The Green Bay Packers gave up a punt return touchdown and eventually fell behind 17-0 through three quarters against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, but Jordan Love’s dramatics and an inspired effort from the Packers defense combined to create a memorable final 15 minutes in which Love led three straight scoring drives and the Packers escaped with an 18-17 victory at Lambeau Field.
The Packers are now 2-1 after blowing a 12-point lead last week in Atlanta and coming from behind to stun the Saints on Sunday.
Here’s the good, the bad and the ugly from the Packers’ 18-17 win over the Saints in Week 3:
The comeback: Down 17 points. Haven’t scored. Coming off last week’s meltdown in the fourth quarter. Facing one of the NFL’s best defenses. No Aaron Jones. No Christian Watson. No David Bakhtiari. No Elgton Jenkins. Eventually, no De’Vondre Campbell. And still, Jordan Love and the Packers defense found a way to get it done with 18 consecutive points after falling behind 17-0. Love led three straight scoring drives, including back-to-back 80-yard marches, and the defense didn’t give up a single point in the second half. The end result was the biggest Packers comeback since Week 1 of 2018 and an incredible win in Love’s first career start at Lambeau Field.
OLB Rashan Gary: In his third game back from injury, Gary delivered his first career three-sack game. Two of his sacks ended drives on third down. One created the injury that forced Derek Carr out of the game. Another led to a Saints punt. Even on a snap count, he’s been dominant. And Gary is looking closer and closer to being a full-time player. Also: the Packers need to pay him. Soon.
Giving up punt return touchdown: A poor punt and poor punt coverage led to a 76-yard punt return touchdown to Rashid Shaheed. The score gave the Saints a 14-0 lead in the first half and sucked the life out of Lambeau Field. First-year punter Daniel Whelan didn’t hit a good ball, and a lack of hang time didn’t allow the coverage players — and especially gunners Corey Ballentine and Jonathan Owens — time to get into position. The result was a huge gap in the coverage and an easy return for Shaheed, who was barely touched.
The first three quarters: The Packers had two failed fourth down plays, committed penalties on six consecutive drives to start the game, and allowed a touchdown pass to Jimmy Graham and a punt return touchdown en route to falling behing 17-0 through three quarters. Jordan Love threw a pick, slipped before misfiring on one fourth down and wasn’t on the same page with Patrick Taylor on another. Combine the fourth quarter in Atlanta with the first three quarters on Sunday and it’s hard to imagine how four consecutive quarters of football could have gone any worse. But the failures of the first three quarters Sunday add to the value of what transpired in the fourth quarter. No matter how bad it got, the Packers stuck together and found a way.