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Saints 34 @ Packers 42: Who Dat Say!?!

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What a heartbreaking loss to suffer on Back to Football Night!

The Saints didn't quite make history by becoming the first team to defeat the reigning Super Bowl champs on their home field in the Thursday Night Opener, but it sure was an exciting finish, and one that based on the defense's poor showing and the terrible running game we brought, we had NO RIGHT to expect.

The Saints fought to the end before getting stuffed on an untimed down at the Packers goal line at the end of the 4th quarter with a chance to tie the game. OUCH - not the power running game success we envisioned INGRAMANIA!!! bringing to 2011. 

To me this game felt just like the Ravens game from 2010, a tough road loss to an opponent that clearly outplayed us, yet we were in the game at the end. I was hoping they could improve on that, but they did not on this night. Time will tell what the full character of this team is, but I must say that I am worried about the defense. 

Well, now the Saints have over a week to get it sorted out before we play the Chicago Bears, so here's hoping they do!

Make the jump for the first step in recovery - post-game coverage, analysis, and lots of it...

NFL Game Center: New Orleans Saints at Green Bay Packers |
Includes, stats, play-by-play, drive charts, and video highlights.

New Orleans Saints vs. Green Bay Packers |
NFL Football Recap: Final statistics from the New Orleans vs. Green Bay game played on September 08, 2011.

Rapid Reaction: Packers 42, Saints 34 - NFC South Blog |
Pat Y - A few thoughts on the New Orleans Saints' season-opening 42-34 loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Rapid Reaction: Packers 42, Saints 34 - NFC North Blog |
Kevin Seifert -- A few immediate thoughts after the Green Bay Packers' 42-34 victory in Thursday night's kickoff game against the New Orleans Saints. 

New Orleans Saints fall to the Green Bay Packers 42-34 in the season opener at Lambeau Field |
Kevin Spain - Packers offense was more than efficient.

New Orleans Saints vs. Green Bay Packers video highlights |
Gallery Page of links to videos.

Photo Gallery: New Orleans Saints vs. Green Bay Packers |


From the Saints Sideline

Packers Defeat the Saints in Thrilling Opener, 42-34 |
Staff report.

New Orleans Saints lose 42-34 in super shootout vs. Packers |
James Varney - N.O. facing 'a lot of work' after season-opening loss.

Pack denies Ingram, Saints | The Advocate
Sheldon Mickles - With a brief pregame celebration on the floor of historic Lambeau Field on Thursday night, the Green Bay Packers turned the page on their Super Bowl-winning season of 2010.

Sproles has big impact in Saints debut | New Orleans
Bradley Handwerger - Darren Sproles came to New Orleans in place of Reggie Bush. He left Lambeau Field in the Saints’ season-opening 42-34 loss to Green Bay as so much more.

Saints defense can’t stop Rodgers, Packers | New Orleans
Handwerger - Aaron Rodgers started Thursday’s game 5-for-5 for 74 yards. He never slowed down and neither did the Packers offense.

Short yardage an issue for New Orleans | New Orleans
Handwerger - Two times the Saints found themselves in short-yardage situations. Two times the Saints failed to gain even a yard.

Saints defense needs to improve now |
Handwerger - Patrick Robinson stood by his locker on the second floor of historic Lambeau Field, honesty pouring from his soul.

New Orleans Saints' Darren Sproles quickly makes an impact |
Nakia Hogan's game notes - He returns his first punt 72 yards for a touchdown.

Saints roster includes 23 players not on 2010 team | The Advocate
Sheldon Mickles - Game notes.

New Orleans Saints receiver Marques Colston appeared to injure shoulder |
Mike Triplett - Saints did not release injury report after game.

New Orleans Saints see Green Bay Packers are gold standard in NFC |
Jeff Duncan - Saints have plenty of time to get back to that level.

Defensive woes doomed Saints - NFC South Blog |
Pat Y. - The New Orleans Saints spent most of the preseason talking about how they wanted to get their defense back to its 2009 form.


Packers Press

Packers have right stuff in thrilling victory over Saints | JSOnline
Bob McGinn - The previous 11 Super Bowl champions won their first game in the following season.

Defense held when it counted most |
Mike Spofford - The Packers and Saints combined for 876 total yards on Thursday night, yet, the game came down to two yards New Orleans couldn’t get.

