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Lost amidst the tough loss Thursday night was news that Marques Colston reportedly suffered a shoulder injury in the loss. Head coach Sean Payton did not reveal the extent of it but news reports are now indicating it could be moderately serious. According to a tweet from Jay Glazer, Colston suffered a broken collarbone and will miss approximately four weeks. We're still waiting on further confirmation of the injury and the timeline, but if it is in fact a broken collarbone, four weeks might be on the optimistic side.
The Saints receiving corps has taken some serious hits lately with Colston's injury following a nagging groin innjury to Lance Moore. After not playing Thursday night, it sounds like Moore is likely questionable for the Saints week two contest against the Chicago Bears.
Saints QB Drew Brees might be losing weapons a little too quickly, but he did excellent work spreading the wealth Thursday night as he completed passes to six players, with five of those players having 50 or more yards. It is tough to lose two of your top receiving options, but until Brees proves otherwise, fantasy owners should not get too concerned.
For WRs Devery Henderson and Robert Meachem and TE Jimmy Graham this means more looks in the short term. They need to prove they can consistently come down with the ball, but Meachem and Henderson are both looking like excellent flex options until Moore and Colston get back. Graham was developing into a starting option prior to the opener and these receiver injuries make it that much more reasonable to start him for the foreseeable future.
The Packers survived the Saints in Green Bay on Thursday night, and if America needed any reminder about why pro football is king, there was no better reminder than the instant classic we got from Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees.
We learned plenty of things on Thursday night starting with QB Aaron Rodgers being deserving of all the offseason hype he received. SB Nation's Acme Packing Company handed out three things they learned from the Packers in Thursday night's game. Take a look at what they said about the things they learned and here's my take:
1. Jermichael Finley and Randall Cobb are going to be major weapons this year, while Jordy Nelson has improved. Finley had three catches for 53 yards while Cobb added two touchdowns, one through the air and one on a kickoff return. Finley was injured last year and Cobb's a rookie so this is an added offensive explosion for the Packers. And let's not forget Nelson who had six catches for 77 yards and a touchdown. Who needs Greg Jennings? (Actually, the Packers did as he was their leading receiver on Thursday night)
2. The consequence of No. 1 is that James Jones is now offensive option No. 6 in the passing game, or so it seems. Without Finley and Cobb last year, Jones was a solid option catching 50 balls for 679 yards. This year his role may be lower. He caught one ball for one yard on Thursday night. It's not a bad offense if James Jones is your sixth option in the passing game.
3. We can have an elite YPC with two slightly above average, but not great running backs. RB James Starks and RB Ryan Grant shared the load last night combining for 97 yards rushing on 22 carries. The Packers offense is centered on the pass so as long as they can get solid contributions like that in the running game, they're going to be elite.
The Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints turned in a potential Game of the Year candidate on Thursday night as the host team held on for a 42-34 victory at Lambeau Field in the NFL's season-opening contest. In case anyone was unable to catch the entire game, the NFL was able to squeeze a majority of the big plays into the highlight video embedded below.
The most impressive play, perhaps, happened when Packers rookie Randall Cobb tied an NFL record with his 108-yard kickoff return that eventually resulted in a touchdown. It was Cobb's second touchdown of the night -- a night that put the receiver/returner out of Kentucky on the map, according to SB Nation's Brian Floyd -- and set up a memorable back-and-forth to end the game.
The Saints had one final chance to tie the game following an impressive two-minute drill from Drew Brees and Co., but the Packers were able to make a stand at the goal line to escape with a 'W' in their first game since winning the Super Bowl.
Watching the highlights over again, the morning after, that game is going to be tough to match -- at least in terms of big plays -- this season. I'll gladly tune in on Sunday to see if any other game is able to come close, however.
The Packers escaped the Saints in Thursday night's season opener, 42-34, in what will go down as one of the most exciting games of the year.
World, meet Randall Cobb. Mr. Cobb, meet the world. On Thursday night, Cobb, the first player born in the 1990s to step foot on an NFL field, made his debut for the Green Bay Packers, and left quite an impression on those who watched him go to work. What we saw was a versatile playmaker with game-breaking ability who injected a shot in the arm to a Green Bay team that didn't necessarily need it.
Cobb capped a strong first quarter by the Packers, finding the end zone on a 32-yard pass from Aaron Rodgers. The touchdown was the first of Cobbs career and the third of Rodgers' day, giving Green Bay an early 21-7 lead. But Cobb wasn't done; he saved his best for the second half.
