GAME RECAP (ASSOCIATED PRESS)
(GREEN BAY) - Drew Brees threw his 500th career touchdown pass but was more excited about another number. Four. Brees continued his mastery of the Green Bay Packers and the New Orleans Saints won their fourth staight game with a 26-17 victory on Sunday. "This goes to recruiting," Brees said. "You bring in the type of guys that are smart, tough, character guys that can see through the trees in the forest sometimes and understand the long-term vision and understand there will be bumps in the road. "There will be bits of adversity, but keep your eyes on the prize and focus on the process and know that good things will happen. Despite our 0-2 start, I think everybody believed it." Brees completed a barrage of short passes that added up to a 27-of-38 day for 331 yards. In seven career games against the Packers, Brees has exceeded 300 passing yards all seven times. Running back Mark Ingram II gained 105 of the Saints' 161 rushing yards as New Orleans (4-2) piled up 485 yards and weathered Brees' two early interceptions. Packers quarterback Brett Hundley, making his first start for injured Aaron Rodgers, was just 12 of 25 for 87 yards. Hundley didn't make any big mistakes -- his lone interception came with the Packers trailing by nine points in the final minutes -- but he also didn't make any big plays. "Our passing game, we can sit here and pick it apart all we want," Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said. "Let's just blame it on the head coach today." The game turned midway through the fourth quarter. The Saints had just taken a 19-17 lead and then forced a three-and-out punt by bringing pressure on Hundley on third-and-9. New Orleans took over at its 45 and wasted no time putting the game away. Ingram blew through a huge hole on the right side for a gain of 23 yards on second down, with an additional 14 yards tacked on because of safety Kentrell Brice's horse-collar tackle. Brees' third-and-goal sneak from the 1 for a touchdown put the game away at 26-17 with 4:55 remaining. On the next possession, Hundley was intercepted by safety Kenny Vaccaro. "(I) got it under my belt," said Hundley, who could be the Packers' quarterback for the rest of the season with Rodgers recovering from a broken collarbone and on injured reserve. "Didn't win, obviously. We've got to be better, and we will, but we got the first one out of the way. "It didn't go the way we planned, and we've got to look at the film and make some adjustments." New Orleans scored on its opening two possessions of the second half to turn a 14-7 deficit into a 16-14 lead. Brees' pump fake freed up receiver Brandon Coleman for a 22-yard touchdown. Defensive tackle Kenny Clark blocked the extra-point attempt to keep the Packers in front by one. Including playoffs, it was touchdown pass No. 500 for Brees. "It's not really a time to reflect right now," Brees said. "We've got a lot of football ahead of us. Keep doing things the right way. Keep growing as a team, and all that stuff." The Saints took the lead on their next possession. A catch-and-run gain of 47 yards by receiver Ted Ginn Jr. on the first snap was the key play in setting up Wil Lutz's 28-yard field goal with 4:08 left in the third quarter. Green Bay recaptured the lead on the second play of the fourth quarter with Mason Crosby's 46-yard field goal. Rookie running back Aaron Jones' 21-yard run, during which he was stopped at the line of scrimmage but escaped to his right, was the key play. New Orleans retaliated on its next possession with Lutz's 44-yard field goal, making it 19-17 with 10:21 remaining. A 20-yard completion to receiver Michael Thomas and a 19-yard run by rookie Alvin Kamara put the Saints in scoring position. Jones finished with 131 rushing yards and a touchdown for Green Bay (4-3), which lost for the second consecutive week. The Packers led 14-7 at halftime and Saints head coach Sean Payton felt fortunate it wasn’t worse. "At halftime, you could have, against this team, easily have been down 14, 21 points," Payton said. "We were down seven and looking at each other like, 'Let’s go.' Those early takeaways, those are just percentages and numbers. It just becomes harder and harder. "I think our guys will continue to work and improve it, but overall it was a good team effort." Jones put the Packers on the board with a 46-yard touchdown run on the opening possession. He accounted for 70 of the 75 yards on the drive. The Saints' first two possessions ended with interceptions that spoiled scoring opportunities. The first came from the Packers' 20-yard line, with Brees' pass into the end zone intended for receiver Brandon Coleman grabbed by cornerback Damarious Randall. The second came from the Packers' 36. Brees went deep up the right sideline to Thomas, but cornerback Davon House was in perfect position for the theft. New Orleans scored early in the second quarter on a 12-yard touchdown run by Ingram. The Packers had only 10 defenders on the third-and-1 play. Green Bay answered on the ensuing possession. On third-and-4 from the Saints' 14, Hundley escaped to the left and had a clear path to the end zone. He dodged a hit by cornerback Ken Crawley at the 1 and got drilled by Vaccaro at the goal line.
NOTES: The Packers were without two starters, LG Lane Taylor (ankle) and S Morgan Burnett (hamstring). Saints RG Larry Warford missed the second half with an abdominal injury. ... Packers CB Damarious Randall has an interception in three consecutive games. ... Saints RB Mark Ingram II and QB Drew Brees did Lambeau Leaps beyond the end zone after touchdowns. ... Saints WR Ted Ginn Jr., with seven catches for 141 yards, had only his second game of more than 120 receiving yards. His first was vs. Buffalo while a member of the Dolphins in 2008.
