By BRETT MARTEL, AP Sports activities Author
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Jameis Winston and the hurricane-displaced Saints seemed proper at residence in northeast Florida — little doubt to the delight of followers rebuilding properties and lives again in New Orleans.
Winston handed for 5 touchdowns, New Orleans intercepted reigning NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers twice, and the Saints kicked off the post-Drew Brees period with a strikingly dominant 38-3 victory over the Inexperienced Bay Packers on Sunday.
“We knew that despite the fact that some folks don’t have energy, they’re going to discover a option to watch the Saints,” linebacker and captain Demario Davis mentioned. “That’s simply what this crew means to the town — and the town means the identical to us.”
The sport, initially scheduled for the Superdome, was moved whereas the New Orleans space continues to scrub up wreckage left by Hurricane Ida, which struck southeast Louisiana as a Class 4 storm on Aug. 29, 16 years to the day after Hurricane Katrina devastated the identical area.
After canceling their last preseason sport and training two weeks within the Dallas space, the Saints seemed as sharp and impressed as any membership with such distractions may have hoped.
“That was for the town,” Winston mentioned. “We did that for them. We knew how a lot it will imply to get an incredible victory for that area. They’ve been via a lot. … Hats off to them for his or her resilience, as a result of they motivated us. They impressed us to come back on the market and ball.”
Winston, who led the NFL with 30 interceptions in his final season as a starter with Tampa Bay in 2019, was largely considered and correct in going an environment friendly 14 of 20 for 148 yards with out an interception. New Orleans additionally rushed for 171 yards.
“Drew at all times preached, it is concerning the resolution, not the consequence,” Winston mentioned, alluding to final season, when he served as a reserve and understudy to Brees in an effort to enhance the long-term trajectory of his up-and-down profession. “Generally the choice is throwing the ball away, generally the choice is operating, tucking. Generally the choice could also be taking a sack.”
Winston did not take a sack, however did take off and run for a couple of key third-down conversions within the first half.
The one dangerous throw that backfired on him — a deflected move caught by Packers defensive again Darnell Savage in the long run zone — was negated by a contested roughing-the-passer penalty known as towards edge rusher Z’Darius Smith.
The penalty arrange the second landing catch of the sport by Juwan Johnson, who got here in with 4 profession catches and was transformed from receiver to a decent finish this offseason.
On the day earlier than his twenty fifth birthday, Johnson additionally transformed a display move right into a 12-yard, first-down achieve on fourth-and-7 within the second quarter, when the sport was nonetheless unsure. He capped that drive with a leaping catch in the long run zone on fourth-and-2. The 2 fourth-down conversions highlighted a pivotal 14-play drive that consumed 10 minutes.
“You have to decide your spots the place you wish to be aggressive and it is a bit bit simpler on that finish of the sector,” Payton mentioned. “I felt fairly good concerning the calls.”
Inexperienced Bay followers appeared to outnumber Saints followers in a crowd introduced at 35,242 for what was formally a Saints residence sport. However they left disillusioned in a day that would not have gone a lot worse for Rodgers, who was pulled with practically 11 minutes left.
Because the time expired, the remaining Saints followers joined in triumphant chants of “Who Dat!” that echoed all through the stadium.
“This can be a good kick within the you-know-where,” mentioned Rodgers, who completed 15 of 28 for 133 yards and no TDs. “We felt like we had been going to go up and down the sector on whoever they’ve and that clearly wasn’t the case.”
Opening the third quarter down 17-3, the Packers squandered an opportunity to trim their deficit when Rodgers’ wobbly move below stress was intercepted by rookie defensive again Paulson Adebo on the New Orleans 7 early within the third quarter.
On Inexperienced Bay’s subsequent drive, Marcus Williams intercepted Rodgers’ deep overthrow and returned it to the Packers 12, organising Winston’s 10-yard TD to Chris Hogan.
“Each crew has a sport like this,” mentioned Packers operating again Aaron Jones, who was restricted to 9 yards on 5 carries. “It’s higher to get it out now.”
The Saints didn’t punt within the first half.
New Orleans took the opening kickoff for a discipline purpose and led 10-0 after Alvin Kamara took a brief ahead pitch from Winston as he crossed behind the offensive line, then slipped a number of sort out makes an attempt to squirm into the top zone from 3 yards. That formally went down as Winston’s first regular-season TD move as a Saint, and he helped set it up with a 10-yard scramble on third-and-8.
Packers tight finish Josiah Deguara gave the impression to be knocked unconscious when he took a knee to the pinnacle from Saints finish Marcus Davenport within the third quarter. He left with concussion signs. … Savage left within the second half with a shoulder harm.
Saints middle Erik McCoy left within the first quarter with an obvious leg harm.
Packers: Host Detroit in a Monday night time sport on Sept. 20.
Saints: Visits Carolina subsequent Sunday.
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