Final Impressions: Packers vs. Saints
Until we whip out TiVo Time and review the tape, here are our final impressions on the Green Bay Packers 42-34 win over the [intlink id="234" type="category"]New Orleans Saints[/intlink].
1. Although he cooled off in the second half, [intlink id="25" type="category"]Aaron Rodgers[/intlink] outdueled Drew Brees, completing 27-0f-35 passes for 312 yards and three touchdowns. More impressively, he had a 132.1 passer rating.
2. Rookie [intlink id="1616" type="category"]Randall Cobb[/intlink] impressed with his 32-yard touchdown catch and his big third quarter kickoff return that went 108 yards for a touchdown. On the touchdown catch he didn’t even run the right route.
3. We like the Packers using their Posse personnel (3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB), aligning [intlink id="209" type="category"]Jermichael Finley[/intlink] as the backside X receiver (split end). The formation puts the speed of [intlink id="138" type="category"]Greg Jennings[/intlink], [intlink id="22" type="category"]Jordy Nelson[/intlink] and [intlink id="76" type="category"]Donald Driver[/intlink] on the strong side, which is awfully tough to defend.
4. The offensive game plan was solid in the passing and running attacks. The Packers had a balanced offense getting 10 rushing first downs and 14 passing first downs.
5. The running game looked better than it did during the preseason, rushing 27 times for a net 103 yards and averaging 3.8 yards per carry. [intlink id="1038" type="category"]James Starks[/intlink] led the rushing attack with 12 rushes for 57 yards and one big touchdown run. He simply must improve his pass blocking to become a complete player.
6. The Packers controlled the interior of the offensive and defensive lines to win the game. The offensive line as a whole looked solid. Although he had several false starts, [intlink id="583" type="category"]T.J. Lang[/intlink] improves the running game and he looked consistent in the passing game.
7. Defensive coordinator [intlink id="305" type="category"]Dom Capers[/intlink] won’t be happy watching the game film. The defense looked rusty, with atrocious third down defense, poor tackling and spotty pass coverage. [intlink id="1061" type="category"]Sam Shields[/intlink] allowed too many big completions. The Packers gave up 477 total yards, with Brees throwing for 419 yards. They somehow made enough big plays to win the game.
8. Although the Packers defense notched three sacks, they lacked a consistent pass rush. At times, Brees had all day to throw the ball and he took advantage by making big plays. The defensive line must improve their pass rush. Outside linebacker [intlink id="1335" type="category"]Erik Walden[/intlink] and defensive end Jarius Wynn had their moments, but the rest of the front seven was M.I.A.
9. On the Packers final defensive stand, the goal-line defense was stellar. The goal-line package with four defensive linemen, four linebackers, and three defensive backs stopped running back Mark Ingram for no gain as the clock ran out.
10. Wynn had big plays against the run and notched a sack. While he’s an improved player, he’s simply a solid backup to [intlink id="1033" type="category"]Mike Neal [/intlink] or [intlink id="1042" type="category"]C.J. Wilson[/intlink].
11. Special teams continue to be shaky. Shawn Slocum’s unit gave up a touchdown and several other big returns. The gap control and tackling was simply awful. No one came close to touching Darren Sproles on his 72-yard punt return touchdown.