GREEN BAY – The Packers trailed the New Orleans Saints this afternoon at Lambeau Field 17-0 at halftime.
That score remained into the fourth quarter.
By the time the dust settled, the Packers somehow came away with an unpredictable, wild, shocking 18-17 win that left coach Matt LaFleur almost speechless after the game was over.
“I’ve never been a part of a win like this,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur told reporters after the game.
With 12:50 remaining in the game, Green Bay finally broke through on the scoreboard, embarking on a seven-play, 46 yard drive that stalled at the New Orleans 20. Once Anders Carlson’s 38-yard field goal went through the uprights with 11:00 left, the overwhelming feeling among the Packers faithful was “at least we didn’t get shut out.”
But the Packers had bigger plans.
A three-and-out gave Green Bay the ball back at their own 20-yard line with 8:38 left to play. That’s when quarterback Jordan Love, making his first career start at Lambeau Field, marched his team methodically 80 yards in just 1:29, culminating in a 1-yard quarterback keeper.
Confusingly to many, LaFleur elected to go for the two-point conversion, but like the entire team in the fourth quarter, the attempt was successful.
Green Bay still trailed, 17-11, but the Packers clearly had momentum on their side.
Like the week prior in reverse, another forced three-and-out gave the Packers the ball back with 5:23 left. And like they did on their previous possession, Love marched his team back down into the red zone, capitalizing on a demoralized Saints defense, scoring on a Love to Romeo Doubs 8-yard touchdown strike.
"It was a nightmare that went into a dream,” LaFleur continued.
Green Bay led, improbably, 18-17 with just under three minutes left. Driving to the Packers 28 yards line, but stopped on fourth-and-six, Saints coach Dennis Allen opted for a 46-yard field goal attempt by Blake Grupe with 1:10 remaining.
When Grupe’s kick sailed wide-right, the celebration at pro football’s oldest venue was on.
Defensively, Rashan Gary was the star, coming up with three quarterback sacks, including one early in the third quarter that knocked New Orleans starter Derek Carr out of the game.
And while Jordan Love’s accuracy (22-44) was far from perfect, when it mattered, he was at his best.
“Early in the game, we hurt ourselves more than we helped ourselves,” Love said. “Just to stay poised and stay confident in what we’re doing…was not easy, It was a total team and everybody had to step up and play and we did in all phases.“
Or, as LaFleur put it, "Those guys are going to fight for him. That whole locker room will fight for Jordan Love."