. With Jennings knocked out of the game at halftime, Cobb and Driver got more snaps. Cobb played the Sproles role to a tee and the receiving hero was James Jones, who had one of his "on" game--catching everything thrown his way. His last one, which iced it, was a thing of beauty, hanging on despite being interfered with.

Much will be made of the 446 yards the Packers defense surrendered through the air. After entering the game as the league's #1 pass defense, the Pack was torched by Brees, who entered this game with his season on the line. The Saints are 0-4, but Brees did all he could...consistently converting third downs for most of the game. The Pack's D finally stiffened a bit late, forcing the last field goal attempt. They caught a break when referee Jeff Triplette called holding on the 43 yard attempt. It's not always called, but Sam Shields was clearly held.

The officiating was far from perfect, but the game ran much more smoothly than we've seen before this week. Marques Colston got away with a push off on the Saints' first score of the game. And the officials missed Sproles' fumble on the late kickoff. With McCarthy out of challenges, there was nothing he could do. It was clear Dezman Moses popped the ball loose, and it looked like he recovered as well. Had McCarthy not wasted an early challenge on a Jordy Nelson drop, things might have gone differently. The Packers finished the game minus two in the turnover category, but somehow escaped with a win. There were a couple of near interceptions by Green Bay, but right now the ball just doesn't seem to be bouncing their way.

We'll wait to hear the injury report, but Jennings and Pickett were unable to finish the game and may not be able to go in Indianapolis next week. It's the beginning of a three game road trip and the Colts will come in healthier, with two weeks to get ready.

For now, the Pack did what they had to do. They moved on from the sleepless night in Seattle and took care of business at home--barely. The Pack is 2-2, the offense looks like it's coming together and the young defense is still a work in progress. The good news: there isn't another Drew Brees on the schedule this season.

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Comments (14):

on October 1st, 2012 at 02:45am

Hope Ted T is looking for a real backup for Rodgers. Nice to see a resemblance to something that looked like a running game, also, some very good pressure by the D, at times. Overall, it looked lime the D just isn't consistent. Why the challenge on J Nelson's drop? The guys in the both need to either smarten-up or find another job. Is it me, or has Rodgers thrown more bad passes already this year than he threw all of last season? If the Pack can't beat Indy without Jennings, there is trouble on the Lambeau tundra!

on October 1st, 2012 at 02:52am

I for one am happy to be at 2-2 at the end of the 1st quarter of the season considering all we have been through. We have seen some signs of improvement in our Defense (although it looked like 2011 all over again during the Saints game). Need to get our O back on track and I agree with Don in that it seems that part of the problem is Rodgers not as accurate as last year. Oh well, 4 pretty good teams so far and we come out 2-2. I can live with that. Now let's take care of the 2nd quarter of the season: Indy, Houston, Rams, & Jax. Need to take 3 of these as a minimum.

on October 1st, 2012 at 04:02pm

I wouldn't be too hard on Harrell for the fumbled exchange with Benson. It looked like one of the Packers' o-linemen, maybe Saturday, got pushed back or pulled too deep to trip the qb as he came out from center. Not that easy for a back-up to come in cold and so unexectedly when he has no regular season game experience. I remember Rodgers looking lost and confused when he had to come in unexpectedly in a blow-out loss to the Patriots at Lambeau in his rookie season. And he got his foot broken and was out the rest of the season to boot.

on October 1st, 2012 at 05:42am

nice to see how committed you remain to a team so far below the Vikings in the standings.

on October 1st, 2012 at 06:33pm

Good to see the Packers secondary return to 2011 form. 450 yards given up--that's the record-breaking pace from last season Pack fans should be used to. Nice that you guys needed a missed FG to eek out a win at home against a winless team.

on October 1st, 2012 at 07:35am

I know a win is a win...BUT...I hope some trends are not developing......yes we will not see a Brees the rest of the season but will see some good throwers. Why does Capers want to keep using this loosely playing zone defense? Whatever happened to chucking a receiver on the line? Tramon Williams was good at this.....has he declined that much?.....and moving Woodson to safety may negate his ability. Maybe Capers believes these guys have slipped and needs the loose zone. We gave up way too many third and longs and our outside LB's still cant cover their zone routes. Will be interesting to see if teams exploit us in this zone. Is Devon House ready soon? Nice to see the offense wake up.....nice use of Cobb and Jones stepped up....with Jennings out will he continue? Speaking of Jennings....the trade deadline is October and I know the NFL is not like major league baseball with deadline trades....but with his contract demands for next year and his lingering injuries TT might be dangling him. Long season to go and when healthy Rogers likes him in key situations. Benson looks stronger week to week.....will we ever see Alex Green. Hopefully Indy's young Luck doesnt perform on us like last years youngster...Cam Newton. GO PACK GO !!

on October 1st, 2012 at 09:11am

I would say that the two deep look Rodgers is seeing has changed the windows that he is seeing and throwing off the route timing. You can say, Rodgers should adjust, but he also is trying to put it where it cant be intercepted. This team is probably going to be in tight games all year, and buzz word I'm hearing on the defensive side of the ball is communication. That is at least easier to correct then "not enough talent". One game at time. Next up.

on October 1st, 2012 at 09:36pm

Cane, weren't the Vikings unable to keep the colts out of field goal range? I would consider whose team failed in simular situtations.

on October 1st, 2012 at 09:43pm

Too bad we won't get the opportunity to see how the Vikings would do against this winless team anytime soon, especially since neither will make the playoffs this year. Such a pity..

on October 2nd, 2012 at 07:52pm

I was @ the game, the offense looked like itself finally. I am enjoying watching Benson run the ball as well. Sadly, no pass rush, which I am hoping bounces back this week against Indy.

on October 3rd, 2012 at 07:58pm

Finally, a game where the Pack is able to overcome the other team and the refs. Jeff Triplette: Ugh. James Jones, Jordy Nelson and Cedric Benson really came through today. Glad we didn't trade James Jones since Jennings just can't seem to stay healthy anymore. Some pretty horrible pass defense at times but they managed to stop Brees just enough. Whew...

on September 30th, 2012 at 07:50pm

And Graham Harrell as the backup? Woof.

on September 30th, 2012 at 07:51pm

It's nice to see the Packers won in spite of themselves AND the refs. With all the long 3rd down conversions they allowed, they still managed to pull it off. It's pretty obvious the Saints are the most dangerous 0-4 team in the league, so I for one am glad the first quarter of the season is done. The D was a bit porus, but consider what they were up against. At least the offense seems to be coming around, and the depth at WR helped them out. It was ugly, but even with no favors from the real refs, it was also a W - good job!

on September 30th, 2012 at 09:41pm

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