Was it karma? The Green Bay Packers pulled out a 28-27 victory over the New Orleans Saints reminiscent of the opening night game of the 2011 season.
That is to say, two high-powered offenses trading blows for four quarters. Was it quite that? Probably not. Both of these teams were desperate. The Packers were 1-2 coming in and they were coming off a demoralizing game in Seattle, where the replacement officials ripped a victory away from the team at the last minute. New Orleans, considered a Super Bowl contender when the season started, was 0-3 and facing the potential unenviable 0-4 hole.
When the dust settled, the Packers got what they needed — a win — and they got it despite the bad-call theme continuing. The Packers were on the ass end of, arguably, three bad calls by the real officials. The worst one occurred on Darren Sproles‘ fourth-quarter kickoff return; Sproles lost the ball before going down and Dezman Moses came out of the pile with it, but the officials ruled Sproles down before the fumble. The Packers had no challenges at the time, so there was nothing Mike McCarthy could do about the botched call.
It seemed like deja vu all over again.
In the end, something ended up pushing Garrett Hartley‘s go-ahead field goal wide left. And here’s where we’ll point out that Russell Wilson threw three interceptions in St. Louis and the Seahawks lost to the Rams.
Remember that taste you had in your mouth last week? Like someone took a dump in it while you were sleeping?
Magically washed away!
Although the Packers defense looked a lot like the unit we came to know last season — giving up 475 yards, including 446 passing to Drew Brees — it never seemed like they were out of it. The Saints’ receivers were open all day over the middle, but the Packers took away the quick strike and snuffed out any sort running game New Orleans was pretending to have.
And let’s face it. Despite their record, Drew Brees is still one of the finest quarterbacks in the NFL. His ability to get rid of the ball and find an open receiver quickly is without parallel in the NFL.
The Packers defense did well to record two sacks on the night (Clay Matthews and C.J. Wilson).
Why haven’t we gotten to the Packers offense you’re probably wondering. Well, Aaron Rodgers and his receivers finally showed up. The stats tell that story.
Rodgers threw for 319, four touchdowns and one interception. He only had 10 incomplete passes. Jordy Nelson had eight for 93 and a touch. Randall Cobb, who gets more touches each week, had seven for 66. Jermichael Finley had his best game of the season with four for 54.
The stud of the evening, however, was the maddeningly inconsistent James James. Jones had five for 56 and two touchdowns. He also made the catch that sealed the game. And… did anyone really notice Greg Jennings spent the second half in street clothes on the sideline?
If you did, it’s only because they pointed it out on the broadcast.
The thing that made it all go was Cedric Benson, though. McCarthy actually gave the ball to Benson on a regular basis and he responded with 106 combined yards, 84 of those were on the ground. On 12 carries, that’s 4.7 per carry.
You’re expecting us to say the Packers offense is back, but let’s be honest. They had an awesome game… against what is by far the worst defense in the league thus far.
After last week, we’ll take it though.
The Packers bounced back like they needed to and they head to Indianapolis next weekend with some momentum. Things are looking up.