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.