The Green Bay Packers kicked off the NFL season with a 42-34 victory over the New Orleans Saints Thursday night and it lived up to the hype.
Fireworks were not just for the pregame entertainment. Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees tossed the pigskin around for a combined 731 yards and six touchdowns (three for each) and a combined 76 points.
Player of the game: Randall Cobb
I think this one is unanimous. The rookie wasn’t introduced to the NFL. Cobb introduced himself to the NFL. First, he showed off his receiving ability with a 32-yard touchdown reception and run that included a stiff arm and a dive into the end zone. The play that really showed his strength and balance was the 108-yard kickoff return for in the third quarter. Cobb should have been down at the Packers’ 23, but spun his way out of a tackle and kept going. No. 18 in Indy may be gone for the season. No. 18 in Green bay is just getting started
Play of the game: 4th-and-inches stop
There are plenty of plays we could choose, but the Packers defensive stop on their own 6-yard line was the one that made the difference. The Packers defense had been on the field for almost 12 minutes in the third quarter. You could see how exhausted they were getting. The Saints were down by eight and coach Sean Payton decided to go for it on 4th-and-inches instead of going for the field goal. The Packers pressured Brees on a play-action pass that fell incomplete. Green Bay would take the ball 93 yards, run six minutes of clock and score on a John Kuhn run. It essentially became a 14-point swing.
Biggest disappointment: special teams coverage
Kickoff and punt coverage were a problem. Darren Sproles is a good return man, but he’s not that good. Sproles took a punt 72 yards for a score and almost every other return he had came close to going in for six. Coaches often say turnovers and special teams will win or lose a game. The Packers almost lost because of the Saints great field position in the second half of the game.