New Orleans Saints vs. Green Bay Packers in-game updates

Posted by The Times-Picayune November 24, 2008 7:03PM

Deuce McAllister became the all-time touchdown leader for the Saints Monday night against Green Bay.

Welcome to the Green Bay Packers at New Orleans Saints in-game blog, live from the Superdome.

The weather outside is a little wet, a slow drizzle has been falling most of the afternoon here in New Orleans, but the fans have been out in force, tailgating anyway.

We’ll be updating this same file throughout the game so keep hitting the refresh button.

Game of the year
It was the game Saints fans – and probably Saints players and coaches – have been hoping for all season, a 51-29 whipping of the Green Bay Packers.

Drew Brees was well, Drew Brees. Four touchdown passes – including two 70-yarders – and great decision-making all evening.

Deuce McAllister got his touchdown record in what could have been his last game in the Superdome. And on “Monday Night Football” no less.

The defense – and much maligned cornerback Jason David – made just enough big plays to stop the Packers.

And the team kept its playoff hopes alive at 6-5, making Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers meaningful. If Brees and Co. can play at this level the rest of the season – the team tied the franchise record for points in a game – the Saints should make the final five weeks of the season interesting.

Record in sight (8:39 4Q)
Pierre Thomas, who has had a great game, scored on a 31-yard touchdown run to make it 51-29 Saints. That ties the most points the Saints have scored in franchise history. If Sean Payton hadn’t gone for a 2-point conversion the Saints would have set the record. Odds are they’re going to get it on their next possession. The Packers’ defense looks whipped

Packers running out of time (11:45 4Q)
Green Bay scored and converted the 2-point conversion to make the score 45-29 with 11:45 left in the game. The only problem: it took the Packers 5 minutes and 41 seconds to score. That’s way too long. And it forced the Packers to try an onside kick which failed.

Now all the Saints and Sean Payton have to do is run the ball, run the ball and run the ball.

Making an entrance (2:26 3Q)
Marques Colston, who had been missing all evening, just raced in with a 70-yard touchdown pass from Drew Brees. It was Colston’s first reception and he showed good speed in outrunning the Packers defenders. Everything is going the Saints way now. A 45-21 lead looks real safe and should make the Packers one-dimensional. Aaron Rodgers just doesn’t look good enough tonight to lead that big of a comeback.

Click to view the graphic.

Why did the Packers trade Favre and why didn’t the Saints run the ball? (5:35 3Q)(
Aaron Rodgers threw another pick right to Jason David giving the Saints great field position but the Saints gave up it right back when Lance Moore, yes Lance Moore, threw an interception on a gadget play.

Sean Payton was going for a knockout blow but a more conventional call would have done the job. Aside from the first possession, the Packers haven’t stopped his offense all night.

Deuce gets his due (7:40 3Q)
Deuce McAllister, the greatest Saints running back of all-time, just scored his 54th touchdown of his career, to set the team record. The Superdome crowd went nuts and it gave the Saints a huge 38-21 lead. There’s no doubt Deuce is right up there with Archie Manning as the fans’ favorite.

Jason David, definitely not a fan favorite, returned an errant Aaron Rodgers’ pass 42 yards to the Saints’ 3-yard line to set up the score. The guy gets beat but every now and then he makes a big pick. This one was more a bad play by Rodgers than a great interception but at least he didn’t drop it.

How good is Drew Brees? (8:34 3Q)
With every pass Drew Brees throws he looks better and better. His 16-yard TD pass to tight end Billy Miller was a thing of beauty, arching it over a well-beaten A.J. Hawk. It was the 75th touchdown pass of his brief Saints career. Brees is 17 for 22 for 245 yards and three touchdowns.

Is any quarterback playing as good as Brees this season? No.

View an interactive graphic that tracks key statistics for Saints starting quarterback Drew Brees. (Updated with week 12 statistics against the Green Bay Packers)

Gutsy move (12:29 3Q)
Payton went for it and got it with a strong run by Pierre Thomas. Smart move. The Packers have been holding onto the ball all night and the way the Saints’ defense has been playing likely would have marched down the field for another score.

