Saints rally to beat Packers, 34-27

The Green Bay Packers were victims of their own mistakes, many committed by veterans in the second half, against the New Orleans Saints. As a result, the Saints rallied from a 13-0 deficit to beat the Packers 34-27 at Lambeau Field Sunday afternoon.

The percentages say an NFL team that commits three or more turnovers in a game is likely to lose. The New Orleans Saints defied those odds today against the Green Bay Packers behind their playmakers.

The Saints overcame an early 13-0 deficit by scoring 20 unanswered points and went on to beat the Packers, 34-27, Sunday afternoon before 70,602 fans at Lambeau Field. New Orleans, who opened the season with a 19-14 win over Cleveland, won its first two games of the season on the road for the first time in team history. The Saints also got revenge for a 52-3 beating on the same field less than a year ago.

"That's a ballgame we should have won," said Packers quarterback Brett Favre. "I give the Saints a lot of credit. They went on the road twice and won, and I give them a great deal of credit, but we should have won."

The Packers (0-2) play three of their next four games on the road, beginning Sunday at winless Detroit.

"We're 0-2. It's a 16-game season," said Packers head coach Mike McCarthy. "That's not the outcome we're looking for. It's disappointing, and we need to find a way to win those games, find a way to make plays, particularly in a critical situation."

Drew Brees threw for 353 yards, including a 35-yard touchdown pass to 6-foot-4 rookie Marques Colston for a 27-20 edge with 8:20 remaining. Veteran running back Ahman Green fumbled the ball away on the ensuing series on Green Bay's 23. One play later, running back Deuce McAllister burst through an opening for a touchdown for a 14-point advantage.

Aside from wide receiver Donald Driver, who had another impressive game with 8 catches for 153 yards, it was the Packers' veterans, not their youth, that let the team down after such a fast start. Green's fumble, along with a handful of dropped passes didn't help Same with veteran tight end Bubba Franks, who also dropped a few passes, as well as veteran receiver Robert Ferguson, who dropped a pass in the end zone.

"Clearly the veterans will be the major part of how we play," McCarthy said. "I know there has been a lot said about our youth. Our veterans will have to lead in a lot of ways, particularly in the locker room and on game days. We need to get better production."

Green Bay's defense, poised at the start of the season to remain in the league's top 10 this season, let the Saints pile up 380 total yards, one week after giving up 361 yards to the Chicago Bears in a 26-0 loss. The Packers limited star running back Reggie Bush to 109 combined yards (5 rushing, 68 receiving and 36 on punt returns), but were unable to stop the Saints from making big plays down the stretch.

Favre's 6-yard pass to running back Noah Herron cut the Saints' lead to 34-27 with 4:18 remaining. Favre, who completed 31 of 55 passes for 340 yards with three touchdowns and one interception, had thrown only one touchdown pass in the Packers' previous six games.

The Packers got the ball with 3:09 remaining, and Favre drove Green Bay to the Saints' 44. But the veteran quarterback threw four straight incompletions, including a poorly thrown pass on fourth-and-10 that the intended receiver, Ferguson, had no chance to catch.

The Packers opened the second half by driving 66 yards on 15 plays. After Favre passed for 11 yards to Driver, who made a diving catch at the Saints' 7, he rolled out to his right and was hit as he released the ball, and safety Omar Stoutmire grabbed it out of the air in the end zone.

Brees instantly found veteran receiver Joe Horn wide open across the middle against linebacker Brady Poppinga for a 57-yard completion to the Packers' 23. Thanks to Aaron Kampman's third sack of the game on Brees on third-and-9, the Saints were forced to settle for John Carney's 45-yard field goal and a 17-13 lead.

Carney's 47-yard field goal with 3:02 left in the third quarter stretched the Saints' lead to 20-13.

New Orleans overcame a sloppy first quarter by scoring two second-quarter touchdowns and took a 14-13 halftime lead. The Saints had scoring drives of 58 and 73 yards, and took advantage of the absence of cornerback Al Harris, who was taken to the locker room early in the second quarter with leg cramps.

Harris returned in the second half and finished the game.

Brees, who fumbled the ball away on the Saints' first two possessions, completed 9 of 17 passes for 129 yards in the second quarter. His 26-yarder to Devery Henderson with 56 seconds left put the Saints up by one point. Henderson juked Ahmad Carroll, filling in for Harris, and was wide open to catch Brees' pass.

The Packers turned their first three take-aways of the season into 13 points in the first quarter against the Saints. Green Bay's defensive end tandem of Kampman and Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila each forced Brees to fumble the ball away on the Saints' first two possessions. Harris followed by getting his first interception of the season off a deflected Brees' pass.

Kampman recovered Brees' fumble on the Saints 37, and the Packers capitalized on Favre's 22-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Greg Jennings for Green Bay's first touchdown of the season. Three plays into the next Saints' series, Gbaja-Biamila beat left tackle Jammal Brown, forcing Brees to fumble. Defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins pounced on the ball at the Saints' 15, and kicker Dave Rayner's 24-yard field goal made it 10-0.

Brees took advantage of a linebacker blitz on the ensuing series and connected with McAllister for a 25-yard gain to Green Bay's 24. On the next play, safety Nick Collins got a hand on a pass by Brees and Harris reeled it in while managing to keep both feet inbounds along the sideline. The Packers moved 75 yards, helped along by Favre's 48-yard completion to Donald Driver, but had to settle for Rayner's 36-yard field goal when Green was stopped short of a first down on a screen pass at the 17.

New Orleans got the momentum to swing its way midway through the second quarter on McAllister's 2-yard plunge for a touchdown. The score highlighted an impressive nine-play, 58-yard drive in which Brees completed all four of his pass attempts, including a 33-yarder to tight end Mark Campbell to Green Bay's 3 yard line. Campbell easily made the catch after Collins fell down when he feet got tangled with Campbell's feet.

Packer Report Top Stories