In a "no, no, no, no, OH HELL YES" moment, Cobb fielded a third-quarter kickoff eight yards deep in his own end zone and bolted. A quick juke, more than a few missed tackles and the young man from Kentucky was free, somehow emerging from a mass of bodies with nothing but daylight in front of him. We're just one game into the season and we may have already found the best kick-return of the year.
Related: Video of Cobb's kick-return touchdown.
Cobb finished the game with two catches for 35 yards and a touchdown in addition to his twisting, turning score on the return. The second-rounder from Kentucky wasn't targeted often in the passing game, but played a pivotal role in the Packers 42-34 win over the Saints.
And with Cobb in the mix, the Super Bowl champions have yet another weapon, adding another dimension to an already strong team.
Heading into Thursday night's 2011 NFL season-opener, we all expected Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees to go toe-to-toe, picking up right where they left off last season. But through the first quarter, only one quarterback held up their end of the bargain as Rodgers carved up the New Orleans secondary en route to a 21-7 lead. It looked as though the rout was one.
By halftime, the Packers held an 11-point lead, 28-17, and seemed to be in control. But as he's done so often, Brees answered right back, nearly bringing the Saints all the way back for a chance to tie the game. He made throws that were jaw-dropping, as did Rodgers, and worked with a calm, cool precision while making it look effortless.
Brees finished the game with an arguably better line, completing 32 of 49 passes for 419 yards and three touchdowns, an average of 8.6 yards per completion. But Rodgers was sound and efficient, missing only eight times, 27-35, while throwing for 312 yards and three touchdowns. Neither threw an interception, nor did they turn the ball over. It was clinical passing.
Rodgers walked away with the belt again as his Packers hung on for a 42-34 win after a goalline stuff with no time on the clock put an end to a season-opening thriller at Lambeau. But both quarterbacks demonstrated why they're the best in the business at what they do on Thursday night, and we were all better for it.
With 1:08 to go and an eight-point deficit to make-up, Drew Brees led his New Orleans Saints to the line for one final drive. It began on the 20-yard-line, with 80 yards to go for a chance to tie after a controversial touchback. But if we've learned anything from watching Brees work in the past, it's that 80 yards can be eaten up quickly as he carves a defense up with precision.
And that's exactly what Brees did, displaying an impressive variety of throws as he calmly marched the Saints out of their own territory and towards the end zone, setting up an untimed down for a shot at the tie.
If you missed it, here's the video of the final drive.
The throw Brees made to Marques Colston to put the Saints deep in Green Bay territory can only be described as sublime. And yet, with the ball at the one-yard-line after a pass interference call in the end zone, Sean Payton brought in the jumbo set and called for a run.
Rookie running back Mark Ingram went straight up the gut, only to be stuffed by a swarming defense just short of the goalline. Game over. No chance to try a two-point conversion, no overtime, just a sudden, almost unexpected, ending. And we all loved every minute of it.
The NFL made its return on Thursday night, and it was everything we could have hoped for and more. Both the Packers and Saints put on a show with their high-powered offenses, setting up the wild finish at the goalline. It was a reminder of why we all love the NFL and craved an end to an offseason lockout that seemed as though it would drag on forever.
All that stood between New Orleans and a chance at overtime was a single yard, but that was more than Green Bay was willing to give. The Green Bay Packers' defense stuffed Saints' rookie running back Mark Ingram at the one-yard line as time expired to hold on to a thrilling 42-34 win in the opening game of the NFL season.
On a night in which the Packers relived their championship season in front of 70,000 racous fans at Lambeau Field, Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers was spectacular once again. The 27-year-old superstar threw for 312 yards on 27-of-35 attempts, while tossing three first-quarter touchdowns.
Rookie wide receiver Randall Cobb added to the madness with a pair of touchdowns, including a game-breaking, Madden-esque 108-yard kickoff return that put the Packers back up on top midway through the third quarter.
Nonetheless, New Orleans' own Super Bowl MVP, Drew Brees, would not to be overshadowed. The 32-year-old three-time All Pro stormed back with two late touchdown passes of his own, capping things off with a 5-yard toss to Jimmy Graham to narrow the deficit to a one-score game before falling just short. Brees finished with 32-of-49 for 419 yards and three touchdowns in the losing effort.
Remember when everyone was whining about the NFL kick return rule change? Well, those people aren't exactly wrong, but Packers' rookie Randall Cobb just proved that return specialists are still relevant, running back a kickoff for a 108-yard touchdown, tying Ellis Hobbs' NFL record.
Cobb's return is infinitely more impressive than Hobbs' (coincidence that they have such similar names? No, I say) for two reasons: obviously, the rule change that has kickoffs coming form the 35 yard line instead of the 30, and the fact the he was pretty much freaking tackled.
