Just one week after the Green Bay Packers imploded in the fourth quarter in Atlanta, they bounced back to win a game with an unbelievable fourth-quarter comeback in Week 3.
How the Packers Pulled Off Their Insane Comeback
The Terrible Start
The Packers offense was not very effective through three quarters, with only 201 yards entering the fourth. It is true, they were able to move the ball some and had a few possessions show promise before falling apart completely.
The game opened up well. Kenny Clark sacked Derek Carr on third and ten to force a three-and-out. Green Bay started their first possession on their own 48. After getting to fourth and two, the Packers went for a play that was too cute by half. Emanuel Wilson took the handoff and ran toward the right edge. He then suddenly stopped and turned to throw back to Jordan Love. The ball was short and Love was forced to pick up the rolling ball and try to save the play. He almost did, but he set his feet too wide and ended up slipping and missing a wide-open Dontayvion Wicks.
New Orleans took advantage of the short field and scored a touchdown. Then the Packers drove the ball back to midfield before stalling out again. After the teams exchanged punts, the Packers were lining up to punt again. This time Rashid Shaheed caught the punt and returned it 76 yards to give the New Orleans Saints a 14-0 lead.
The Packers then drove out to midfield again before punting the ball back yet again. The Saints ran a four-and-a-half-minute drive that ended with a field goal. The halftime score was 17-0.
The Adjustments and Trials
The second half did not start off well. After time to think and regroup, the Packers gave away the ball almost immediately. After a few poor plays and a false start, the Packers found themselves with a third and 14. Jordan Love tried to get the ball to an open Romeo Doubs, but overthrew the ball. Lonnie Johnson, Jr. was in position deep and picked off the ball. Love’s first interception of the year made the game feel out of reach.
The Saints had a chance to really put the game away, but the defense buckled down. They managed a first down near midfield, but that was about it. On third and nine, Rashan Gary sacked Carr. This was Carr’s last play of the game as he left with a shoulder injury.
The third quarter ended with the Packers driving deep into the Saints end. Luke Musgrave and Patrick Taylor got open and helped move the chains. Love even added a scramble for a few yards. The final seconds ticked off the clock in the quarter with the Packers sitting fourth and two at the Saints’ 16-yard line.
The Packers Incredible Fourth Quarter Comeback
The fourth quarter had an inauspicious start as the Packers failed to convert the fourth down. Taylor stopped on a short hitch, but Love seemed to think he would push upfield on the soft coverage. Yet, the defense stepped up again. The Saints tried bringing in an extra tackle to run and even ran an end around with the speedy Shaheed. Jameis Winston threw a pass over the middle, but the Packers sniffed it out in time to force the three and out.
Back-to-back throws quickly moved the Packers into field goal range. The offense slowed again but took the points this time and stopped the shutout. New Orleans got back to work. Michael Thomas and Taysom Hill converted consecutive first downs for the Saints, but then Gary imposed his will again. A long sack of Winston slowed New Orleans enough to force another punt.
The Packers finally turned their luck around and truly began their comeback. Love pushed the ball deep twice and the Saints committed consecutive defensive pass interference plays. This set the Packers up first and ten at the Saints’ 13-yard line. After a continuing issue in dropped passes and difficulty making that final play, the Packers found themselves fourth and goal at the one-yard line. Jordan Love kept the ball on the read option and made a quick cut to reach the end zone. Then the Packers made the gutsiest call of the game. At 17-9, the Packers went for two. Love extended the play a little and then found Samori Toure for the completion and a 17-11 game.
After another three-and-out that included a Saints’ false start penalty, the Packers got the ball back on their own 20-yard line. No penalty help needed this time. Love went 3/6 for 54 yards passing and added a little tip-toe art for a 24-yard gain. The drive ended with a fade to the right back of the end zone and a great catch by Doubs. With the extra point, the Packers now led 18-17.
The Saints kept up the fight and Winston pushed the Saints right down the field. There was some questionable time management, but the Saints ended up at the Green Bay 28-yard line. Blake Grupe set up for a game-winning field goal. The kick from the left hash pushed all the way across and missed wide right.
Key Players From the Game
Rashan Gary was essential to the Packers comeback and imposed his will. He ended with three sacks and two ended up being drive-killers. The Packers played a rather soft game, but Rudy Ford actually found his way to make a few plays. Packers defensive back depth was sorely tested as Jaire Alexander and Eric Stokes were out to start the game and then Carrington Valentine went out during the game. Kenny Clark and the rest of the defensive line played well again. Linebackers end up making tackles, but there was no point in this game where it appeared either Quay Walker or De’Vondre Campbell made that sort of plays that set the tempo or momentum of the game.
The defense actually only gave up 10 points in this game and the one touchdown was on the short field from the turnover on downs.
Love struggled early. There were problems with dropped passes, but his deep ball throws were mostly off. A.J. Dillon continues to struggle in the lead role. Patrick Taylor ended up looking more effective in the rushing and passing game. Jayden Reed had a fantastic play that set up the last drive, but he dropped several catchable balls throughout the game. Luke Musgrave had a good number of receptions, but has not found a way to turn those into runs after the catch yet.
Main Photo: Dan Powers – USA Today Sports