Saints 34 @ Packers 42: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 08: Head coach Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints watches as his team takes on the Green Bay Packers during the NFL opening season game at Lambeau Field on September 8, 2011 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Saints 42-34. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Before you all start freaking out and making much ado about nothing, let's keep things in perspective.    

Oh, am I too late?

Seriously, this game wasn't as bad as it feels, though that burning sensation still lingering is definitely from watching the defense bite ankles all night. You've got to keep in mind this was the Packers; they are a great team and Aaron Rodgers is a great quarterback with a lot of weapons surrounding him. If the defense is going to look like garbage and the Saints are going to lose a game, this is definitely the team I'd expect it to happen against. The schedule is going to get easier, the Saints are going to settle in and all will be right with the world. 

Sure, there was lots to be upset about from last night's game. But there was also plenty to keep you pumped for the season. Make the jump to relive the emotional roller coaster that was last night's shootout.  

The Good

  • Darren Sproles played like a man on fire. I will forgo any of the Reggie Bush comparisons or rhetoric and just say that I'm super glad the Saints were able to just pick him up this off-season and plug him right in. I love his speed and his contributions on special teams are invaluable. The punt return for a score was obviously great but the long returns to midfield that give the offense great field position are just as crucial. Can't wait to see more from him. Seven catches for 75 yards, four punt/kick returns for 168 yards.
  • Drew Brees played incredibly well. Was it perfect? No, and even he would admit that. Some passes were a little off target and a few were nearly picked off. But the Saints wouldn't have even been in this game until the very end if it wasn't for Brees' ability to lead the offense down the field quickly when their backs are against the wall. His final numbers: 32/49, 419 yards and 3 TD's. 
  • Other than the short yardage stuff, the running game looked as good as advertised. Everyone chipped in and everyone had their moments. Lots to be excited about there. 
  • Did you see that hit by Malcolm Jenkins? Better still, did you hear it? It was a perfectly timed blow. 
  • I thought Jabari Greer played well on the whole. He definitely missed a tackle of two, but his coverage was good on a few key plays. 
  • To those of you who wanted to see the Saints get rid of Devery Henderson, I hope you understand why he's important. The longest tenured member of the team led the team with six catches for an even 100 yards. 
  • John Kasay was a perfect 2/2 on the night. At least we don't have to worry about that.  
  • The great news is that there weren't any serious injuries for the Saints. Colston apparently had a shoulder issue but hopefully it's only minor.

 

The Bad

  • What the hell was up with the turf? Saints players were slipping everywhere, causing missed tackles and catches. Roman Harper slipped in the end zone on a touchdown pass and Robert Meachem fell as a pass was heading in his direction. 
  • There was only one turnover in the game, a fumble by Marques Colston early in the first quarter, but I think it was still a difference-maker. The Packers got good field position out of it and took an early lead that they never gave up. 
  • Patrick Robinson got picked on early by Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense. He was close in coverage, but not close enough. He was beat on a couple of plays in the first quarter, including Green Bay's first score.
  • Also getting beat in coverage was safety Roman Harper. Granted he had a tough assignment looking after Jermichael Finley on a few plays, but his weakness showed. Missed an opportunity at an interception. Harper did have a nice 9-yard sack though. 
  • The only true gripe I've got about the Saints offense at this point is their short yardage running ability. I guess we've got to assume that it's the offensive line and poor penetration to blame? Pass protection, on the other hand, was pretty good. Seemed like poor blitz pickups by the running backs were more to blame on some of those big sacks for loss on Drew. 
  • Would Joique Bell have gotten that final yard? Just wondering...  

 

The Ugly

  • I'm not sure how they go about doing it, but the Saints need to tackle better. They look stupid doing it and it's costing the team big time. Clean that #*$% up pronto! I can't take it!
  • This was the most points (42) a Sean Payton team has ever given up. 
  • I definitely wasn't happy about the play call on the 4th and 1 in the third quarter but I'm glad to know that either is Sean Payton, who admitted he'll look back and kick himself. You could tell during the broadcast that he was pissed as the Saints went to the line. There were, however, a few other questionable play calls, including the final play and a 3rd and 2 in the third quarter.
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