For all the Saints’ troubles this season, Sunday night’s 44-23 win against Green Bay proved they are still winners at home, if nowhere else.
Drew Brees enjoyed a nearly-perfect passing outing, Mark Ingram celebrated a career rushing effort and on defense, the Saints dominated quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the second half, improving the franchise’s fame at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and in prime time.
The Saints are now 7-0 on Sunday Night Football with Brees, while extending their home winning streak to 20 games (including playoffs), already a franchise-best.
Even more important, the Saints improved to 3-4, avoiding a loss which likely would have eliminated their chances later this season to reach the playoffs. Green Bay is 5-3, its four-game win streak snapped.
Brees completed 27 of 32 passes for 311 yards, including a 50-yard touchdown pass to rookie Brandin Cooks, set up by the first of two Saints interceptions of Rodgers.
Rodgers entered the game with 18 TDs and just one interception.
Ingram, playing without injured running backs Khiry Robinson and Pierre Thomas, rushed for a career-high 172 yards on 24 carries.
Also, tight end Jimmy Graham caught his first TD pass since Week 4 and Cooks scored on both a receiving TD and a four-yard in the first quarter.
Not that the Saints’ path to the postseason is suddenly clear. They are still winless on the road (0-4), with Thursday night’s matchup against NFC South foe Carolina (3-4) looming.
Rodgers (418 yards, TDs, 2 INTs) did most of his work early, including a 70-yard TD pass to Reggie Cobb on Green Bay’s first possession.
Packer running back Eddie Lacy finished with 59 rushing yards and eight catches for 123 yards, but like his Packers offense, was held to minimum gains in the second half. Lacy prepped at Helen Cox High in New Orleans before playing at the University of Alabama.