At one point, in fact, Cobb was pretty much tackled. He was spun down to the ground, but John Kuhn caught him, held him up, and pushed him along. Once that happened, Cobb was off to the races, showcasing the speed that made him such a dangerous receiver last year at Kentucky.
Kickoffs should be fewer and farther between this season, but that doesn't mean their potential for spectacular plays has dipped significantly. Anytime someone can bring it out of the endzone — which will happen with speedsters like Cobb and Darren Sproles, who has a punt return TD in this game — they can still bring it to the house.
Aaron Rodgers has turned believers into idol worshippers immediately after kickoff with two touchdowns in the first few minutes. He finished the half 18-24 with 224 yards and three touchdowns.
Near the end of the half, Ryan Grant, the Packers' starting running back, gave way to James Starks, the sophomore who filled in for Grant after he succumbed to a knee injury last year. Starks showed why no one trusts Grant this year, with a breathtaking 17-yard touchdown run to extend the Pack's halftime lead to 11 points.
For the Saints, Darren Sproles had an incredible, 72-yard punt return and Drew Brees has looked fantastic, to his credit, just not as good as Rodgers. In fact, the Saints look perfectly adequate, but the Packers are on a completely different level.
If possible, they look even better than the team that won a Super Bowl last year, with the re-addition of Jermichael Finley to the offense. Finley has three catches for 53 yards and has looked borderline unstoppable while matched up with safety Roman Harper.
The second half should bring more of the same — lots of offense, little defense to speak of — and the entire football-loving public should rejoice that its love has come back, and it is glorious.
Sproles didn't have to break many tackles as his blocking was phenomenal, as was the case on many Reggie Bush returns the past few years that he didn't take to the house, but the last 40 yards of the return were all speed.
With one man to beat, the punter, Tim Masthay, in perfect position to angle Sproles to the sideline, the Kansas State product simply ran right past him. Masthay might as well have been standing still the way Sproles blew by him.
Now, the Saints are down just four points, making this game not only competitive, but also anyone's to win. With the way these offenses, and now special teams, are performing, it seems like no one will be assured of victory until they breach 50 points or so.
Before anyone could blink in the NFL's first game of the season, the Packers had leapt out to a 14-0 lead after a tremendous opening drive resulting in a Greg Jennings touchdown, a Marques Colston fumble, and an equally impressive though shorter second drive with a Jordy Nelson touchdown grab.
Drew Brees came right back with a touchdown drive of his own, after a long catch and run by Darren Sproles and a phenomenal touchdown reception by Robert Meachem, who had dropped an easy screen pass earlier in the drive, for 32 yards.
The Saints defense might as well have just not showed up on Thursday night, though. Jermichael Finley has torched Roman Harper over the middle. Then Randall Cobb, the rookie return man from Kentucky, took a seemingly innocuous nine-yard pass over the middle to the house for a 31-yard touchdown.
Just like that, it was 21-7 Packers, and everyone watching the game, excluding Packers fans, is now sufficiently terrified. Getting Finley back — you'll remember he missed the whole playoff, Super Bowl thing with a knee injury — has opened things up even more, and Aaron Rodgers looks like he's playing Madden on rookie difficulty. His stats after Q1: 14-15, 188 yards, 3 TDs.
His receivers are equally enjoying the wealth: Jennings, Nelson, Finley, Cobb and Donald Driver all have multiple receptions for at least 24 yards.
In other words, this has all the makings of a phenomenally entertaining opening game.... excluding Saints fans.
There was so much talk about the Green Bay Packers and QB Aaron Rodgers before the season. After the 2011 Super Bowl trophy and Rodgers' MVP in that game, they received plenty of attention leading up to this season. The Packers were a favorite to repeat their Super Bowl and Rodgers was a popular league MVP prediction.
Somehow, he's more than surpassed all that hype through one quarter against the New Orleans Saints.
Through the first quarter of the 2011 NFL season, Rodgers is on pace for 12 touchdowns through the air this game. He won't keep that pace up but his precision and ability to spread out the field and throw so accurately is incredibly impressive.
Rodgers' numbers through one quarter: 14-of-15 passes completed, 188 yards and three touchdowns.
If you don't follow football, that's would be a very good game, let alone just one quarter.
A lot of people had QB Aaron Rodgers as an MVP candidate entering the 2011 NFL season and through half of one quarter in Green Bay, it's easy to see why. Rodgers has lead the Packers to a 14-0 lead over the New Orleans Saints.
