1

October

Game Balls and Lame Calls: Packers 28, Saints 27

Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy

Rodgers and the offense got back on track while McCarthy’s red flag nearly cost the team a win

Not even Jeff Triplette could deny the Green Bay Packers this time.

The Packers hung on for a wild 28-27 victory over the New Orleans Saints in a game where offenses ruled the day as both defenses gave up a combined for 895 yards and quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees both had stellar days and were able to move the chains almost at will.

The Packers go to 2-2 with the victory after their heartbreaking “loss” to the Seattle Seahawks last Monday evening and will move into second place in the NFC North behind the surprising 3-1 Minnesota Vikings should the Chicago Bears lose to the Dallas Cowboys tonight.  The Saints fall to 0-4 as the team struggles to get going without head coach Sean Payton, who was suspended for the entire season for his part in the Saints’ bounty program.

The Packers offense finally appeared to find its rhythm against the hapless Saints defense that ranked dead last in the NFL entering the game, allowing an average of 477 yards per game. Rodgers picked apart the Saints secondary and Cedric Benson had another solid outing.

So who stood out and who stood down?

Game Balls

QB Aaron Rodgers

All eyes were on the reigning MVP this week after last week’s debacle in Seattle and Rodgers’ strong comments during his weekly radio show on ESPN 540. Many were expecting Rodgers to come back with a vengeance and he didn’t disappoint.

Aside from one interception, Rodgers was surgical against the Saints defense, going 31-41 for 319 yards and throwing four touchdown passes. His offensive line kept him upright and his knack for extending plays was once again on full display.  He finally looked the part of NFL MVP, though again it was against the worst defense in the NFL.

WR James Jones

What kind of bizarre NFL season is this when Jones makes the clutch catch of the game?

Aside from making an incredible catch with a defender literally on top off him late in the fourth quarter to seal the victory, Jones had his best game of the season.  He caught two touchdown passes and finished with five catches for 65 yards.

30

September

Packers vs. Saints – Game Day First Impressions, Unfiltered: GB 28 NO 27

Green Bay Packers vs. New Orleans Saints:

My unfiltered game day recap and blog post of comments, observations and first impressions.

Inactive for Packers today:

11 WR Jarrett Boykin
28 S Sean Richardson
31 CB Davon House
44 RB James Starks
56 LB Terrell Manning
84 TE D.J. Williams
94 DE Phillip Merling

Notes:

No one imagined the Packers and Saints would be a combined 1-5 going into this game, but despite their records, it should be a premiere match-up for Sunday afternoon football.

The Packers offense has yet to find its footing or its identity during the first three games. Will the abysmal Saints defense help to get them back on track?

New Orleans may be suffering on defense, but their offense is still the high-powered machine it has been. Dom Capers and the Green Bay defensive unit will have their hands full going against big playmakers like Drew Brees, Jimmy Graham, Darren Sproles, and Marques Colston.

All the Packers players are pretty healthy going into this game. Sean Richardson (hamstring) is the only one ruled out, with Davon House (shoulder) designated as questionable. James Starks’ turf toe has healed up, but he might be a healthy scratch this week.

This marks the beginning of a consistent schedule for the remainder of the season. The Packers have nothing but Sunday games from here on out.

 

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Mike McCarthy Pregame Show on 620 WTMJ:

Offense Struggling: We just have to exercise the game plan. It’s a new week. We can’t let past experiences affect us in any way. We need to pick up the tempo.

Health of Team: I think this is the best we’ve been so far this year. When you’re healthy it makes for tough decisions – who’s up, who’s down.

Impressions of Saints: Offensively very explosive. Plenty of weapons around Drew Brees. Solid offensive line that’s played well. Special teams get after it. Offensively, we need to be balanced and play fast. Their defense has had trouble against the run.

Saints Attitude as Winless Team: I’m not in their locker room, I really don’t care either. We want to get the crowd into it early. We want to make this a high-energy, fast-paced type of football game.