Packers' defense gets Saints' number | JSOnline
Tom Silverstein - All game long, the Green Bay Packers were trying to bottle up Darren Sproles, the New Orleans Saints' version of an angry bumblebee, but when it came down to the final play of the game all eyes were on rookie running back Mark Ingram.

Rookie Cobb returns kickoff for record 108 yards | JSOnline
Tyler Dunne - While the commercials rolled, rookie Randall Cobb stood deep in his own end zone. Stretching, jumping, restless. He needed this return.

No mistake about it, Cobb's for real |
Mike Spofford & Vic Ketchman - To hear Randall Cobb tell it, he got downright lucky on Thursday night.

Hard to believe, but Rodgers looks even better | JSOnline
Gary D'Amato - It's perhaps unwise to make projections based on one game, especially when that game is the season opener.

If only they had practiced more |
Vic Ketchman - Even after having thrown for 312 yards and three touchdowns in his first full-game action since the MVP award in last February’s Super Bowl, Aaron Rodgers still had enough energy left to take a couple of playful shots at the media.

Packers' Tramon Williams in post-game pain - NFC North Blog |
Kevin Seifert -- I just returned from the Green Bay Packers locker room to see that many of you are looking for an update on cornerback Tramon Williams.

Randall Cobb announces his presence - NFC North Blog |
Kevin Seifert -- Some of you laughed, some of you listened and many of you mocked the audacity of some two-bit blogger's observation during a tiny window of an NFL training camp.



(all via

New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton's postgame comments. 

Opening statement: "Obviously it was a hard-fought game. I was proud of the way we hung in there and fought back. There will be a lot of things on tape that we've got to clean up with this first game. Credit Green Bay. They did a very good job and did all the things they needed to do to win a home game like that."

On Green Bay's offense: "It was a really good offense we played. Aaron (Rodgers) did a really good job. They're an up-tempo team. Both teams were converting but we were having trouble getting off the field. There will be a handful of things we'll look at and have to improve on, but part of that is a credit to Green Bay as well."

On the fourth-and-1 play in the third quarter: "Hindsight, it's easy to say kick the field goal. But that being said, we felt like we had a play we wanted to run, but it didn't work. It's not an easy call, but it's one that you look back on and I'll kick myself a little bit."

On running back Darren Sproles: "He's electric. He changed (the game) for us. He gave us some momentum with the punt return and he's one of those guys that makes great decisions in space."

On Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers: "It's a little bit of a cat-and-mouse game. We got to him early, but he's got a quick release and he's got a handful of targets, obviously, starting with the tight ends and receivers. He's probably one of the top quarterbacks in our league under pressure."

New Orleans Saints players talk about their 42-34 loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Running back Mark Ingram:

On playing in his first NFL game: "Of course I was excited. It has always been a dream come true to play in the NFL, but at the end of the day I am more about winning. Today we didn't come out with the win so we need to work hard and fix things that didn't work out for us."

On the loss: "As a team we did a lot of things well, but I think when we look at the film we are going to kick ourselves in the butt a couple times with the turnovers and not converting on short yardage plays. I think that hurt us."

On the last play of the game: "You have to get a yard. It is the goal line to win the game. I have to get a yard."

Wide receiver Devery Henderson:

On his touchdown catch: "It was just an opportunity that I took advantage of and Drew (Brees) did a good job of getting the ball to me."

On the game: "They did a good job of moving the ball. They did a good job on offense and they didn't make any mistakes. Sometimes you need that to win a game. I give them credit; they did a great job. We fought, but we just came up short. It was a great game. I enjoyed playing in it. It is the first game, so we can't hang our head on this one."

Safety Malcolm Jenkins:

On Aaron Rodgers: "We knew coming into it that he would make some plays. A lot of those were just some great throws into tight coverage. We just have to live with that. We tried to adjust to those back shoulder throws, but they earned those plays."

On if he thought the game would be such a shootout: "No defense wants to go into a game thinking it will be a shootout, but we knew they would have an explosive offense. We also feel comfortable with Drew that he will always keep us in games even when we aren't at our best. When you have Drew Brees as your quarterback, you always have a chance."


Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy's postgame comments.

On Aaron Rodgers' performance: "I thought Aaron was outstanding. Aaron commands the offense. He did an excellent job keeping us in favorable plays and no turnovers. It was three touchdowns. He had a big night and that's the way Aaron plays. He has set that standard and he's off to a great start."