Big call (12:53 3Q)
Mike McCarthy won a challenge on the spot of Lance Moore’s third down reception that would have given the Saints a first down, forcing a fourth-and-1 for the Saints. Good challenge by the Packers’ coach, forces Payton to have faith in his defense or to go for it and possibly give Green Bay great field position.

A half and a half (halftime)
OK, we’re all tired. It’s halftime and the Saints and Packers have marched up and down the field, seemingly at will. The Saints have 211 total yards, the Packers have 195. You want a Monday Night Football shootout? You got one. Both quarterbacks have performed big time on the big stage.

Drew Brees is 13-of-16 for 194 yards and two TDs, and Aaron Rodgers of Green Bay 11-of-17 for 108 and a touchdown.

More stats just came in: Lance Moore, who looks like he’s replaced Marques Colston as Drew Brees’ favorite target, has caught four passes for 101 yards and two touchdowns. Tight end Jeremy Shockey is quietly putting together his best game as a Saint: four catches for 43 yards with a long of 19.

The Packers’ Ryan Grant is just gashing the Saints: 16 carries for 64 yards. If McCarthy keeps calling his number there’s no doubt he’ll fly past 100 yards.

Sideline warning, issued by us (:02 2Q)
Saints Coach Sean Payton must have some special priviledge. He just walked down to about the 15-yard line before the snap. Packers Coach Mike McCarthy is on the field, just outside the 15. What gives? These guys are not supposed to be inside the 32.

Maybe Payton wanted a better look at the Garrett Hartley field goal, which sort of fluttered over the crossbar, to give the Saints a 24-21 lead with :02 left in the half.

Gimme thirds (1:44 2Q)
When it’s all over, this could be a key stat: the Packers have converted 8-of-10 third downs. One of the misses came on the first drive. Green Bay receiver Greg Jennings looks like he’s wide open on every play and Aaron Rodgers has thrown him four passes already. On their eighth conversion, the Packers tied the score at 21 with a 10-yard run from Rodgers.

The Saints have 1:44 left in the half to try to get more points. They get the ball to start the second half, so with this game looking like a last-team-to-get-the-ball situation, it could be a key drive.

They’re off to a good start as Courtney Roby returned the kickoff 62 yards. What a game.

A passing fancy (8:39 2Q)
The answer to one of the Saints’ fans questions is ‘No.’ The one about would the Saints try to run the ball more against the Packers since Green Bay isn’t that good against the run. But, look, at this point in the game, Drew Brees has completed 11 consecutive passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns. And Lance Moore has his second TD catch of the game, a 14-yarder to give the Saints a 21-14 lead. This just in: That Lance Moore guy is fast.

Shootout anyone? (13:43 2Q)
There was a trend in the NFL this weekend: everybody forgot how to play defense. OK, that’s not fair, the Chicago Bears, Baltimore Ravens and Houston Texans held their opponents to less than 10 points. But, 11 teams scored 30 or more points.

Looks like we’re on our way to another big output here at the Dome. The Packers just tied the score at 14, after moving the ball pretty freely. Aaron Rodgers hit Greg Jennings for a short touchdown pass, that was relatively easy.

The Packers came this close to scoring on the drive near the end of the first quarter on a long pass when Rodgers missed Jennings down the seam. Jennings was completely uncovered and probably would have scored easily. The Saints were in that crazy defensive package where they drop a defensive end back in coverage, in this case Will Smith, who had no chance of actually covering Jennings.

Isn’t this FOOTball? (4:14 1Q)
Didn’t the Saints just do this? Green Bay punter Derrick Frost shanked a punt off the side of his foot that traveled 24 yards, allowing the Saints to begin at the Packers’ 41. The marketplace could suddenly be flooded with punters.

