Green Bay, Wi. - The Saints are long past claiming moral victories instead of real ones but at 0-4, with each loss more bitter than the last, that's all the Saints could do.
"We are too close, two games in a row, we are too close to not win these games," interim coach Aaron Kromer said after the game. "We need to find a way to finish. We did a better job finishing than we did last week when our fourth quarter wasn't as good. This week we had an opportunity to win a game at the end and that's what we're looking for so I will not let this team get down."
The Saints fought back from a 14-point deficit in the second quarter to eventually take a 24-21 lead in the third quarter on a 80-yard touchdown pass from Drew Brees to Joseph Morgan, his first catch of the season. The play came just moments after Packers backup quarterback Graham Harrell, on his only snap of the game, fumbled on the goal line.
"It was supposed to be a double move but I kind of peeked at [the defender] and saw him looking in the backfield," Morgan said. "So I kept running the go route, hoping that Drew and I had the right idea and both saw what was going on, and we did."
The lead grew to six in the fourth quarter but the Packers responded with a touchdown to put the Saints back down by one with seven minutes remaining.
That's when the heart-wrenching began for the Saints.
Darren Sproles couldn't reel in a third-and-four pass at the Green Bay 25. "We called a great play and had a first down and unfortunately we just didn't convert," Drew Brees said.
That brought Garrett Hartley on for a 43 yard field goal to take the lead. He nailed it but tight end David Thomas was called for holding on the play, wiping out the lead changing kick.
"It really doesn't matter if I think it was a good call or a bad call," Thomas said in the locker room. "The bottom line is that the flag came out and it was a call that hurt the team and that's what's disappointing. A lot of work goes into every game and it always comes down to a few plays and when you're a part of one of those plays and on the wrong side, it's always disappointing because you know how much it hurts the team."
So, after a 5-yard penalty on Green Bay, Hartley attempted a 48 yard field goal which went wide to the left. "I felt good going out there," he said after the game. "The first one, I hit it well. Got to come back and do it again and, I guess for the third time, it was a ball up. The ball has been coming off my foot great all week, all game. Unfortunately when it came down to it, protection was great, snap, hold, everything, and ended up just tailing left at the end."
Hartley denied being iced by the series of penalties and delays "I don't think it has anything to do with being iced, it's just a matter of being able to repeat those motions and this time I wasn't able to get it done. When the ball came off, I knew I'd hit it well. When I looked up, knowing it was tailing left, I didn't know how much or what it would do. [It's the life of a kicker] but you strive and want to be in that position. Like I said, I walked out there with all the confidence in the world and unfortunately, it didn't work out this time."
Drew Brees tried to remain positive after the game "It's disappointing, it stinks but I know the type of guys we have, I know the direction we're headed and it's all very positive."
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