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Saints Brees By Packers on MNF 51-29

The Green Bay Packers need a swift kick in the rear end.

Drew Brees literally had his way with the boys from Lambeau, and there was absolutely nothing the Pack was able to invent to stop the carnage.

Where was the team from last week? Did they all catch a shuttle to Mars? Where was the defense? Brees threw for 323 yards, and seemed to have no trouble keeping the Packers defense on its heels. What on earth became of our vaunted secondary – the strongest part of the Green Bay franchise? The guys on whom we have bragged all year, the guys with multiple interceptions returned for touchdowns? Did someone tie them up and replace them with clueless clones?

Apparently, they thought this one, forgive the pun, would be a breeze.

Interceptions in the end zone. Interceptions leading to touchdowns. 3 and out. Punt. Punt.

Green Bay put 7 on the board early in the first, but the Saints responded with a single play and tied it up. From there on out, the Pack never saw the lead again. They did tie it up twice, at 14-14 and at 21-21, in the second quarter, but the third and fourth quarters brought a great deal of embarrassment to McCarthy and crew.

Ryan Grant finished the game with only 67 yards in 18 attempts. Rodgers churned up 36 yards in 8 attempts, giving him a 4.5 yard per carry average – almost a full yard per carry better than General Grant. Nobody expected this to be a running game (Pierre Thomas only ran 15 times for 87 yards), but the key to opening up the Packers aerial assault requires forcing defenses to respect the ground game. Apparently no one in the Packers organization got that memo.

Ronnie Rodgers actually brings home more completions (23/41 for 248) than the good Mr. Brees (20/26 for 323), but he also gave it away to the Saints three times – once in the end zone. A championship caliber football team doesn’t make those kinds of mistakes. It was clear that the Saints receivers were able to make things happen after the catch and come up with the big plays – 15 yards on a third and fifteen, for instance – when they mattered most. Green Bay made a lot more plays, and even more first downs, but the key to winning a game is to put more points on the board than the opposing team.

The Pack fell just a wee bit short of that goal tonight.

With this desperately disappointing experiment in charity tonight, the Packers have basically given away their playoff hopes. After stomping the Bears thoroughly last week, I expected a better performance in New Orleans, but it was not to be so. Sure, a perfect season from here out would be a great thing, but there are serious contenders who stand in the way of such a run.

The New Orleans Saints delivered a veritable stomping tonight, and they deserve it. The Pack didn’t show up. The Pack wasn’t ready.

The one bright spot in the entire game was that the Packers only drew 3 penalties for 20 yards, which is a great improvement over the 6 and 8 penalty games we’ve seen earlier in the season. The penalties came late, when I suspect crowd noise caused some false starts. Those are disappointing but understandable.

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