Packers Outlast Saints In Season Opener

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Sam Shields breaks up a pass meant for Devery Henderson.

The New Orleans Saints just couldn’t keep up with the Green Bay Packers in the NFL season opener Thursday.

Clay Matthews & Co. stuffed rookie running back Mark Ingram at the goal line on the last play of the game to pull out the win 42-34.

Packers rookie Randall Cobb impressed early, catching a touchdown from Aaron Rodgers and running a kickoff back 108 yards for a score in the third quarter — tying an NFL record for the longest kickoff return in history.

Rodgers came out on top in a memorable duel with Drew Brees, throwing for 312 yards and three touchdowns.

Brees threw for 419 yards and three touchdowns, including a late touchdown to Jimmy Graham that cut the lead to 8 with 2:15 left.

Green Bay punted, and Brees marched the Saints to the Packers 9-yard line and spiked the ball with 3 seconds left. A completely bogus call led to an A.J. Hawk penalty for pass interference and the ball was placed at the 1.

Led by Matthews and safety Morgan Burnett, the Packers defense swarmed Ingram short of the goal line and the game was over.

It’s fair to say the Packers came out swinging. Rodgers led the team to touchdowns on their first three possessions, and Green Bay held a 21-7 lead in the first quarter.

The game’s most memorable moment came early in the second half, when Cobb took a kickoff deep in the end zone and spun off a tackling attempt, put his right hand down to keep his balance, then cruised to the end zone.

Cobb’s 108-yard return tied an NFL record set by New England’s Ellis Hobbs in September 2007. It also was the Packers’ first kickoff return for a touchdown since Allen Rossum in 2000.

About The Author

Sarah is a writer and editor living in the Twin Cities, a lifelong Packers fan and an ardent supporter of all things anti-Vikings.

24 Comments on "Packers Outlast Saints In Season Opener"

  1. Dave

    The offense proved they cannot be stopped and the defense looked a little soft, but they were playing against Drew Brees and crew, overall a great win and a fantastic game to watch

  2. CaptJake

    Saints still gettin’ that Tolken Katrina Sympathy favored calls from the ref…

    and still got BEAT by The CHAMPS!

  3. Andy

    The defense got torn to pieces, but i suppose that was bound to happen for both teams, hopefully green bay will sure up in the coming weeks. The new kick off rule is rediculous, like 8 touchbacks? I think everyone will complain till that gets moved back to the 30

  4. packerfan2008

    it will be devastating if Tramon is out for at least half the season. I hope its just something minor but to me it looked like a broken forearm.

    • Abe Frohman

      I’m certainly no doctor, but he looked to be holding his hand as he walked off the field. He can play with a cast. He won’t be getting too many interceptions with it, but he can still line up and play.

  5. Abe Frohman

    I thought there were two crap calls. Hawk did not appear to touch Sproles on that PI call to extend the game. The ref that threw the flag was behind the play and couldn’t see very well. To me, that’s one the refs need to circle the wagons and look at that on the replay.

    Also looking for clarification on the stupid touchback. If that’s me, I punt the ball out of bounds rather than rely upon Bush to down it. Did 24’s foot touch the ground in the end zone? I mean his knee is down. The play should be over. If they can jump before the goal line and throw the ball back and it’s not considered down, then if Bush’s foot wasn’t touching, that’s not a touchback. It’s not a touchdown if the ball doesn’t cross the plane. Why is it a touchback? Very inconsistent rule.

    Whatever. They won! Rodgers and our O is unstoppable.

    • Kristofer from Oshkosh

      I think you are a little confused. Like they called it during the game, Bush was inbounds when his knee went down, but its one of those where u have to stay inbounds through the catch, it is in the rules. Also, I do think it was a bad call on Hawk at the end of the game. It did not look like the reciever was touched, imo.

      • Abe Frohman

        nah….what I was asking is if his foot doesn’t touch the ground in the end zone, then it shouldn’t be a touchback. IF it did, then yes it is a touchback. I understand the rule.

        In other words, if he were to jump from the 1, catch the ball in mid air and throw it back out where it could be downed, that would be a good play, right? The key difference there is that he jumped before the goal line. So, if JB’s foot doesn’t touch the ground in the end zone, then it’s not a touchback. You’d think they’d review that to make sure the call was right, at least.

  6. Darrin

    I was sitting in the corner end zone in front of the last play. Hawk didn’t touch Sproles whatsoever. AND, the refs missed a blatant hold on Matthews right in the open. Otherwise, he would have sacked Brees. It was the best game I’ve ever seen in person. Cobb was awesome! Offense looked unstoppable at times, Defense had some issues in the backfield, but don’t forget this may have been the second best offense in the league. I still wonder why McCarthy takes his foot of the pedal in the 4th quarter. Even with a 15 point lead, which as it turned out might not have been enough, he gets conservative. Almost like he didn’t want to run up the score.

