Cris Collinsworth would have you you believe that the Saints were the only team on the field and they had 22 All Pro players on their roster, but that was not the case.
The Packers were there, minus a couple All Pro level players, and they did pretty well.
But the story of the game wasn’t the players as much as it was the coaching. On both sides of the ball, they needed to make adjustments due to missing multiple starters.
I was very concerned that the Saints would watch Packers film and just decide to run every single down since the Packers rarely go with more than two down lineman and have a well-documented history of not being able to stop the run. At halftime, I realized that if Mike Pettine didn’t make adjustments, he would be nothing more than a shinier Dom Capers wearing a Steve Austin mask.
But Mike Pettine made me proud and finally made the necessary in-game adjustments.
Once he did that, the Saints couldn’t run up the middle. They tried to replace it with quick out flare passes, which worked a couple times, but ran into the strength of the Packers defense on the perimeter. This was what completely turned the game around.
In the 4th quarter, the Saints had two drives that went for 5 yards each before getting a field goal against prevent defense.
That was what clinched this game.
On offense, Matt LaFleur was masterful. When something didn’t work, he tried something else. When it worked, he went back to it. He used tight end misdirection all game. It shouldn’t have been unexpected considering what Darren Waller did to the Saints last week. However, the Packers don’t have Darren Waller. This is the beauty of Matt LaFleur’s offense: it can function without premium talent at all the skill positions.
Oh, and he did it all without have a first round wide receiver. He even did it without Davante Adams.
Allen Lazard is a good player and Matt LaFleur is a great coach. Let’s all quit talking about needing a wide receiver in the 1st.
With the run game stuck in neutral, missing their only “true” receiving threat, the Packers offense dropped 37 on a very talented defense.
The Packers are going places and the coaches are taking them there.
The other important factors in this game:
- Marcedes Lewis was getting throttled before his touchdown and absolutely did not push off
- Both pass interference calls against the Saints were completely warranted
- Yes, there’s some gray area penalty calls, but there as nothing egregious or game-changing
- Jace Sternberger and Bob Tonyan aren’t Pro Bowlers, but they do what needs to be done, which is plenty
- The Packers absolutely caught a break by getting Minnesota and New Orleans without crowds
- The (seemingly) 14 missed tackles on the long Kamara touchdown were downright embarrassing and I’m pleasantly shocked the defense responded
- The Packers offensive line, beat up and patchwork, still gets the job done
- Kingsley Keke is developing into a nice pass rush specialist
- The safety play was pretty bad and is becoming a growing concern
- Ty Summers did just enough, but inside linebacker is also a sore spot
- Aaron Rodgers is still good
- Taysom Hill was a liability pretty much every time he touched the ball, including the game-changing turnover in the 4th quarter