No D in Saints or Packers

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:13 PM ET

GREEN BAY - From an offensive point of view, both the New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers had it rolling in Thursday's NFL kickoff as the two teams combined for 76 points and 876 yards.

The respective defensive coordinators, though, -- especially the Saints Gregg Williams -- will be bleeding from the eyes this week from watching so much video.

Aaron Rodgers and the Packers pretty much did what they wanted all game long as they moved the ball up and down the field at will.

The lone stop the Saints defence made of any significance occurred following their failed onside kick in the final minutes of the game which gave Green Bay the ball at the New Orleans 43-yard line.

The Saints forced Green Bay into a three-and-out, which got them the ball back and led to their final drive which was stopped at the one-yard line.

But that was it. For the rest of the game it was the case of poor coverage or soft coverage that allowed the Green Bay receivers a lot of room to roam in the space between the linebackers and the secondary.

They also weren't able to apply much in the way of pressure on Rodgers. On the night, he was rarely rushed.

RED ZONE FAILURES

One of the keys to the game was Green Bay's ability to put the brakes on Drew Brees and the Saints offence four times in the red zone.

In the second quarter a Saints drive stalled at the Green Bay 12-yard line and they had to settle for a field goal.

In the third quarter, on third and two at the Packers seven-yard line, Brees was sacked for a 13-yard loss and the Saints had to settle for another field goal.

The killer in the game for the Saints occurred with just over three minutes left in the third quarter when they gambled on fourth-and-one from the Packers seven after Mark Ingram was stopped for no gain on third-and-one. Instead of running, the Saints faked the run, the Packers didn't bite and while running for his life, Brees desperation pass fell incomplete.

Finally, there was the stop of Ingram at the one on the final play of the game.

It all added up to a loss for New Orleans.

"I think the biggest stat for us that is disappointing is our red-zone efficiency," Brees said after the game. "We were 1-of-5, scoring touchdowns only one out of five times in the red zone. That's not going to win you a lot of games, especially on the road in this type of environment against this team."

Still, Brees and the Saints rolled up 477 total yards and that didn't go down well with Packers veteran corner Charles Woodson.

"We made the plays we needed to win," he said. "We made a stance late in the game with a chance for them to tie it and getting off the field.

"But we gave up way too many points and way too many missed tackles and way too many yards. I'm happy with the win, no doubt about it, but that's not the way we like to perform."

REGGIE WHO?

The Saints to their credit gave up on Reggie Bush and moved him along to the Miami Dolphins in the off-season. All in all, Bush never lived up to his hype and was not the breakaway, game-changing threat that he was when playing for USC.

To replace Bush, to acquire a playmaker, the Saints signed free agent mini-back Darren Sproles from the San Diego Chargers.

In one game Sproles was everything that Bush was not.

In the second quarter he returned one punt 72 yards for a touchdown and pretty much every time he touched the ball he seemed to be on the verge of repeating that play.

On the night, he returned two punts for a total of 92 yards, two kickoffs for a combined 76 yards, ran twice for seven yards and caught seven passes for 75 yards. That's a combined 250 total yards of offence.

He also was the player in the end zone that Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk was called for pass interference on the game's penultimate play, which gave the Saints one final play in their attempt to tie it.

"He's electric," Saints head coach Sean Payton said. "He changed it for us. He gave us some momentum with the punt return. He is one of those guys who makes great decisions in space. Even in the two-minute drill he catches the ball and goes out of bounds real quick. He is just very alert and aware and very explosive."

More games like that and even Kim Kardashian will take notice.

NICE START

Randall Cobb couldn't have had a better outcome than if he had scripted the game himself.

The Green Bay Packers made Cobb, a wide receiver/punt and kickoff returner from Kentucky, their second-round pick in this year's draft, in the hope that he could supply some dazzle to their return team.

In Thursday's NFL opener and his first regular-season game, Cobb brought the dazzle and added some razzle as he returned a kickoff 108 yards for a touchdown and also caught two passes for 35 yards, including one that went 32 yards for a touchdown.

Just what the Packers need, another offensive threat.

The kickoff return was unbelievable. At around his own 30-yard line, he was hit by a Saints tackler but spun and somehow kept his balance and broke free down the left sideline.

After the game, Cobb said he had some powerful help on his side.

"I was just trusting in God," he said when asked why he decided to run it out from eight yards deep. "He told me to bring it out. I'm not supposed to bring that out, I'm not. Some things are logical and some things are just the power of God and that definitely was the power of God telling me to bring that out.

"He gave me great teammates to help me block downfield and we just made it happen."

All in all, a nice way to start a career.


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