Saints Beat Packers in Brett Hundley's 1st Start After Aaron Rodgers' Injury

Tyler ConwayFeatured ColumnistOctober 22, 2017

Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Hundley (7) tries to run from New Orleans Saints defense during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
Jeffrey Phelps/Associated Press

If one game is any indication, life without Aaron Rodgers is going to be tough for the Green Bay Packers.

Drew Brees threw for 331 yards and the New Orleans Saints defense ruined Brett Hundley's first start on the way to a 26-17 victory over the Packers on Sunday.  

The Packers finished with just 260 total yards of offense, 131 of which were from Aaron Jones on the ground. Hundley struggled throughout the contest and never completed a pass of 15 or more yards. He threw for 87 yards on 12-of-25 passing with a pick in the fourth quarter and a fumbling (though it was recovered by Green Bay).

The Packers offense looked understandably out of sorts without Aaron Rodgers, who was placed on injured reserve after suffering a broken collarbone. Rodgers must miss at least eight weeks under NFL rules. He might be available to return by the end of the season, per ESPN.com's Adam Schefter. 

Aside from a pair of first-quarter picks deep inside Packers territory, the Saints offense looked at the top of its game. Brees bounced back from his slow start to complete 27 of his 38 passes for 331 yards and a touchdown, adding a one-yard rushing score that put the game away in the fourth.

Ted Ginn Jr. led all players with a strong seven-catch, 141-yard performance. He and Brees connected all seven times the ball was thrown his direction. It was the veteran's first 100-yard receiving game in nearly 11 months.

The running back tandem of Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara looked solid for the second straight game post-Adrian Peterson. Each totaled over 100 yards. Ingram went for 105 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries, while Kamara hauled in five passes for 50 yards and added 57 on the ground.

The Saints held possession for nearly 37 minutes and look like a much more well-rounded team than in recent seasons. They have given up 20 or fewer points in three of their last four games. The lone exception was last week's 52-38 win over the Detroit Lions, which saw the defense score three touchdowns.

"Everybody's going to say, 'Oh, look what we've done the last 3 weeks,'" Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro told reporters coming into this week. "But like I've said, I've been through 50 games of not good. Until we start stacking a year or two, that's when the culture's actually changed.

"We're a young defense, so every game we win, every time we play good on defense, I think that helps us get better. But it's still only 3 weeks. Good teams, good defenses do it for years until people think, Oh they're a defensive team. That's just what they do. Nobody believes that right now. They just think we're hot."

New Orleans' heavy investment in young defensive talent has paid big dividends and is the key to its four-game winning streak. The Saints now hold a half-game lead in the NFC South temporarily, with the Atlanta Falcons playing later Sunday with a chance to move to 4-2 as well.

The Packers are now 4-3 and a full game behind the Minnesota Vikings for first place in the NFC North. They'll have a bye week before playing the Detroit Lions on Nov. 6. 

The Saints host the Chicago Bears next Sunday. 


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