The New Orleans Saints may not be in Thursday night's contest against the Green Bay Packers on the strength of their defense, but punt returner Darren Sproles has certainly provided an unexpected spark to keep the Saints in the game.
With 8:55 remaining in the second quarter, Sproles—recently signed as a free agent after a stint with the San Diego Chargers—fielded a punt from Packers punter Tim Masthay and returned it 76 yards to paydirt, running by Masthay's futile tackle attempt for good measure.
Sproles may prove to be one of 2011's smarter offseason acquisitions. He is a versatile back capable of bouncing outside of offensive tackles and sprinting upfield as well as catching special teams coverage units off guard. The signing went largely unheralded, but obviously provided an instant spark to New Orleans' return game.
Though Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense have largely been in control of the game, Sproles is a reminder that games can change entirely on seemingly insignificant plays.