Aaron Rodgers Hurts Hamstring, Saints March Over Packers
Green Bay's four game winning winning streak came to to end, Sunday night, in New Orleans. The Packers fell to the Saints, 44-23. The first six minutes of the game felt like a classic Rodgers-Brees shootout. On the first drive of the game, Rodgers continued to play like he has over the last four games. He threw deep to Randall Cobb for a 70-yard touchdown pass and 7-0 lead. Then. Brees marched the Saints down the field and rookie wideout Brandin Cooks ran four yards for a touchdown to tie the game.
For the rest of the half, the Packers and Saints couldn't get into the end zone. Mason Crosby and Shayne Graham each kicked three field goals and the game was tied 16-16 at half.
In the first half, Packers head coach used Julius Peppers as a wide receiver and attempted an onside kick, that failed. Rodgers threw to Peppers, but it was dropped by the former North Carolina basketball standout. These were two gambles perhaps McCarthy wished he could have had back.
Still though, the game was tied as the second half started. The Saints received and got the ball. However, the Packers defense made a big fourth down stop and got the ball back. Rodgers led Green Bay into the Saints red zone, again. However, he came up hurting after he ran out of bounds and tweaked his hamstring. On the same drive, he threw the first of two interceptions on the night. All season, he had only tossed one interception.
Then, the Saints offense started clicking. Brees threw a 50-yard bomb to Cooks with about five minutes to go in the third quarter to go up 23-16. Then, New Orleans' lead was quickly up to 37-16 after touchdown passes to Jimmy Graham and Josh Hill.
Rodgers added a 14-yard touchdown run with five minutes in the game, but it was too late.
Ingram, had a big game, running 24 times for 172 yards and got into the end zone with nearly three minutes left to seal the game for the Saints. Brees finished 27 of 32 for 311 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.
Rodgers was 28 of 39 for 418 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. In the first quarter alone, he threw for 208 yards. After he hurt his hamstring, the course of the game changed. Mobility is a big part of Rodgers game, as he likes to roll out of the pocket and throw.
On the ground, Eddie Lacy looked like a monster. On a long pass play in the second quarter, he nearly stiff armed his way into the end zone, but the Saints would bring him down. He ran 13 times for 59 yards, and caught eight receptions for 123 yards. Cobb led all receivers with five catches for 126 yards. Jordy Nelson only caught three passes for 25 yards.
Brees got the best of Rodgers this time in a tale of two halves. New Orleans improved to 3-0 at home and 3-4 overall. The Packers head into a bye next week with a 5-3 record, which is perfect timing for Rodgers' hamstring to heal.
Sam Tastad will have pre-and-post game report for the Packers all season long. Follow him on Twitter @samtastad and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.