28

September

2012 NFL Regular Season Week 4: Packers vs Saints Preview

Aaron Rodgers

Will Aaron Rodgers finally get it going against the Saints?

As tough as it is, we need to move on and get back to legitimate football.

After the Green Bay Packers “loss” to fall to 1-2 against the Seattle Seahawks on Monday night, the Packers somehow must regroup and play the New Orleans Saints Sunday at Lambeau Field.  The Saints enter the game a somewhat surprising 0-3 on the season.   With the loss of head coach Sean Payton for the entire season thanks to the Bountygate scandal, the Saints seem to be a team without a direction.

The Packers “lost” to the Seahawks 14-12 on perhaps the most controversial call in NFL history. With the regular referees back on the field, the officiating hopefully won’t be something the Packers need to keep an eye on.  The Packers defense kept the team in the game after the offense once again sputtered, mainly in the first half when Aaron Rodgers was sacked eight times.

The Saints enter the game after losing on a last minute kick at home to the Kansas City Chiefs 27-24.   They currently have the worst defense in the league, giving up a whopping 477 yards per game and 216 on the ground.  On top of that, quarterback Drew Brees seems to be struggling without Payton calling the plays.  Brees has thrown seven touchdowns in three games but also has five interceptions.

Both teams had incredibly potent offenses in 2011 but seem to be lacking the same explosiveness in 2012.  Is this the game both offenses break out of their shells?

Scouting the Saints

This was expected by many to be a marquee game this week but thanks to the Packers’ offensive issues and the Saints struggles overall, this matchup seems to be more of an enigma than expected.

Don’t let the stats fool you, however. Brees is still one of the best quarterbacks in the league and has a strong group of wide receivers.  Devery Henderson and Marques Colston are a lethal tandem that will present the young but talented Packers secondary.

Pierre Thomas is a decent running back for the Saints but the even bigger threat in the backfield is Darren Sproles. If Brees for some reason can’t connect with his wide receivers, he has another potent weapon in the screen game with the speedy Sproles.  He’s been known to break a short dump-off into a big gain including taking the ball all the way to the end zone.

28

September

Packers vs. Saints Week 4 Game Predictions from AllGreenBayPackers.com

GAME PREDICTIONS
Week 4: Green Bay Packers vs. New Orleans Saints
Name Record To-Date This Week’s Pick Score Prediction
Kris Burke 1-2 Green Bay Packers 35-21
Hell hath no fury like a scorned Aaron Rodgers.  The Saints currently have the worst defense in the league but don’t underestimate Drew Brees.  A fired up home crowd will also do the Packers favors
“Jersey” Al Bracco 1-2 Green Bay Packers 38-20
I can feel the fury coming. It will engulf New Orleans Saints on Sunday and send the Saints marching out as big losers. If emotion counts for anything in football, and I believe it counts for a lot, the Saints are in big trouble…
Adam Czech 2-1 Green Bay Packers 31-23
The Packers offense has to get going against the Saints, right? Combine that with all the anger and rage built up from Monday night and this should be a blowout win for the Packers, right? Unfortunately, the Saints still have Drew Brees, so this one won’t be easy. I see the Packers winning, though. God, they better win.
Marques Eversoll 1-2 Green Bay Packers 34-27
The Saints haven’t been able to stop a nose bleed this season, and the Packers have only scored 57 points through three games. Something’s gotta give. I’m pretty confident that the Packers’ offense will get on track, and the defense will keep the Saints’ offense out of the endzone just enough to get the win. I think it’ll be close, but the Packers win.
Thomas Hobbes 1-2 Green Bay Packers 28-21
As bad as the Packers got suckered punched last week, the Saints are perhaps the only team to have been shafted even more this season.  Simply put, the New Orleans Saints are a talented team with no direction; if they can somehow find enough leadership to put out their full potential, they can totally beat the Packers.  But if the last three weeks of play from the Saints is any indication the Packers, who will be playing angry, should win this game
Jason Perone 0-3 Green Bay Packers 28-23
11

September

Packers Video: The Agony and the Ecstasy – A.J. Hawk Interference and Packers Goal Line Stop

It was a wild finish to the Packers – Saints game last Thursday night. In a matter of two consecutive plays, the dubious A.J. Hawk interference call and the mass stopping of the Saints on the goal line, fans felt the Agony and the Ecstasy of following their team.

