NEW ORLEANS, LA (WAFB) - The New Orleans Saints entered Sunday night's game against Green Bay as the favorite by less than a field goal, but Drew Brees and company proved that number wrong, picking apart the Packers 44-23 Sunday night in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
There's really no other way to say it. The Saints (3-4) were just a different team at home and in prime time, outscoring the Packers (5-3) 28-7 in the second half and sending a statement to the rest of the league in the process.
"I believe we did," said wide receiver Brandin Cooks. "I feel like we showed the world that we've got a special team and when we click on all cylinders, it's dangerous."
Cooks was the favored target of Brees in the game. The rookie finished with six catches for 94 yards, including a 50-yard touchdown in the third quarter. Tight end Jimmy Graham, who saw more playing time this week after limited minutes against Detroit following his shoulder injury, caught five passes for 59 yards and a touchdown.
"I'd like to say that we finally played a great team win," said defensive end Cameron Jordan. "Defense was out there rolling. Secondary was out there holding it down. Offense, of course, is as potent as they've been."
The Saints defense gave up more than 400 yards passing to the Packers, but intercepted Aaron Rodgers twice, one of those inside the 10-yard line, and recorded four sacks in the game. The Packers running game was held in check. Green Bay only had a total of 89 yards. Former Dutchtown running back Eddie Lacy had 59 of those yards. However, he finished with 123 yards receiving, including a 67-yard reception.
"I think that we hit some down the field throws," said head coach Sean Payton. "I thought the running game gave us those opportunities and some of those run looks."
The Saints rushed for a total of 193 yards, most of them by Mark Ingram. He ran for 172 yards on 24 carries. He scored the team's final touchdown on a 21-yard run.
"There's three types of people or three types of teams in this world," said quarterback Drew Brees. "There's those that make it happen. There's those that watch it happen. And, there's those that wake up one day and say, 'What the heck happened?' I feel like all this year, we've been waking up and saying, 'What the heck happened?' It's about time we made it happen. We made it happen tonight."
Brees completed 27 of his 32 pass attempts for 311 yards and three touchdowns. He did not throw any interceptions. He connected with nine different receivers in the game. He also ran the ball once for six yards.
Sunday night's win made it 11 in a row at home for the Saints dating back to the 2013 season. And now, Thursday night's game at the Carolina Panthers (3-4-1) couldn't be any bigger, with a chance to take the lead in the NFC South on the line.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:25 p.m.