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Oct 26, 2014 11:04 PM

Saints lead Packers 30-16 after 3rd quarter

The Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS (AP) Drew Brees hit rookie receiver Brandon Cooks and tight end Jimmy Graham for touchdowns, and the New Orleans Saints opened a 30-16 lead over the Green Bay Packers through three quarters Sunday night.

The Saints' defense also came up with an interception of Aaron Rodgers near the New Orleans goal line and a fourth-down stop of Eddie Lacy in Packers territory both of which set up touchdown drives.

Brees was 24 of 29 for 304 yards as he sought to improve the Saints to 3-0 in the Superdome this season.

His scoring pass to Cooks went for 50 yards. The drive began after Saints cornerback Corey White tipped a pass intended for Andrew Quarless and linebacker David Hawthorne caught it.

Later, Saints coach Sean Payton set up New Orleans' fourth-down stop by challenging the spot of a reception near the first down marker. Initially ruled a first down, the spot was moved back a yard, then Hawthorne and defensive tackle Tyrunn Walker stuffed Lacy's run to the right side of the line.

Green Bay was without two starting defensive backs: cornerback Sam Shields and safety Morgan Burnett. Compounding matters for Green Bay's defense was the strong running of Mark Ingram, who was carrying a heavy load in the absence of injured running backs Pierre Thomas and Khiry Robinson. Ingram had 15 carries for 108 yards, which only made Brees' play-action fakes more effective.

Neither team had trouble moving the ball in the first half, but both defenses were largely successful in mitigating the damage on the scoreboard. Each offense got in the end zone only once. Green Bay's Mason Crosby and New Orleans' Shayne Graham each kicked three field goals and there were no punts.

Rodgers was 20 for 29 for 348 yards, including a 70-yard touchdown pass to Randall Cobb on the Packers' opening series.

Brees hit Kenny Stills for 45-yard completion on New Orleans' opening drive, which ended with a 4-yard touchdown run by Cooks, tying it at 7.

Green Bay marched right back down the field thanks to New Orleans-area native Eddie Lacy, who turned a short-pass into a tackle-shedding 67-yard gain to the New Orleans 3.

However, the Saints' defense responded by stuffing Lacy on his next run, then got a break when veteran Packers linebacker Julius Peppers, inserted as a tight end, dropped a pass in the end zone. Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan then sacked Rodgers, forcing a field goal.

The Packers tried to steal an extra possession with a surprise onside kick, but the Saints' Ramon Humber got the ball first and diverted it out of bounds to give the Saints starting field position on the Green Bay 46. New Orleans drove inside the 10, only to settle for a tying field goal after Peppers' third-down sack of Brees.

Green Bay had a 16-13 lead on Crosby's 27-yard field goal with 1:51 left in the second quarter, but Brees quickly marched the Saints to the Green Bay 19 before a lack of time on the clock forced New Orleans to settle for Graham's 37-yard field goal to tie it.

New Orleans entered the game having won 13 straight night home games.


AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL


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