Saints 34, Packers 27
Published 7:42 pm Tuesday, September 19, 2006
With his team taking an unbeaten record into the Louisiana Superdome next Monday night, wide receiver Joe Horn knows people in New Orleans will have something positive to holler about.
After a 34-27 victory over the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on Sunday, Horn doesn’t want his teammates to get caught up in the hoopla, though.
“The most important part of this football team is that we understand that we’re not going to win a football game and start hoopin’ and hollerin’ about it,” Horn said. “That’s nothing. We have to keep on rolling to get to our ultimate goal.”
After winning their first two games on the road, the Saints (2-0) will play their first true home game since 2004 next Monday night against Atlanta.
The Saints spent last season without a home after Hurricane Katrina ravaged their city, and their stadium first became a shelter, then a symbol for governmental mismanagement of a disaster.
“Everything is going to be crazy, from the media, from the fans, from everyone,” running back Deuce McAllister said. “But we just have to stay focused. We have to be mentally and physically prepared to play. Atlanta is 2-0. It’s going to be a tough game.”
Saints quarterback Drew Brees overcame three early turnovers by completing 26 of 41 passes for 353 yards.
“We really shot ourselves in the foot, but we were able to come back and overcome it, which really says a lot about this team,” said Brees, who had two touchdowns and an interception.
With the game tied at 20, Brees threw a 35-yard pass to Marques Colston for a 27-20 edge with 8:20 remaining.
Ahman Green fumbled after Colston’s touchdown, and Saints back McAllister ran 23 yards for his second score.
“That takes all of the momentum from us,” said Packers receiver Donald Driver, who had eight catches for 153 yards. “We were on the sideline talking about all we have to do is go back and score and tie the game back up.”
Still, they came close.
Brett Favre’s 6-yard pass to running back Noah Herron cut the Saints’ lead to 34-27 with 4:18 remaining. The Packers got the ball again with 3:09 remaining and Favre drove to the Saints 44. But Favre threw four straight incompletions, leaving the Packers (0-2) with two losses at home to start the season.
“I give the Saints a lot of credit,” Favre said. “They’ve gone on the road twice and won. I don’t care who you’re playing, that is so difficult in this league.”
Favre, who completed 31 of 55 passes for 340 yards with three touchdowns and one interception, had thrown only one TD pass in the Packers’ previous six games.
One week after being shut out for the first time in his career, Favre had his first multi-touchdown game since a loss to Minnesota on Nov. 21, 2005.
Favre said he still enjoys playing football, but sounded like he is settling in for a long season.
“That’s a game we should have won, and we didn’t do it,” Favre said. “So we’ve got to find a way. First of all, we may not be in that situation too often this year where we’re up 13-0 at home. If we are, we’ve got to find a way to close that out.”
Favre threw an interception in the end zone at the beginning of the second half. He was hit while throwing on first down at the Saints 7 and Omar Stoutmire intercepted. Favre said he was trying to throw the ball away.
Brees immediately found Horn for a 57-yard pass to the Packers 23. Aaron Kampman came up with his third sack of the game and forced another fumble, but the Saints recovered and John Carney hit a 45-yard field goal to put the Saints ahead 17-13. Carney later added a 47-yard field goal.
Early in the fourth quarter, Favre hit Robert Ferguson for a 4-yard touchdown, tying the game at 20.
Brees turned over the ball over on the Saints’ first three possessions, allowing the Packers to jump to a 13-0 lead.
On the Saints’ third play from scrimmage, Kampman sacked Brees, forced a fumble and recovered the ball at the Saints 37. Five plays later, Favre hit rookie Greg Jennings for his first career touchdown. Brees fumbled again on the Saints’ next series and threw an interception to Al Harris on their third possession, leading to two field goals by Dave Rayner.
“We had a big emphasis this week of starting fast, and I think we accomplished it,” McCarthy said. “But there were some big momentum swings in the football game, and we were on the short end.”
Notes: Rookie Reggie Bush, a primary focus of the Packers on Sunday, caught eight passes for 68 yards but had only 5 yards rushing on six carries. “It left other guys open and it took a little bit of attention off them and gave them a chance to make plays,” Bush said. … Bush split time with Lance Moore on punt returns. … Three Packers had to be treated for cramps: cornerback Ahmad Carroll, tight end David Martin and Harris. Harris wasn’t on the field when receiver Devery Henderson beat Carroll for a 26-yard touchdown.