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.