Fort Worth, Texas – Surprisingly, Green Bay only was able to advance to the red zone twice against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Fla.
Perhaps even more surprising, the Saints forced a turnover each time in their 38-3 manhandling of the Packers in the regular-season opener.
But the first one was the play that went the furthest toward ending the Packers, who had hopes of pulling to within one score and applying some pressure to the Saints, who'd dominated the first half.
Green Bay received the kickoff to open the second half, trailing 17-3 and needing a spark after a dreary first half. A spark is what happened on the drive, which began at the Packers 25-yard line and advanced to New Orleans' 9, aided by a couple of pass interference penalties on rookie cornerback Paulson Adebo and safety Malcolm Jenkins.
But once the Packers appeared to peer inside a cracked door, the Saints slammed it shut.
On second-and-7 from the 9-yard line, quarterback Aaron Rodgers took a shotgun snap and immediately saw pressure, straight up the middle from defensive tackle Christian Ringo and on the left (his right) from defensive end Cameron Jordan. The pursuit forced Rodgers to turn his body and flush left and as the pressure neared and the defenders made contact, Rodgers tried to flip a pass to receiver Davante Adams.
The pursuit-and-grasp affected the accuracy: The pass was slightly behind Adams, enough so that it landed right in the hands of Adebo, who was "tailpiping" Adams and returned his first NFL interception 33 yards to the Saints' 40-yard line.
New Orleans' defense, on the field for 12 snaps (including penalties), 66 yards and for five-and-a-half minutes, got off the field unscathed and didn't allow the Packers back in the red zone until Green Bay's final offensive possession. And the Saints forced and recovered a fumble on that drive, to keep the Packers out of the end zone on Sunday.
The New Orleans Saints host the Green Bay Packers in Week 1 of the 2021 NFL Season in Jacksonville, FL.