    • Ryan

      I disagree with the notion that McCarthy got conservative in the 4th. GB had the ball three times. The first drive resulted in a TD and was a methodical 12 play, 81 yard drive.

      The second drive was a 7 play drive that ate up almost 5 minutes of 4th quarter clock. Sure, it was a lot of running the ball… But the running plays worked; we got runs of 9 and 8 yards. On 2nd & 9 MM called a pass play where Rodgers got sacked. I’m not sure that can be called conservative. On 3rd and 17 MM did call a conservative play – I think he was 100% right here.

      The final drive had two short runs and set up a manageable 3rd & 4. MM calls a PASS here. I love the call, but Kuhn can’t make a move and pick up the first down.

      Sure, the Packers offense slowed down, but I don’t think MM got conservative.

  7. Ryan

    I follow Mike Pereira on Twitter and he agreed with both calls. He explained the rule of the touchback and so long as the rule is correct, the right call was made on the field. The PI is a judgment call and I completely disagree with the call on the field. Hawk went to the SIDE of Sproles and then finally made contact when the ball arrived. The official was in absolutely horrible position and it looked to me like some of the other officials tried to talk him out of the call but couldn’t.

    Rodgers looked unstoppable in the first half. He did cool off in the 2nd half. Finley was in the same boat; he looked amazing in the first half, but then I didn’t really see him in 2nd half. My guess is that the Saints focused their defense on him which is why Jordy was open so often. Frankly though, who cares who got the ball. This just shows how when you focus on one of our receivers/TEs, another will be open. So long as the players don’t get selfish and start calling for the ball, this should be a fun year.

    The defense was a disappointment, and the injuries (here we go again) were alarming. Sam Shields, who had such a great year last year, looked two steps behind every receiver he was covering. Interceptions were dropped and the missed tackles were disturbing. I’m going to hope that the defense was just tired from playing their first full game.

    Cobb looked amazing. The special teams coverage looked depressing.

    One last point: The kickoff was moved up 5 yards… Why isn’t Crosby forcing a touchback each time? When I first heard of the rule I was happy because I thought it would help our pathetic coverage unit. If Crosby can’t get the ball to the back of the endzone every time, that point is mute.

    Overall: I’ll take the win! Go PACK!

  8. Rob

    Actually, the call on Hawk was correct. He push up against Sproles shoulder pads during the catch. It was an amazing play and probably saved the game, even thought it was called for pass interference.

    • ay hombre

      I agree. That was pass interference just as much as Woodson punched that guy in the gut. Not many of us want to admit Woodson should have been tossed out. If you think the Hawk penalty was bullshit then call it a wash.

      • Ryan

        I still think that it wasn’t pass interference. However, Woodson should have been tossed from the game. That type of behavior cannot be tolerated and in addition to his guaranteed fine from Goodell, I would hope that the Packers set him straight.

  9. ay hombre

    A good win but that last offensive possession was a major debacle and almost cost us the game. We had a 1st and 10 on the Saints 43 with 2:14 left and one of the hottest kickers in football who also has one of the biggest legs. I don’t know what the hell happened on the 3rd down play that resulted in a no gain pass as MM appeared very pissed, but we played that set of downs with little confidence when we should have been looking to put them away. As dominant as we were all night, it’s a shame it came down to the last play.

    The 3rd quarter blues continue but we will get better. Go Pack Go.

    • Ryan

      I would like to know why MM was so pissed. I really liked the play call, but clearly something didn’t go right. I personally thought he looked aggravated with the officials.

  10. Randy R

    Great win…Tackling was pathetic, Anyone see Martez Wilson holding Crabtree’s Jersey for over 10 yards on Sproles td reurn?…interesting..Great Cobb return, should return more kicks where was the passing game in the 2nd half?..70yards?….The offensive NEEDS to learn how to keep possesion and eat clock to put games away. O line played better than expected, some nice runs off left side..GO STARKS!!!!

  11. packerfan2008

    It was fucking hilarious seeing hawk try to cover sproles in the first quarter…hawk is slow as shit and sproles is fast as shit. it was sooo entertaining…except for the part where sproles caught the pass and gained like 30 yards…

  12. lumberyard

    although he was burned later, walden did make that nice play against jimmy graham. was very surprised to see that.

  13. The Offense looked stellar, although the Saints aren’t known for their D. The Rookie Cobb looks like a great sign, and should show up on the highlight reel.
    D looked vulnerable but when the game was on the line they made a great goal line stand.

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