A streak that begin six years and 104 games ago against the Green Bay Packers in prime time ended against the same team on Sunday.
Veteran Saints center Jonathan Goodwin was declared inactive for the game because of a leg injury. Goodwin had started every game since the Saints’ 51-29 victory against the Packers on Nov. 24. 2008.
Along with 44 straight regular season and four playoff starts for the Saints both in his first stint with the team and the first six games of this season, Goodwin started all 48 regular-season game and eight playoff games during his three seasons with the San Francisco 49ers (2011-13).
Second-year man Tim Lelito started in Goodwin’s place. It was his first NFL start at center although he did start at guard in place of Jahri Evans season.
Cooks in the end zone
Rookie wide receiver Brandin Cooks had been used on reverse plays five times in the Saints first five game, averaging a healthy 12.8 yards per carry.
But his four-yard run in the first quarter marked the first rushing touchdown of his NFL career.
Before his 50-yard TD reception in the third quarter, Cooks’ only other touchdown this season had came on a 3-yard reception in the opener at Atlanta.
The 50-yarder also was Cooks’ longest of the season.
In college at Oregon State, Cooks had two rushing TDs, both last season against Washington State and Cal.
Both Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers continued their assault on the NFL’s career completion percentage record in the first half.
Brees was 16-of-21, putting him at 4,680-7,083 or 66.07 percent, putting him .03 ahead of current leader Chad Pennington.
Rodgers was 16-21, upping his career total to 2,099-3,184 or 65.92. That’s third on the all-time list.
Hawthorne gets one
Saints linebacker David Hawthorne’s third-quarter interception was his first in his three seasons with the team.
Hawthorne had seven in four seasons with Seattle, one of which he returned 77 yards for a touchdown in a game against Philadelphia.
Giving them one
The Saints missed the chance to get the Packers into a third-down situation whey they were flagged for having 12 men on the field.
An unidentified Saints defender failed to get to the sideline before the snap, and Rodgers’ incomplete attempt to Jordy Nelson at the Saints 2 turned into a first down for the Packers at the 13.
However, Green Bay was penalized for offensive pass interference on the next play and then took a delay of game. Backing the Packers up 15 yards resulted in the visitors settling for a Mason Crosby field goal, which would probably have been the case anyway.
Julius Peppers — tight end?
In his 13-year career Julius Peppers has been known as one of the league’s premier defensive ends, but he’s seldom, if ever lined up on the offensive side of the ball.
But he did with the Packers on Sunday, coming in as the third tight end on second down from the Saints 3-yard line in the second quarter. Rodgers’ pass appeared to be on the money, but Rafael Bush was there to knock it out of Peppers’ hands.
Packers’ officials said that was the first time Peppers has been used in that situation this season, or at least the first time he’d been targeted.
A quick check of the NFL record book shows that Peppers has never had a reception — or a carry for that matter in his 13-year career.
There was no indication if a pass has ever come his way — at least when his team had the ball.
Jimmy Graham made his first catch in the Tampa Bay game in the third quarter. Fullback Erik Lorig, a free-agent signee from the Buccaneers who missed the first six games with an ankle injury, had his first carry of the season in the third quarter. ... Healthy inactives for the Saints were wide receivers Joseph Morgan and Nick Toon, linebacker Kyle Knox and cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste. Jean-Baptiste, the team’s second-round draft choice, had appeared in the last three games and in addition to special teams was on the field for eight snaps in the Detroit games. ... In addition to Goodwin, running backs Pierre Thomas and Khiry Robinson were also out for the Saints.
…There were no punts through the first three quarters.