A week after poor officiating by the replacement referees cost Green Bay a victory it looked like a repeat was in the making with the regular referees in their Sunday afternoon game of the week against New Orleans.
Some stiff red zone defense and a missed field goal with under three minutes left gave Green Bay the narrowest of victories, 28-27, overcoming the officiating and Drew Brees' 446 yards passing and three touchdowns.
He also tied Johnny Unitas record of 47 consecutive games with a touchdown pass.
The last Saints drive of the game, was a drive that shouldn't have happened.
Following a Packers touchdown the kick off was taken by Darren Sproles a few yards deep in his own end zone. As he hit the 30 yard line he was sandwiched by two Packers and fumbled the ball. Green Bay came out of the pile with it.
But Sproles was ruled down by contact and because of the pile no review could take place without a definitive answer of who recovered the football. Sproles was not even close to being down when the ball came out.
New Orleans proceeded to chew up 4:11 driving to the Packers 25, converting a 4th down at midfield. The drive stalled and Garrett Hartley made a go ahead 43-yard field goal that was nullified by a Saints holding penalty.
It was a call for Green Bay! The Saints lined up for the 53 yard attempt but Mike Daniels was called for encroachment moving the ball five yards closer. Hartley had the distance but hooked it left outside the upright, cementing the Packer win and the Saints 0-4 start.
The two teams put up 748 yards, 439 of those coming in the first half when it looked like it would be the same offensive shoot out the two teams had last season.
Green Bay came out with a different offensive game plan than in weeks past. They established the run early and threw a lot of short timing routes.
The vaunted Green Bay slant made a comeback in a big way in this game. Green Bay drove right down the field on it's second possession with this strategy to take a 7-0 lead.
New Orleans countered on the next possession that culminated in a touchdown to Marques Colston from Brees. Interesting thing about this touchdown is Colston clearly pushed Packers safety Morgan Burnett to create separation and the applause that greeted the officials before the game turned to boos. Brees was 7-of-7 for 84 yards on the drive.
Leading 14-7 Green Bay faced 4th-and-1 on their own 17. In punt formation John Kuhn took a direct snap and ran for five yards. Gutsy call deep in their own end of the field. The drive ended with the third Aaron Rodgers touchdown pass of the first half.
New Orleans made several big crucial plays in the second half including 5 of 9 on 3rd down conversions two of which were greater than 10 yards. The two biggest plays came on Green Bay miscues.
Deep in New Orleans territory at the 4 yard line Rodgers took a Malcolm Jenkins hand to the face that poked or scratched his eye. He came out of the game. On the next play replacement Graham Harrell tripped over a lineman’s feet attempting a hand off, a fumble occurred and Jenkins recovered it.
Four plays later Brees hit Joseph Morgan who was all alone behind blown Packer coverage for an 80 yard touchdown. This gave New Orleans its first lead 24-21. A 4th quarter Hartley field goal extended it to 27-21.
The Packer defense held when it mattered most, in the red zone. Twice in the second half New Orleans was inside the Green Bay 20 and had to settle for field goals.
Green Bay recaptured the lead when Jordy Nelson caught his first touchdown of the year with 7:00 left that turned out to be the game winner.
Bress shredded the NFL's number one passing defense. He made some pin point passes to do it. He ended 35 of 54 for 446 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT, and a 109.0 passer rating. As a team New Orleans ran for just 45 yards on 19 carries.
Marques Colston recorded nine catches for 153 yards and a touchdown. Jimmy Graham and Lance Moore each had seven catches.
Cedric Benson had game highs of 84 yards on 18 totes. Jordy Nelson led Packers receivers with 8 catches for 93 yards and a score. James Jones caught two touchdowns in the first half.
Aaron Rodgers looked nervous in the first half. You could see the difference in him and Brees. Brees calm in the pocket, Rodgers not. He settled down as the game wore on to finish 31 of 21 for 319 yards, 4 TD, 1 INT and a 119.9 passer rating. Rodgers doesn't play well nervous and it is obvious. It is imperative Green Bay protect him moving forward.
Green Bay gave up eight sacks in the first half last week. Attesting to the competence of the coaching staff to make adjustments Rodgers has not been sacked since.
Green Bay moves to 2-2 with the victory.