GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Green Bay Packers improved to 3-0 by beating the New Orleans Saints 37-30 on Sunday night. Here was our running coverage of the game.
Packers 37, Saints 27 (2:00 remaining)
A huge third-down stop by Chandon Sullivan allowed the Packers to clinch the game. Aaron Rodgers threw a 1-yard touchdown to Robert Tonyan to cap a seven-play, 64-yard drive that drained 4:36 off the clock. Green Bay got a free first down on third-and-3 from the Saints' 15. Aaron Rodgers coaxed the Saints offside, and his free-play throw to Allen Lazard resulted in an interference penalty on Janoris Jenkins in the end zone. Afterward, Rodgers said he was about to call timeout when Demario Davis jumped offside.
Packers 30, Saints 27 (8:47 remaining)
Za’Darius Smith’s forced fumble and recovery gave the offense the ball at the 43. A short bootleg to tight end Jace Sternberger turned into a 12 and was the big play in setting up Mason Crosby’s 49-yard field goal.
Packers 27, Saints 27 (12:19 remaining)
After a turnover on downs looked like a potentially pivotal play for the Saints, Za’Darius Smith made his first play of the night to turn the tables. With Taysom Hill in at quarterback, the Saints went with a read-option. Hill kept it but Smith poked it loose and recovered at Green Bay’s 43.
Packers 27, Saints 27 (13:07 remaining)
Packers coach Matt LaFleur kept his offense on the field on fourth-and-1 from the 48. Aaron Jones was stuffed, first by safety Malcolm Jenkins and then cornerback Marshon Lattimore. Jones was given the first down but it was an easy overturn on review. Would that be the turning point of the game?
Packers 27, Saints 27 (33 seconds remaining)
Drew Brees’ harmless checkdown turned into a 52-yard touchdown by Alvin Kamara. Will Redmond had Kamara after the catch for what should have been a tackle for loss. But Kamara got away. He then broke a tackle by Ty Summers for what should have been a gain of about 10. Then, it was off to the races. Jaire Alexander tried to bring Kamara down with a shoulder, for some reason. That didn’t work. Finally, near the goal line, he stepped through safety Darnell Savage’s diving attempt.
Packers 27, Saints 20 (2:17 remaining)
On third-and-2 from the 18, Aaron Rodgers, naturally, threw a jump-ball to tight end Marcedes Lewis. The veteran tight end pushed off on safety Malcolm Jenkins, made a leaping catch at the 3 and tumbled into the end zone. The drive was jump-started by a gain of 16 to tight end Robert Tonyan on play-action. Should Lewis have been called for pass interference? That was debatable. A gain of 19 on defensive pass interference on safety Marcus Williams on an overthrow to Tyler Ervin was a huge call in Green Bay’s favor.
Packers 20, Saints 20 (5:55 remaining)
Will Lutz’s 35-yard field goal snuck just inside the right upright to tie the game. With the Saints driving to a first down at Green Bay’s 19, Krys Barnes stopped Latavius Murray for a gain of 1. That was enough. Drew Brees underthrew his man on second down and the defense rallied to the ball to keep Alvin Kamara short of the line to gain on a third-down screen.
Injury update: Packers linebacker Christian Kirksey was ruled out with an injured right shoulder. Ty Summers, a seventh-round pick last year who was a standout on special teams but didn’t play a snap on defense, took his place in the lineup.
Packers 20, Saints 17 (12:58 remaining)
Aaron Jones plowed into the end zone on fourth-and-goal from outside the 1 for a huge score. He got big blocks from right tackle Billy Turner on Sheldon Rankins and tight end Marcedes Lewis on Cameron Jordan, with Jones scooting between those defenders. The big play came on third-and-10 from the 25. After Allen Lazard dropped a pass on second down, he got behind everybody and caught a bomb from Aaron Rodgers in stride for a gain of 72 to the 3.
Saints 17, Packers 13 (6 seconds remaining)
The Saints methodically drove the ball down the field to take the lead into halftime. On third-and-2 from the 10, Drew Brees threw a beauty of a touchdown pass to Emmanuel Sanders on a slant vs. Kevin King. Brees completed five passes to running back Alvin Kamara on the drive.