On if defense made plays when it had to: "Yeah, definitely. There was one turnover in the game. Our defense made it. We wanted to play an up-tempo game. We were able to take advantage of the environment. We were able to get that done with the opening kickoff, going down to score. Our defense had a turnover. So the game started the way we would like it to start. You'd like to say it's the way we planned it. But it was the way we would like it to. We had some problems defensively, but that's a very good offense and he's a great quarterback. Sean does a great job on offense. This will be a great experience we can learn from."

On Randall Cobb: "You've got to be excited about Randall. He's shown that from the first day of training camp, his ability. He missed some time with the knee injury on the kickoff. When other players talk about a player having a chance to be special he is one of those guys. He's very raw, he's picking up our system, but he knows what to do when he gets the football in his hands and he knows how to get open. He's a gifted young man with a lot of good football in front of him."

On being aggressive on offense: "Well, when you play Gregg Williams, he's going to attack you. That was evident throughout the game. You look at what they try to do against us schematically. You've got to watch yourself. You try to play smart and try to pick a defense like that apart, and do the right thing, you get too strategic. So I'm always of the opinion that the offense attacks the defense. When you play a defense that likes to attack you, you're going to have those types of nights one way or the other."

Green Bay Packers players talk about their 42-34 win over the New Orleans Saints.

Wide receiver Randall Cobb:

On starting his career with a pair of touchdowns: "It was amazing. The feeling of being at Lambeau Field and coming off a Super Bowl, I was just doing anything I could do to contribute and I was trying to make the most of my opportunities tonight."

On his kickoff return for a touchdown: "I was just trusting in God. He told me to bring it out. I'm not supposed to bring that out - I'm not. Some things are logical and some things are just the power of God, and that definitely was the power of God telling me to bring that out. He gave me great teammates to help me block down field and we just made it happen."

On his touchdown reception: "The touchdown [Aaron Rodgers] threw to me was a busted route. I ran the wrong route and luckily scored. I'm going to hear about that in meetings tomorrow, probably going to get a negative for it, but we just made a play right there."

(on the feeling of scoring his first touchdown) "It was one of the greatest feelings I've ever had. The opportunity to be out on the field and being with the guys I'm with, it was a great feeling - probably second to being drafted by Green Bay.

Wide receiver Jordy Nelson

On Cobb: "He's great to have. We've seen it. He got a little banged up in the preseason, so he was on the shelf for a little bit and was our little secret, but he's out there now. He had a great run (on the return), breaking tackles and making plays offensively and on special teams. It'll be nice to have him back there."

On the offense's productive start despite a shortened training camp: "We put our work in. A lot of people were worried about the offseason workouts we [didn't have], but apparently we were all right. We put our time in, and worked hard in training camp. I think a lot of the core coming back after the Super Bowl helps and we came in grinding, and got ready to play this opening week."

On Donald Driver tying the Packers' all-time receiving mark: "We were talking on the sideline. I'm a little disappointed he didn't get one more to get it here, but obviously he'll get it done in Carolina. It's a great honor for him and goes to show the time, the work, the effort, the type of guy, everything. He's one of the best that's been here and he's going to be on top of that list for a while now."

Linebacker A.J. Hawk:

On his pass-interference call in end zone: "I was just trying to jump over him and I think I kind of did, but obviously I didn't. It's just great to get that last stop. The stop on the 1-yard line was huge for us."

On how the defense stopped the Saints on the final play: "The goal-line defense, that's team defense there. I know Clay (Matthews) was probably the first to hit him, but I think our defensive line did an awesome job. You have to move the line of scrimmage and our defensive line pushed them back...(Desmond) Bishop and I were free to go over the top and create piles. That's what you have to do is create a pile and have guys knocking him back. That's what happened, and our defensive line did that a bunch tonight."

On the game being decided on the final play: "This game was crazy and I'm sure the networks aren't too upset it came down to that. It was a fun game to be a part of. There were obviously a lot of ups and downs, so I'm just happy for our offense to score all those points for us."

Cornerback Charles Woodson

On the defense's performance: "We made the plays we needed to win. We made a stance late in the game with a chance for them to tie it and getting off the field, but (we gave up) way too many points and way too many missed tackles, and way too many yards. I'm happy with the win, no doubt about it, but that's not the way we like to perform."

V-Roll Roll Call







Video: Saints Postgame Press Conference |
Gallery includes highlights, too.

Green Bay Packers' Randall Cobb talks about 108-yard kick return: video |
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb talks about his childhood dream to play in the NFL and his 108-yard kick return for a touchdown after the 42-34 win over the New Orleans Saints.