For the first time all season the Saints looked like the Saints again.
Not for two and half quarters. Not in spurts. But for the full game.
Drew Brees was the real Drew Brees for the first time in 2012. He was accurate. He was confident. He was productive. He shredded the number-one ranked pass defense in the NFL for 446 yards and three touchdowns.
Aaron Rodgers may not have been touched. But at least the embattled Saints defense forced two turnovers.
They even got a few breaks.
A personal foul penalty gave them a fresh set of downs inside the three-yard line.
Malcolm Jenkins' facemask penalty knocked Rodgers out of the game for a play. The next play Graham Harrell fumbled. The Saints then scored a touchdown to take the lead.
On his final kickoff return Darren Sproles clearly fumbled the ball away. The referees ruled he was down by contact. It should have been a turnover. But instead the Saints kept the ball.
It didn't matter. None of it was enough.
Unlike in their previous three losses where their ineptitude was as much or more to blame as their opponent's prowess, on Sunday the Saints played well enough to win. But so did Green Bay.
And the Packers were just as desperate with the same talent level. Both teams played like a team that could not take another loss.
The evidence came in the effort and the final score. That was every bit as close as the one-point margin would suggest.
NFL on FOX may not have gotten the records they wanted when they placed these two teams in their primetime slot. But they certainly got the game.
It's too bad the Saints were on the wrong end of the final score. Again.
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