Brees, questioned about age and performance during the week, is 14-of-17 for 104 yards and two touchdowns. Aaron Rodgers is 9-of-14 for 106 yards.
Injury update: Packers linebacker Christian Kirksey suffered a shoulder injury during the second quarter and is questionable to return. Ty Summers took his role in the lineup as well as the defense’s communicator.
Packers 13, Saints 10 (2:40 remaining)
The Packers punted for the first time of the night. This sets up a big moment. The Packers will get the ball coming out of intermission.
Packers 13, Saints 10 (4:28 remaining)
Will Lutz booted a 45-yard field goal, which has to be a victory for the Packers’ defense. The big play came on third-and-15. The Packers got just what they wanted, a checkdown to running back Alvin Kamara. But Kamara ran through a tackle attempt by Will Redmond and weaved his way through the defense for a gain of 21. However, Green Bay got a stop. Billy Winn, in a remarkable story, broke up a first-down pass and Adrian Amos stuffed a receiver screen to Taysom Hill on third-and-3.
Linebacker Christian Kirksey was shaken up on the drive, meaning Green Bay finished with Krys Barnes and Ty Summers at inside linebacker. What about Oren Burks? He was at outside linebacker, where he worked at practice this week.
Packers 13, Saints 7 (10:32 remaining)
The Packers wasted no time after Kingsley Keke’s third-down sack of Drew Brees. Setting up shop at midfield, Aaron Rodgers went play-action, booted left and fired a perfect 48-yard strike to Allen Lazard to the 2 against premier corner Marshon Lattimore. On second down at the 5, the Packers used jet-sweep action and a fake to Jamaal Williams to get Lazard open for an easy touchdown. Lazard started the play with a block, then leaked into the route.
Saints 7, Packers 6 (14:12 remaining)
The Packers managed a 33-yard field goal as another drive bogged down once it got into scoring position. The big play was a 13-yard run by Aaron Rodgers on third-and-12. Rodgers had clear sailing as the play broke down. A block by Marquez Valdes-Scantling got Rodgers past the marker.
Saints 7, Packers 3 (5:07 remaining)
Alvin Kamara’s 49-yard run set up his 11-yard touchdown reception from Drew Brees. On the long run, Za’Darius Smith and Will Redmond lined up inside and were blocked even further inside. When Adrian Amos slipped, Kamara was off to the races. On the touchdown, it was an option route, with Kamara easily beating rookie linebacker Krys Barnes.
Packers 3, Saints 0 (7:30 remaining)
The Packers struck first on Mason Crosby’s 52-yard field goal. The game started with Green Bay getting a three-and-out stop. Taking over at the 31, Aaron Rodgers had a pair of connections for first downs to receiver Allen Lazard and another to running back Aaron Jones, who took safety Malcolm Jenkins for a ride on a gain of 12. On third-and-22, a checkdown to Robert Tonyan gained 9 to get the Packers back into field-goal range.
Of note, Lucas Patrick started at right guard and Billy Turner at right tackle. It was Turner's season debut; he replaced Rick Wagner, who played well in a game-and-a-half of action.
How to Watch
TV: NBC – Mike Tirico, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya (field reporter).
Two of the NFL’s best receivers, Green Bay’s Davante Adams and New Orleans’ Michael Thomas, are inactive. So is Packers defensive tackle Kenny Clark.
Without the Receivers
Obviously, Packers running back Aaron Jones will have nothing to do with Saints running Alvin Kamara, or vice-versa. Nonetheless, these are two of the most dynamic backs in the NFL. Through two games, Jones is No. 1 in the NFL among running backs with 312 yards from scrimmage.
“I still don’t feel like I have reached my full potential, so continue to work to get there,” Jones said on Sunday after a career day of 168 rushing yards and 236 scrimmage yards.
Kamara is fifth this season with 241 scrimmage yards and fourth since entering the NFL in 2017 with 4,717. In Mondya’s loss to the Raiders, he caught all nine targets for 95 yards. That’s a problem; the Lions’ D’Andre Swift caught all five targets for 60 yards against Green Bay last week.