Monday, October 23, 2017

Saints Go All Out at Lambeau Field

Saints Go All Out
at Lambeau Field
By Eric Goska

The New Orleans Saints unleashed the full monty while registering a rare offensive triple in their latest sojourn to Lambeau Field.

The Green Bay Packers, meanwhile, did little to dissuade these transgressions as they employed a defense that too often resembled the gang from Monty Python.

Drew Brees and the Saints gobbled up a season-high in yards as they dispatched the Packers 26-17 Sunday. New Orleans crossed midfield on 10 of 11 possessions and earned at least one first down every time it had the ball.

Such a showing should have surprised no one. Brees and whatever cast of characters he has leaned on have posted big numbers against the Packers since he first engaged the Green and Gold as a member of the San Diego Chargers in 2003.

This latest episode was meeting No. 7 between the principals. The 485 yards Brees orchestrated was in line with the 424, 380, 416, 477, 474 and 495 of the first six encounters.

Two first-quarter interceptions by the Packers merely delayed the inevitable. The Saints marched onto Green Bay’s side of the field on every possession save one, and running back Mark Ingram Jr. crossed midfield with two minutes remaining to allow Brees to close out the game with three kneel-downs in Packers’ territory.

That’s one way to nail down a victory.

Damarious Randall and Davon House came up with the interceptions. Neither turnover was turned into points by the home team, and neither did little to dent Brees’ impressive run against Green Bay. The 17-year veteran continues to own the highest passer rating against the Packers (110.4) based on a minimum of 100 attempts.

On the surface, then, it was just another productive day for Brees. All the yards and points represented just one more undressing from a field general who knows how to embarrass the opposition.

But until Sunday, Brees and the Saints had never dropped the full monty on Green Bay; that is, amassing 100 or more yards in each of four quarters. They had come close, but had always fallen short during one or more of these 15-minute segments.

Not this time. New Orleans piled up 122, 103, 143 and 117 yards in quarters one through four. First down production (5, 5, 6, and 9) suggested the team got stronger as the game grew longer.

The Saints outgained the Packers in every quarter but the second. They dominated the fourth getting 117 yards to Green Bay’s 10.

New Orleans ran 44 plays beyond the 50. The Packers ran 11.

Yes, Green Bay’s lack of offense (260 yards) hindered its defense. So, too, did its woeful lack of possession time (23 minutes, four seconds).

But the Saints did a lot of taking what they wanted when they wanted. New Orleans converted 8 of 15 third downs to keep their party going.

In the end, the Saints’ output was not so far out of the realm of normal. Teams have hit or surpassed 400 yards 41 times in the regular-season against Green Bay since Dom Capers become defensive coordinator in 2009.

Instead, it was the team’s consistency – 100 or more yards in each of four quarters – that was noteworthy. The Saints became only the 10th team to accomplish this feat at the expense of the Packers since 1952.

Green Bay’s record in those games is 3-7.

The Packers are not alone in this regard. Others have suffered this fate. Brees and the Saints applied the full monty to the Bengals (2006), Lions (2009), Panthers (2012), Cowboys (2013), Giants (2015), and Jaguars (2015), and beat all but Cincinnati.

This was the first time, however, that the Saints and Brees went 4 x 100 on the road.

New Orleans also produced a notable triple as well. It had a 100-yard rusher (Ingram; 105 yards), a 100-yard receiver (Ted Ginn Jr.; 141) and a 300-yard passer (Brees; 331).

This was only the 14th time a Packers opponent has come up with such a triple in the regular-season since 1921. Half of those occurrences have taken place since 2009 with Peyton Manning (Broncos) and Kirk Cousins (Redskins) leading the charge in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

The Packers’ record is 6-8 when dealing with triplets.

So, how has the team fared when allowing both a triple and a full monty in the same game? The count is 0-3 with losses coming against the Bears (61-7) in 1980, the Texans (24-21) in 2008, and now the Saints.

The Full Monty
Since 1952, games in which Packers’ opponents gained 100-plus yards in each of four quarters.

Date                   Opponent     Yards by Quarter       Result
Oct. 22, 2017     Saints            122-103-143-117        GB lost 17-26
Oct. 18, 2015     Chargers       111-140-143-154        GB won 27-20
Oct. 16, 2011     Rams             117-105-102-100        GB won 24-3
Dec. 7, 2008       Texans          145-139-107-158        GB lost 21-24
Nov. 29, 2004    Rams             114-111-106-121        GB won 45-14
Nov. 22, 1984    Lions             108-188-138-105        GB lost 28-31
Dec. 7, 1980       Bears            103-151-152-188        GB lost 7-61
Nov. 12, 1978    Cowboys      111-139-160-127        GB lost 14-42
Nov. 23, 1958    49ers             141-151-137-112        GB lost 12-33
Oct. 19, 1958     Redskins       107-106-115-114        GB lost 21-37

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