But it's how Rodgers' is doing it that's so impressive: 9-of-10 passes completed, 105 yards and two touchdowns. Packers lead 14-0.
The first game of the season, with everyone watching, and Rodgers is killing it. He was the 2011 Super Bowl MVP so it's not like this is a surprise to anyone but Rodgers is looking like he's earned those early MVP predictions.
In addition to Rodgers, the Packers as a team are looking like they're worthy of the preseason hype. NFL previews across the web were littered with predicting the Packers repeat. SB Nation's first power rankings had Green Bay No. 1.
We'll see how QB Drew Brees responds with the Saints. He's as accomplished as Rodgers and some might even say better than Rodgers. The Packers look great early but it's far from over, especially with Brees.
After an early sack, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers marched down the field on the first drive of the 2011 season, resulting in the first touchdown on the 2011 season, courtesy of the Rodgers to Greg Jennings connection.
More impressive was the way Rodgers brought the team down the field. He was 5-5 on the drive including a beautiful middle-deep ball to Jordy Nelson, and a clutch third down conversion to Donald Driver after being sacked by Jonathan Casillas.
For fantasy owners of the Saints D or Saints offensive players, it hasn't been the greatest of first quarters. On the second play from scrimmage for the Saints offense, Marques Colston coughed the ball up and the Packers recovered. Negative two points for you, sirs.
For continued updates on the NFL's opening night, keep it here on this storystream. For GameThreads and fan perspective, visit SB Nation's Saints blog, Canal Street Chronicles, and our Packers' blog, Acme Packing Company.
As kickoff draws nigh, the New Orleans Saints and the Green Bay Packers have released their inactives for the NFL's season opener, including starters WR Lance Moore for the Saints and DE Mike Neal for the Packers.
The full list of inactives:
According to their official website, Sherrod, the Packers' first-round draft pick, is the Packers' lone backup at left tackle and left guard. I'm sure the other backup linemen could shift over in a pinch, but still, that's not an ideal situation for the Pack.
Other than the speedy Moore, who we already knew was going to be out, the Saints go into the season unscathed. None of the players listed among their inactives are on the team's depth chart, so they're not missing much. A team can only keep so many players active, so the players on this list are likely the worst of the best.
The Packers and Saints open the NFL season on Thursday Night Football in Green Bay, but can the Packers cover the spread? The experts at Odds Shark take a closer look.
All content courtesy of OddsShark.com.
The New Orleans Saints will travel to Lambeau Field on Thursday Night Football to kick off the 2011 NFL season against the Green Bay Packers. The 2010 and 2011 Super Bowl champs have clearly been successful teams in recent years, particularly on offense.
The Saints, in particular, have had one of the best passing attacks in the NFL with the arrival of QB Drew Brees in New Orleans. Last year, they ranked third in passing yards but 28th in rushing yards. It's on that note that SB Nation's Canal Street Chronicles argues that one of the keys to the game for New Orleans is establishing a balanced offense.
On the running game:
The Saints need to be strong in running, able to convert that third-and-short on the ground so the Packers can't just jam the TEs and WRs and disrupt that quick pass to stop a drive, and late in the game if the Saints need a grind-it-out, clock-consuming drive.
On the passing game:
On the other hand, the Saints also need to have the passing game viable at the mid- and long-range levels to bail them out in case they get into the occasional second- or third- and long, for simple variety of attack, and to help open up the running game.
The Packers may not have a problem dialing up big offensive plays to match the Saints so controlling the ball and effectively utilizing the running game will be a key for them.
Hop on over to SB Nation's Canal Street Chronicles for a full list of the keys to the game.
The New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers will kick off the NFL's Week 1 schedule on Thursday Night Football in a matchup that features the last two Super Bowl champions. The Packers are four point favorites at home and injuries shouldn't be a problem as both teams enter the game fairly healthy.
The Saints will be without K Garrett Hartley and WR Lance Moore. The loss of Moore is notable and, for your fantasy football players, could mean a bigger game for TE Jimmy Graham. The Packers have a couple of notable players listed as probable including TE Jermichael Finley and T Chad Clifton. Both players are expected to play.
Here's the entire injury report for Thursday night's game:
Out: K Garrett Harley (hip), WR Lance Moore (groin)
Questionable: WR Adrian Arrington (knee)
DT Tom Johnson (calf)
Questionable: DE Mike Neal (knee)
Probable: T Chad Clifton (knee), TE Ryan Taylor (hip), TE Jermichael Finley (ankle)
The Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints, the league's last two Super Bowl winners, kick off the 2011 regular season on Thursday night at Lambeau Field.
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