Packers-Saints: Post-game notes

Green Bay thrives on take-aways

When it rains it pours for the Green Bay Packers. The Packers more than doubled their take-away output for the season in one game against the New Orleans Saints.

The Packers entered Sunday's game against the Saints with just two take-aways in four games this season - an interception and a fumble recovery. That quickly changed, beginning with cornerback Al Harris' 22-yard interception return for a touchdown in the first quarter off Saints quarterback Aaron Brooks.

Harris picked off another pass against Brooks on the final play of the first quarter. After that, the Packers recovered two Saints' fumbles, and middle linebacker Nick Barnett capped the day by returning an interception 95 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter to complete Green Bay's 52-3 whipping of the Saints.

"It's great when you can do what we did," said Packers linebacker Paris Lenon. "I think we had five turnovers and scored on two of them. That's incredible. That's what we try to achieve every game. Does it happen every game? No, but you still work toward it."

The Packers had a league-worst minus-9 turnover ratio through four weeks of this season. Favre threw eight interceptions and the Packers lost three fumbles. The Packers improved to minus-4 on Sunday.

"If we had one or two of those turnovers in previous games, we'd be 3-1 right now," said Packers coach Mike Sherman. "I wish we could have used up our margin earlier in the season than we did today. I told you guys last week, or the week before, that they do come in bunches. Hopefully that will continue. Part of it was our guys did a great job of jumping on the ball. We've been catching the ball in practice, causing interceptions by the scout team. It doesn't surprise me that we had take-aways ... the number does a little bit. Your opponent contributes to that as well."

Injury report
Running back Najeh Davenport sustained a broken right ankle with 2:40 left in the second quarter and likely will be out for the rest of the season.

Davenport, who rushed for two touchdowns earlier in the half, hurt his ankle after catching a two-yard pass from Favre. Davenport buckled under as he was getting tackled from the side by linebacker Courtney Watson.

"He was playing well," said Sherman. "At the time he had two rushing touchdowns. It's unfortunate that it happened."

Davenport finished with 54 yards on 12 carries (4.5 yard avg.) and Green Bay's first two rushing touchdowns of the season.

Starting roles
Davenport started his second game as a Packer in place of the injured Ahman Green. Davenport entered the game with 51 yards rushing on 18 attempts. He finished with 54 yards on 12 attempts (4.5 yard per carry avg.) before leaving the game in the second quarter with an ankle injury.

Green sustained a bruised knee and quadriceps tendon in Green Bay's Monday night loss against the Carolina Panthers on Monday. With the upcoming bye week, Green is expected to return for Green Bay's Oct. 23 game at Minnesota.

"More time to work out and rehab," Green said. "I'll be in the pool more and do some more running."

David Martin started his third straight game at tight end in place of Bubba Franks, who was activated for the game. Franks has been recovering from a bruised left knee. Sherman said afterward that he would have used Franks only if absolutely necessary.

Center Scott Wells started in place of the injured Mike Flanagan, who underwent surgery for a muscle hernia on Tuesday. It is uncertain if Flanagan will be available when the Packers return from their bye week on Oct. 23 at Minnesota.

On defense, Roy Manning started in place of Paris Lenon at strong-side linebacker. Lenon was scheduled to start for the injured Na'il Diggs (knee), but Manning, a rookie free agent, got his first start of the season.

New roles
Jamal Jones and newly running back Rashard Lee took over as kickoff returners for the Packers Sunday against he Saints.

Jones was promoted to the active roster earlier in the week from the team's practice squad. He is filling in for Terrence Murphy, who was placed on season-ending injured reserve with a neck injury that he sustained Monday at Carolina. Lee was signed as a free agent on Wednesday.

Lee finished with 7 yards rushing on seven carries, getting playing time in the second half behind Tony Fisher. Jones returned one kickoff for 25 yards.

Did not suit up
The following players were among Green Bay's inactives for today's game against the Saints: safety Earl Little, running back Ahman Green, center Mike Flanagan, linebacker Na'il Diggs, center Chris White, defensive tackle Donnell Washington and defensive end Michael Montgomery.

Craig Nall was listed as the designated third quarterback.

Rodgers plays
Aaron Rodgers, the Packers' No. 1 draft pick this season, saw his first action of the season. Rodgers entered the game early in the fourth quarter with the Packers ahead 45-3.

Rodgers' main job was to hand the ball off, especially during his first series, which began on the Packers' own 1 yard line after guard Will Whitticker was penalized for a false start.

"It's pretty easy when you are up by that much," said Rodgers. "I didn't want to do anything stupid around the goal line, like fumble a snap or anything. Coach (Sherman) just said, ‘Don't do anything stupid.'"

Rodgers completed his only pass for no gain to fullback Vonta Leach.

Extra points
Donald Driver has caught a pass in 53 straight games, fourth longest streak in Packers history.

Davenport's 24-yard run in the second quarter was Green Bay's longest of the season from scrimmage.

The last time Chicago had five take-aways in a game was Dec. 7, 2003 against the Chicago Bears, a 34-21 victory. Mike McKenzie intercepted two passes that day, including a 90-yard return for a touchdown at Lambeau Field.


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