NEW ORLEANS GREEN BAY
First downs 25 16
Rushes-yards 36-161 24-181
Net Passing yards 324 79
Passing (Att-Comp-Int) 38-27-2 25-12-1
Sacked-Yards Lost 1-7 1-8
Punts-Average 2-39.0 5-47.6
Fumbles 0 0
Penalties-Yards 7-80 8-54
Time of Possession 36:56 23:04
NEW ORLEANS - 0 6 10 10 - 26
GREEN BAY - 7 7 10 0 - 17
1st - GB - Aaron Jones, 46-yard run (Mason Crosby kick) GREEN BAY 7-0
2nd - NO - Mark Ingram, 12-yard run (Wil Lutz kick) TIED 7-7
2nd - GB - Brett Hundley, 14-yard run (Crosby kick) GREEN BAY 14-7
3rd - NO - Brandon Coleman, 22-yard pass from Drew Brees (Kick failed) GREEN BAY 14-13
3rd - NO - Lutz, 28-yard field goal NEW ORLEANS 16-14
4th - GB - Crosby, 46-yard field goal GREEN BAY 17-16
4th - NO - Lutz, 44-yard field goal NEW ORLEANS 19-17
4th - NO - Brees, 1-yard run (Lutz kick) NEW ORLEANS 26-17
GREEN BAY - Aaron Jones 17-131 1 TD, Brett Hundley 3-44 1 TD, Ty Montgomery 4-6
NEW ORLEANS - Mark Ingram 22-105 1 TD, Alvin Kamata 9-57, Drew Brees 5-(-1)
GREEN BAY - Brett Hundley 25-12-87 1 INT
NEW ORLEANS - Drew Brees 38-27-331 1 TD 2 INT
GREEN BAY - Aaron Jones 3-7, Martellus Bennett 2-17, Randall Cobb 2-15, Davante Adams 2-12, Geronimo Allison 1-14, Jordy Nelson 1-13, Ty Montgomery 1-9
NEW ORLEANS - Ted Ginn 7-141, Michael Thomas 7-82, Alvin Kamata 5-50, Mark Ingram 4-5, Brandon Coleman 2-31 1 TD, Coby Fleener 2-22
New Orleans holds Green Bay to three points in second half
GREEN BAY – The Saints controlled the game in the second half and ruined Packers QB Brett Hundley’s first NFL start in a 26-17 decision at Lambeau Field on Sunday. Leading 14-7 at halftime, the Packers were outscored 19-3 after intermission as Saints QB Drew Brees completed 27-of-38 for 331 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions for an 84.4 passer rating. New Orleans RB Mark Ingram had 22 carries for 105 yards and a score. WR Ted Ginn led the Saints receivers with seven catches for 141 yards, and RB Alvin Kamara added 107 yards from scrimmage (57 rushing, 50 receiving). For the Packers, Hundley was 12-of-25 for 87 yards with an interception for a 39.9 rating. Rookie RB Aaron Jones rushed 17 times for 131 yards and a TD. With the loss, the Packers dropped into second place in the NFC North at 4-3, one game behind the 5-2 Vikings, who beat Baltimore. Green Bay now has its bye week and returns in Week 9 on Monday Night Football against division rival Detroit at Lambeau Field. Here's a recap of all the action.
First quarter: The Packers took an early 7-0 lead and got two interceptions on defense in the first quarter against the Saints. The Packers got on the board right away, and new QB Brett Hundley didn’t even need to complete a pass. Rookie RB Aaron Jones ran for 15 yards on the game’s first snap. An offside penalty turned a third-and-7 into third-and-2, and Jones took it for 6 yards around left end to move the chains. On the next snap, Jones burst through a huge hole up the middle and went 46 yards for a touchdown, putting the Packers up 7-0 just two minutes into the game. QB Drew Brees got the Saints moving with passes of 24 and 14 yards to rookie RB Alvin Kamara. Brees then converted on fourth-and-2 from the Green Bay 29 with a 5-yard pass to WR Michael Thomas. Three plays later, though, on third-and-6, Brees tried to go to the end zone to WR Brandon Coleman, and Packers CB Damarious Randall intercepted. It was Randall’s third interception in as many games, and just the third interception Brees has thrown this season. The Packers went three-and-out. After a pair of runs by Jones picked up 9, Hundley threw incomplete to WR Davante Adams on third-and-short, and Green Bay punted. Saints WR Ted Ginn called for a fair catch and muffed the ball, but it didn’t hit the ground and the Packers were called for fair-catch interference when they thought they had recovered a fumble. Two plays later, Brees went deep to Ginn for 40 yards, but two plays after that, Packers CB Davon House intercepted a deep ball for Thomas, and the Packers took over deep in their own territory. But the Packers went three-and-out again, failing on third-and-1 for the second straight drive. P Justin Vogel’s 41-yard punt put New Orleans on its own 47. A 6-yard pass to Ginn and a 12-yard run by Kamara closed out the quarter with the Saints on the Green Bay 35.