For their part, the Packers continued some themes from last season;

  • Keeping opposing teams in games with poor special teams play .
  • Inability to secure the win with a time-wasting drive late in games.
  • Depending on the defense to come up with a big play at the end to win the game.

As they also did late last season, the Green Bay Packers toyed with the emotions of their fans. Fans went from feeling devastated, as the Saints were handed an opportunity to score and eventually tie the game with zero seconds on the clock, to euphoric, as the Packers stopped the Saints on the goal line. All in a matter of 2 plays.

Here is that amazing two-play sequence. Remember what it felt like at the time and enjoy.

 

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Follow Jersey Al:


                    Add to Circleson Google+

Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.

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9

September

Packers Video: Game-Winning Goal Line Stand vs. Saints

Incredibly, it all came down to this. The Saints on the goal line, Zero seconds on the clock, thanks to that horrible pass interference call on AJ Hawk in the end zone. They have one play to score and then try for a two-point conversion to send the game into overtime. The Saints try to pound it in, and the Packers stop Mark Ingram cold.

One interesting note: While much credit has to go to Jarius Wynn, Ryan Pickett, Howard Green and especially B.J. Raji for getting a positive push and creating a wall of bodies, who do you think made the big hit that actually stops Ingram’s forward progress? It’s Morgan Burnett. You can see it best in the replay at about the 50 second mark of the video. Enjoy:

 

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Follow Jersey Al:


                    Add to Circleson Google+

Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.

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9

September

Green Bay Packers: 5 Observations from 42-34 Win Over Saints

Photo courtesy of Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Benny Sieu)

The Green Bay Packers held Mark Ingram out of the end zone on the game’s final play Thursday night at Lambeau Field, giving the Packers a 42-34 win over the New Orleans Saints and capping off a thrilling season-opener which gave NFL fans plenty of offensive fireworks and explosive plays on special teams.

Here are some quick observations from the game:

First half fireworks

For those who thought the Packers offense might look rusty to open the season—and I was one of them— those fears were put to rest early. Aaron Rodgers was a surgeon in the first half, completing 18-of-24 passes for 227 yards and three touchdowns while carving the Saints defense throughout the first 30 mintues. 188 yards and two of those scores came in the first quarter, as the Packers built a 21-10 lead. By the time the first half was over, the Packers (28) and Saints (17) had combined for 45 points.  So much for shaking off the rust. The Packers performance in the first half was eerily similar to how they played in Atlanta in the playoffs.

Corn on the Cobb

Even for the most optimistic supporters of Cobb, no one could have envisioned this kind of start to his NFL career. He caught a 32-yard touchdown in the first quarter on a short, underneath route that was turned into a score on a great effort after the catch by Cobb. He willed his way into the end zone. Then, in the third quarter, Cobb gave the Packers something they haven’t had in 11 years: a kick return for a touchdown. Cobb caught the kick eight yards deep in the end zone, then proceeded to bounce off several tackles—using a nifty spin move to elude one—and outraced the Saints coverage for the touchdown.To be honest, I’m not sure I’ve seen a more impressive kick return in its entirety. The irony in both scores was that Cobb shouldn’t have had either. He ran the wrong route on the first and was instructed to take a knee when that deep in the end zone on kick returns.

Later in the second half, Cobb nearly broke a punt for another touchdown. He was eventually tripped up in Saints territory, and the play was nullified by a penalty. But his performance in all aspects tonight showed exactly why the Packers took him in the second round. Cobb couldn’t have asked for a better NFL debut.