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John DeShazier's turning point in Saints win over Packers

Posted Oct 23, 2017

Defensive stand at end of first half very important

By no means were the New Orleans Saints sharp in the first half against Green Bay and defensively, at times they didn’t appear close to being on the same page.

The Packers ran for more than 100 yards and two touchdowns long before they took over possession for the final time in the half. And while it seemed reasonable to believe no more damage would be done by Green Bay – the possession began on its 19-yard line, with just 83 seconds left, and first-time starting quarterback Brett Hundley had done next to nothing via the pass – the Saints hadn’t been particularly stifling.

They still needed to get off the field defensively, and into the locker room at halftime, trailing 14-7 rather than 17-7 or 21-7.

Hundley completed a couple of short passes for six yards, then connected with Geronimo Allison for 14 yards to the Green Bay 39. After an incompletion on first down, his deep pass for tight end Martellus Bennett was incomplete, but it fell to the turf partly because Saints safety Vonn Bell was penalized for pass interference, a 25-yard pop that took the Packers to the Saints’ 36-yard line.

Next play, Hundley passed incomplete but, again, the Saints tripped themselves – cornerback Ken Crawley was penalized for holding and that five yards took Green Bay to the Saints’ 31-yard line with 18 seconds left.

But from there, the Saints got a favorable call – offensive pass interference on Packers tight end Richard Rodgers, which pushed Green Bay back to the 41. And then Hundley followed with another incompletion. And with just six seconds left, Green Bay turned to Mason Crosby for a 59-yard field goal attempt.

The kick was short, giving the Saints a hold and keeping Green Bay from expanding its lead and carrying momentum into halftime. From there, it was all Saints in the second half, beginning with scoring a touchdown on their first possession and outscoring the Packers 19-3 over the final 30 minutes.

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