The road to recovery can be strange. The Packers had themselves a miserable week while the New Orleans Saints have had a horrific year. Green Bay had to shake off the injustice in Seattle while the Saints were still looking for their first win since the NFL determined they placed bounties to injure opponents. Even with the regular referees back at work there were strange calls that went against the Pack again but in the final three minutes, a missed 48 yard field goal by New Orleans and an acrobatic third down catch by James Jones allowed the Packers to exorcise their demons first with a 28-27 victory before 70,571 at Lambeau Field. With Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees on the same field, you knew you would be taking pity on defensive backs. Combined, the quarterbacks went 66 for 95, good for 765 yards and 7 touchdowns. Both teams were allowed to operate out of the no huddle with little interruption and the Packers cashed in first, driving 62 yards in 7 plays for the lead. Rodgers was flushed left and wanted to hit Jermichael Finley but Jones swept across his route for a 12 yard scoring grab 6 minutes into the game. The Saints responded with an 80 yard drive, capped by Marques Colston's 20 yard TD catch over Morgan Burnett. The Pack promptly drove 80 yards in 11 plays with Greg Jennings catching a dart in traffic over the middle from 9 yards out to make it 14-7. Green Bay's defense forced a punt but the offense couldn't move. Looking at 4th and 1 from their own 17, Mike McCarthy pulled another special teams trick out of the bag. John Kuhn took a direct snap and gained five yards off left guard to bring the offense back oiut. They finished the 13 play, 92 yard drive with Jones catching his second touchdown of the day from 14 yards out. Brees again led the Saints back, hitting Darren Sproles who beat D.J. Smith on the arrow route inside and turned back outside on the 6 yad play with :27 left in the half. On the first series of the third quarter, Jimmy Graham looked to drop a third down conversion and McCarthy challenged the completion, only to lose and be without his red flag for the rest of the game. The Saints kicked a field goal from inside the 10 but got new life when B.J. Raji was called for a personal foul. Given first and goal from the one, the Packers held, forcing another, 20 yard field goal to maintain the lead at 21-17. The offense marched again, reaching third and three at the Saints' 4 when Rodgers rolled right. Malcolm Jenkins caught Rodgers' face mask, poking him in the eye to give Green Bay first and goal at the 2. Rodgers, however, left the game with blurred vision. On the next snap, backup Graham Harrell got tripped up on the center snap and lost the ball trying to hand off to Cedric Benson and New Orleans recovered. Four plays later, Brees burned Sam Shields by hitting Joseph Morgan behind him for an 80 yard touchdown putting the Saints on top 24-21. It looked bleaker when Rodgers was picked off on the next series by Patrick Robinson but again, the defense stiffened inside the 10, giving up a short field goal. With 7 minutes to play, Rodgers found Jordy Nelson on a slant for the go ahead 11 yard touchdown. On the ensuing kickoff, it appeared to everyone that Sproles fumbled on a hit by Dezmon Moses, but out of challenges, the referees ruled Sproles down by contact and boos cascaded from Packer fans who had seen this before, only six days earlier. New Orleans converted a 4th and 2 at midfield to keep the drive alive but the Packers stiffened again at the 25. Garrett Hartley drilled a 43 yard field goal but the Saints were called for holding. They backed up 10 and Green Bay jumped offside but from five yards closer, Hartley's 48 yard attempt sailed wide left. After two running plays, Rodgers hit Jones for an 8 yard catch that allowed the Pack to take a knee, thankfully, and get a huge win. The Packers won despite getting outgained 474-421, they had two turnovers to none for New Orleans but the key, finishing red zone opportunities. Rodgers had his best game, 31 of 41 for 319 and four scores, better yet, he wasn't sacked after enduring 8 last Monday night. Nelson was the top target with 8 catches for 93, Randall Cobb had 7 for 66, Jones five for 56 and two scores. Benson covered 84 tough yards on the ground in 18 carries. The Packers defense held New Orleans to 45 yards rushing but Brees put it up 54 times, completing 35 for 446 yards and three scores. He tied Johnny Unitas' 52 year old record of throwing at least one touchdown pass in 47 games, a remarkable run. Colston caught 9 passes for a whopping 153 yards. The referee crew led by Jeff Triplette was not in mid-season form by any means but the Packers survived. Greg Jennings had to leave the game when his groin tightened up again but it was the only injury of note. Charles Woodson returned after jamming his shoulder. The Green Bay inactives were Jarrett Boykin, Sean Richardson, Davon House, James Starks, Terrell Manning, DJ Williams and Philip Merling. The Packers begin a three game road trip next in Indianapolis.
On the link below, post game quotes from Mike McCarthy and the boys.