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The Aftermath: Saints vs. Packers

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The Aftermath: Saints vs. Packers

For the second straight season, the Packers defeated the Saints at Lambeau Field. Green Bay notched its second win of the season with a 28-27 victory over New Orleans.

Getting Up To Speed

Perhaps it was the sub-par Saints defense or maybe it was revenge from last week’s debacle in Seattle, but one way or another, the Packers offense finally found its groove on Sunday. Commanding the no-huddle offense with precision, quarterback Aaron Rodgers overcame injury and drops from his receivers to put together an excellent day, finishing with 319 yards on 31 completions, four touchdowns and an interception.

Rodgers’ performance was supported by a healthy rushing attack. Veteran Cedric Benson hit holes harder and turned corners faster than any Packers running back since Ahman Green roamed the backfield. Benson finished the day with only 84 yards on 18 carries but his two runs prior to the two-minute warning helped set up a spectacular James Jones catch on third-and-three to ensure the victory.

One Play

In the NFL momentum changes faster than Clay Matthews chases down a quarterback. And a single play late in the third quarter altered the course of the game for the Packers.

Aaron Rodgers had just left the game after getting whacked in the eye by Saints defensive back Malcolm Jenkins. Following a facemask penalty on Jenkins, Packers backup Graham Harrell was pressed into his first NFL action. On his first snap, Harrell’s feet got tangled with lineman Jeff Saturday’s and Harrell fumbled the attempted handoff to Cedric Benson.

The Saints’ Malcolm Jenkins came away with the football and the Saints cashed in the turnover with an 80-yard touchdown strike to mark New Orleans' first lead of the game.

Different Refs, Same Bad Calls

The Packers first defensive drive of the day ended much like the final drive of their last game. Although last week’s no-call of pass interference was much more blatant than this week’s, Saints receiver Marques Colston clearly pushed Packers safety Morgan Burnett to the ground before coming down with a Drew Brees touchdown pass. Regardless of who was wearing the black-and-white stripes, both touchdown calls overlooked blatant pass interference, but luckily for the Packers, the game didn’t end on a disastrous call this week.

The second half welcomed more poor officiating from head referee Jeff Triplette and his crew. The Packers defense would have forced a three-and-out to open the third quarter, but instead Triplette failed to overturn a Mike McCarthy-challenged catch after Saints tight end Jimmy Graham dropped the ball. Instead, the drive continued and culminated in only a field goal thanks to a goal line stand from the Packers defense.

Another key missed call came midway through the fourth quarter, when the referees ruled kick-returner Darren Sproles down-by-contact after Dezman Moses forced and recovered a Sproles fumble. Since McCarthy had already used both of his alloted challenges, the Packers had no means of rectifying the officials’ error and found themselves on the wrong side of yet another bad call.

Always the class act, McCarthy bit his tongue and used his post-game press conference to praise the pace of the game the officials maintained, which helped his offense find its rhythm. Who ever said nice guys finish last?

Injury Report

Safety M.D. Jennings’ rough week continued as he exited early with a shoulder injury. Defensive lineman Ryan Pickett also injured his shoulder but returned late in the game wearing a brace. Charles Woodson briefly left the game with an apparent shoulder injury but was able to return.

On the offensive side of the ball, wideout Greg Jennings re-injured his groin and was unable to return. Even without Jennings, however, Rodgers and the offense sustained its lofty trajectory and sealed the victory with a fourth-quarter rally.

Up Next

A weaker team may have folded under the circumstances of the infamous Fail Mary and a series of poor calls from the referees this week, but credit Mike McCarthy’s team for fighting through and finding a way to come out victorious. Green Bay’s strength will once again be tested, however, as the Packers embark on a three-week road trip beginning in Indianapolis against Andrew Luck and the Colts.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (16) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

keeley2's picture

Can anyone shed any light on the non-reversal of the Graham drop? How in the world can that call stand? If not for the ground, that ball could not have been caught? Unbelieveable!

