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Packers Slow Second Half Costs Them Against Saints

slow second half Ellen via Flickr


Slow Second Half Costs Packers

The Green Bay Packers fell to the New Orleans Saints 26-17 in their first game starting Brett Hundley under center. With Aaron Rodgers gone to injury, Hundley looked slow at the helm of the Packers offense. Aaron Jones provided a running game for the Packers, as he offered his second 100 yard game of the season. The defense, though swarming, struggled to get off of the field. However, it would be the offense’s slow second half that would cost them against Sean Payton‘s squad.

Green Bay went into the half with a 14-7 lead against New Orleans. Drew Brees quickly led his team down the field, intent to tie the game, but Will Lutz‘s extra point was blocked. The Saints and Packers exchanged field goals before New Orleans ran away in the fourth quarter. Green Bay struggled on third down on both sides of the ball. Drew Brees and company took advantage of this, adding 10 points in the fourth quarter; including eight minutes of possession.

Offense Switches Roles

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Hundley looked slow under center in his debut as the starting quarterback. Though he made some good reads throughout the game, he often held the ball too long. This resulted in a sack-strip that was recovered. He posted just a 39.9 rating while completing less than half of his passes for only 87 yards and an interception. On the contrary, Hundley did make many plays with his legs, including a 14-yard touchdown run. However, the offense became lethargic in the second half, scoring just three points. According to Team Rankings, the Packers averaged 17.4 points in the second half prior to the Rodgers injury. A number they will aspire for going forward.
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While Aaron Rodgers nurses his collarbone it seems that the Packers will rely heavily on the running game. Aaron Jones was the recipient of a heavy workload on Sunday. His 17 attempts for 131 yards and a touchdown proved to be his second 100 yard game of the season. His third touch of the game went 46 yards for a touchdown as the rookie impressed.

Defense Bends

The defense showed up in this game. The Packers defense struggled but contained the Saints in the first half. However, the slow second half was a different story. With the offense sputtering, the defense was forced onto the field for more than two-thirds of the half. The most prominent issue came on third down. Packers allowed more than half to be converted as the Saints went 8-15. However, many players stepped up for the Packers defense on Sunday.
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Blake Martinez racked up 12 solo tackles and 15 total on the day. Flying to the ball has been a frequent occurrence for Martinez throughout the season. He is second in the NFL with 46 total tackles on the season.
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Damarious Randall racked up his third interception in as many games. While the last two weeks provided tipped ball interceptions, this one was special. While dropping back into slot coverage against Brandon Coleman, Randall read the seam route. He came down with a rare interception of Drew Brees in the red zone.
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Davon House would follow-up Randall’s impressive pick with one of his own on the Saint’s following drive. Brees pushed the ball up the sideline as House displayed textbook coverage on Michael Thomas. House made an athletic play on the ball to backhand the interception. Packers fans will look to see more from the defense with Aaron Rodgers recuperating from his injury.