Second quarter: New quarterback Brett Hundley rushed for his first NFL touchdown, and the Packers entered halftime with a 14-7 lead over the Saints. Saints RB Mark Ingram started the second quarter with runs of 6 and 8 yards to the Green Bay 21. The on third-and-1 from the 12, Ingram ran off left end untouched for the touchdown, and the game was tied at 7. The Packers got moving on offense again as Jones ran for 5 yards and a first down. A 14-yard swing pass to WR Randall Cobb turned into a big play when a horse-collar penalty was tacked on. A 12-yard pass over the middle to TE Martellus Bennett made it first down on the New Orleans 20. Three plays later, Hundley scrambled around the left side for a 14-yard touchdown, and the Packers were back in front. The Saints got out to midfield on a 17-yard pass to TE Coby Fleener, but the drive stalled there as Brees went deep on third-and-2 to Thomas but overshot him. The Packers took over on their own 8-yard line and got out of the hole when Hundley scrambled for 22 yards on third down. A false start on first down helped kill the drive, though, and Vogel punted the Saints back to their own 20. After a sack by Nick Perry, the Saints faced third-and-17 and converted with a slip screen to Ginn on the left side. That put New Orleans on the 30 at the two-minute warning, but the Packers got the next third-down stop on a swing pass to Kamara, and the Saints punted. The Packers took over on their own 19 with 1:23 left in the half. With the Saints using their timeouts to try to get the ball back, Hundley converted on third-and-4 with a 14-yard pass to WR Geronimo Allison, but then Allison dropped the next pass on first down. A deep sideline throw to Bennett produced a defensive pass interference call on S Vonn Bell, putting Green Bay on the New Orleans 36. A defensive holding call gave the Packers another five yards, and just 18 seconds remained. TE Richard Rodgers was then called for offensive pass interference, pushing Green Bay back to the 41. K Mason Crosby missed a 59-yard field goal try, and one second was left on the clock, but the Saints tried a short pass rather than a Hail Mary.
Third quarter: The Saints scored twice in the third quarter to take a 16-14 lead over the Packers, who were driving as the fourth quarter began. The Saints started the second half with a 39-yard kickoff return by WR Tommylee Lewis out to the New Orleans 41. Passes of 13 and 21 yards to Thomas, the latter on third-and-9, moved the Saints into scoring range. Two plays later, Brees found WR Brandon Coleman for a 22-yard touchdown pass. Packers DT Kenny Clark blocked the PAT, though, so Green Bay still led, 14-13, with 11:24 left in the third. The Packers picked up one first down on WR Jordy Nelson’s first reception of the game, for 13 yards, but a sack by Saints DE Alex Okafor helped stall the next series. Okafor knocked the ball free, but Packers G Justin McCray recovered, and Green Bay punted. The Saints got moving again right away on a 47-yard catch and run by Ginn. A 9-yard pass to Coleman moved the chains again, and a 9-yard slant to Thomas converted on third-and-6 to put the ball on the Green Bay 13. Packers CB Davon House was down after the play and walked off under his own power, but came back into the game. An illegal block on first down pushed the Saints back to the 23. Two pass completions set up third-and-7 from the 10, and Brees fired incomplete to Thomas in the end zone. K Wil Lutz was good from 28 yards out, and the Saints took their first lead of the day, 16-14, with 4:08 left in the quarter. Hundley got the Packers going with an 8-yard read-option run for a first down. Jones had runs of 5 and 21 yards to get Green Bay across midfield. A swing pass to Cobb gained just one yard, and Cobb fumbled. But he recovered it himself, and the Saints were called for a personal foul for trying to pull a player off the pile. The quarter expired with the Packers facing third-and-10 from the New Orleans 28.
Fourth quarter: Hundley’s deep pass to Adams on the first play of the fourth quarter was incomplete, and Crosby was good from 46 yards out to put Green Bay back in front, 17-16. Brees hit Ginn for 9 yards and Thomas for 20 to get out near midfield. An 8-yard run by Ingram was followed by a 19-yard run by Kamara to the Green Bay 26. A tackle for loss by LB Clay Matthews set up third-and-10, and House broke up a pass for Lewis, forcing the Saints to settle for a field goal. Lutz was good from 44 yards, and New Orleans went back on top, 19-17, with 10:21 left. The Packers couldn’t answer, going three-and-out from their own 10-yard line after a holding penalty on the kickoff return. Another Green Bay penalty on the punt gave the Saints the ball on their own 45. New Orleans wasted no time. On second down, Ingram burst through the line for a 24-yard run, and a horse-collar penalty on S Kentrell Brice made it first down on the Green Bay 13. A 7-yard run by Kamara and 3-yard pass to Ingram gave the Saints first-and-goal on the 2. Three plays later, Brees reached the ball out while leaping over the line for the touchdown, and Lutz’s extra point put the Saints up by two scores, 26-17, with 4:55 left. Hundley then tried to go deep on the ensuing third down, and his overthrown pass was picked off by a diving S Kenny Vaccaro, effectively ending the game.