The Saints took this gift and proceeded to score in about two and a half minutes, with Pierre Thomas capping it off with a 4-yard run. (Not Deuce McAllister, by the way, he’s still looking for one more touchdwon to be the all-time Saints leader). The Saints are up 14-0 and that was an impressive drive, one that looked like the opening drive against Tampa Bay this season, or one that resembed that 2006 team. It didn’t resemble many of this season’s drives.

That Saints secondary is awf… wait (8-something 1Q)
The Saints defensive backs are supposed to be their weakness. It’s right there in the scouting report, throw on this team, they can’t stop the pass. So what got into the Packers? They just ran the ball down the defense’s throat. Six straight runs and a short touchdown by fullback John Kuhn and the Pack jumps ahead 7-0.

But before the groaning fans can get another brew or get back from the restroom, the Saints answered with a looong pass from Drew Brees to Lance Moore. Moore scored quicker than you can say “Stand up and Get Crunk”, which immediately came on the P.A. after the extra point. It was a 70-yarder. That made up for the crappy opening drive that netted nothing.

This game could be crazy.

Feets fail me now (12:06 1Q)
The first punt of the game for the Saints’ Glenn Pukalak is a stinker. He hit a soft, low wobbler than was picked up on the bounce by Will Blackmon, who returned it 27 yards. This is significant because of the way Saints Coach Sean Payton has changed punters and kickers like socks this season. Pukalak is the third punter the team has used this season. More kicks like that, and, they’re be a fourth. … Quick note, Saints receiver Robert Meachem made his first career start because the Saints came out in a quirky formation, three tight ends and one wide receiver on their first play from scrimmage. No doubt, that will win somebody a bar bet one day.

They’re rowdy already
Boy, these Saints fans are fired up. We’re less than two minutes into the game and the noise is at a fever pitch. The Packers call a quick time out and the place is going nuts. It’s just the opening drive. But, maybe it’s because it’s third-and-2, which hasn’t been a good place for the
Saints defense this season. Randall Gay gets a pass breakup and the Saints hold. Hmm, a good play by a defensive back, the crowd was rewarded.

The teams get ready to take the field as the U2 song plays over the P.A. You know the one, “The Saints are comin’, the Saints are coming, lalalalalalalallalalalalalaala, the Saints are comin’, the Saints are coming, lalalalalala, lalalalala, la, laaaaaaaaa.”

After a wrestling match involving Sir Saint, Gumbo and a guy dressed in a Green Bay shirt – that ended with the guy getting raked over a fake cheese grater – the Saints were introduced. Well, the offensive was introduced. It was a toss-up on biggest ovation, Marques Colston, Drew Brees and Deuce McAllister. Scratch that. It was no toss-up. Deuce got the biggest cheers, in what could be his final game at the Superdome.

By the way, an annoying trend we’d like to see go away: during the national anthem, at the part of “… rockets red glare…”, the pop guns that go off. What’s the purpose?

Lineup changes
Jonathan Goodwin is starting tonight at center for the Saints. It will be his first start since the Saints played Carolina at Charlotte, N.C. on Ocot. 19. He hurt his knee in that game and had been replaced by Matt Lehr.

Other lineup changes for the Saints: Deuce McAllster is slated as the starter in place of Reggie Bush and Darian Barnes will start at fullback in place of Mike Karney. For Green Bay, Michael Montgomery will start at right defensive end in place of Jeremy Thompson. Thompson, Brian Brohm (QB), Charlie Peprah (S), DeShawn Wynn (RB), Nick Barnett (LB), Breno Giacomni (T) and Allen Barbre (WR) are inactive.

Before the game
It’s about 15 minutes before kickoff and all the tailgaters haven’t found their way in. The two teams are warming up on the field, the Saints are in their all black unis, the Packers are in the white jerseys and gold pants. We’re expecting a pretty electric atmosphere because it’s the first time the Saints have been at home since Oct. 12, a 34-3 win against the Oakland Raiders.

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