In the Packers first game with Brett Hundley starting in place of injured Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay ran out of gas in the second half and fell 26-17 to the Saints.
The Packers got off to a great start in the first quarter as Aaron Jones ripped off a 46-yard TD on Green Bay’s opening drive to make it 7-0.
Davon House and Damarious Randall both intercepted Drew Brees in the opening quarter, denying New Orleans a pair of scoring opportunities.
Hundley failed to complete a pass in the first, but he ran for a 14-yard score in the second quarter and the Packers took a 14-7 lead into halftime.
But everything changed starting on the Saints’ opening drive of the third quarter. Brees led the Saints 59-yards on 7-plays capped off by a 22-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Coleman. Kenny Clark blocked the extra point to maintain a 14-13 Green Bay lead.
A pair of Wil Lutz field goals put New Orleans ahead 19-17, and a Brees 1-yard TD run put the game away for good with less than five minutes left in the 4th quarter.
“That was a disappointing home loss,” Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy said after game. I’m particularly disgusted with the second half. Don’t want to take any credit away from the New Orleans Saints. They played very well for all four quarters, particularly their offense. But the second half the thing turned and penalties, and just did not play to the standard of football that we have set here.”
Hundley struggled throwing the ball finishing 12/25 for 87 yards, 0 TD, and 1 INT. He added 44 yards on 3 rushes and a TD on the ground.
“I didn’t play well enough and we didn’t score enough points to win the game, and that’s all that matters,” Hundley said. “At the end of the day, every play is designed to score a touchdown, so no matter what you call it should technically score. I have to play better and we just have to execute.”
Aaron Jones led Green Bay’s offense with 17 carries for 131 yards and a touchdown.
“You always want to be able to run the ball,” Jones said. “That always makes it easier on any quarterback that you play with, so the running game is very important.”
The Packers defense allowed 19 second-half points and 485 total yards for the game. New Orleans was also 8-for-15 on third-down conversions and dominated the time of possession 36:56 to 23:04.
Blake Martinez led the defense with 15 tackles.
“It’s extremely disappointing,” Martinez said. “We had a lot of momentum going into the second half. We knew they were going to get the ball first and we needed to stop them and we obviously didn’t do that. I think that definitely hurts your momentum and it shifts the momentum, extremely. I think going throughout that second half, we just didn’t bring the energy that we needed to.”
A report from ESPN earlier in the day said Rodgers could start throwing in about 6-weeks and potentially play in 8-weeks if recovery goes according to plan. But at 4-3, Green bay needs to start winning to make that a viable option at the end of the season.
“I think obviously when 12 (Rodgers) goes out, he’s a Hall of Famer, he’s a once in a lifetime player and it sucks as an offense to lose a great quarterback like that,” Hundley said. But as a backup I’ve been learning from him for three years and all I have to say is don’t write us off. We’ve got our division games in front of us and we could still win the division and make the playoffs, and down the road if Aaron is healthy and comes back and we’re still rolling, he’ll be available. But we’ve got to just win games and keep the season rolling.”