D B H's picture

I have no idea what a "catch" is in the NFL. Neither do the referees.

There may be some kind of coin flip machine under the hood with the head official may use to determine the outcome of any reviewable play. 50/50 shot, right?

tundraboy's picture

I agree. I can not take the stress!!!

What a week. I have one question what is wrong with these tv reviews. Are they drunk? What the hell do they see that noone else does. BAAAD. Why is down by contact not reviewable? Someone please explain. Every change of possession needs to be reviewed but then again it seems that would not matter either!!!!!.

bomdad's picture

The down by contact was not reviewed because the Packers were out of challenges and there was still more than 2 minutes left in the game.

Jeff Triplett's crew is the worst in the NFL. Hopefully the new deal includes the means for him to be ash canned.

Evan's picture

I thought down by contact wasn't reviewable because once it's called there is no way to clearly determine who has possession.

I didn't think that play was reviewable, whether or not McCarthy had challenges.

bomdad's picture

I didnt see any one of the refs spotting the ball where Sproles was "down by contact" and indicating Saints possession and stopping the clock. Thats they way its supposed to go down. Instead they let the players jump on the pile and fight for possession, and clearly the Packers recovered since Moses was the first on it in the replay and also after the peeled off pile jumpers.

Chad Toporski's picture

In situations like that, refs should just call the turnover, especially with the new rules. By calling a turnover, they can wipe away a lot of indecision in allowing the replay booth to autmoatically review the play. Just like questionable touchdowns should probably just be called as touchdowns.

That is, if they're worried about getting the right call.

Evan's picture

Yeah, I didn't see anything going the way it's supposed to during that exchange. Matthews was pulling a dude out by his leg, Finley kept trying to dive back into the pile. It was chaos for a few minutes.

Packerdoc's picture

Not to mention the first challenge where Jordy Nelson clearly had control of the ball when his knee touched the ground. At that point he was down by contact. He had far more control of the ball than Coulston did. This rule that says its an incompletion if the ball comes loose after you step out of bounds or are down by contact makes no logical sense. Jordy clearly had the ball clutched to his body with both arms and only took one hand off it to break him fall when he was tackled. I can see how it might be tough to see in real time but to get it wrong on replay? That makes 3 consecutive wrong calls on replay counting the Inaccurate Reception. C'mon NFL, get your house in order.

zeke's picture

I didn't see the game so don't know if this fits, but the play doesn't necessarily end when his knee touches the ground as he has to "complete the process" of catching the pass. The rule says:

"If a player goes to the ground in the act of catching a pass (with or without contact by an opponent), he must maintain control of the ball after he touches the ground, whether in the field of play or the end zone. If he loses control of the ball, and the ball touches the ground before he regains control, the pass is incomplete. If he regains control prior to the ball touching the ground, the pass is complete."

For what little it's worth...

Chad Toporski's picture

My argument would be that the "act of cathing the pass" had already been completed. He turned and started making a move towards the first down marker, tried to extend the ball, and lost control.

Evan's picture

That's how I saw it too, though it wasn't 100% clear because the only angle we had was of his back. It was impossible to see when he started to extend the ball forward.

bomdad's picture

In real time, it looked like a drop. In slow mo, it might be a move to advance the ball or "football move" and he had control until his knee and elbow both hit the ground. MM should have called a TO and gave it another look before the challenge. He knows this crew is bad.

Bohj's picture

Which by that definition, Graham's is not even close to a catch.

tundraboy's picture

Yeah that one too. There have been so many can not even keep track of anymore.

tundraboy's picture

If I hear what is wrong with the Packers one more time I am going to lose it.
All the pass interference BS and atrocious calls. Take those away and we are 4-0.

Even the San Fran game our receivers were getting manhandled, no calls! Not one!!! So who knows how that game would have turned out.
On the other side when we are on defense, CBs and safeties are getting called for PI when the other receivers are the guilty ones. And they have not even been close!!!

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