Love rallies Green Bay back from 17-0 deficit

New Orleans Saints cornerback Lonnie Johnson Jr. (28) celebrates his interception with linebacker Demario Davis (56) during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)
New Orleans Saints cornerback Lonnie Johnson Jr. (28) celebrates his interception with linebacker Demario Davis (56) during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Jordan Love celebrated his first career start at Lambeau Field by producing the type of comeback his four-time MVP predecessor orchestrated so often.

Love rallied Green Bay from a 17-point fourth-quarter deficit after New Orleans lost quarterback Derek Carr to a shoulder injury, and the Packers stunned New Orleans 18-17 on Sunday.

"It's always about how the game ends," said Love, who went 22 of 44 for 259 yards with one touchdown pass, a TD run and an interception. "It felt great at the end. That's all I can say."

This was Love's fourth start overall and first at home. The 2020 first-round pick spent the last three seasons backing up Aaron Rodgers, who's now with the New York Jets and is out for the season with a torn Achilles tendon.

The Packers (2-1) scored 18 points in the final 11 minutes to win their 11th consecutive home opener, the NFL's longest active streak. They took the lead on Love's 8-yard pass to Romeo Doubs in the right corner of the end zone with 2:56 left.

Love's teammates said he maintained his composure even when the Packers were scoreless heading into the final period.

"If you look at the cameras, just watching him in the huddle, pre-snap or what not, his poise is amazing," Doubs said. "And that's one trait that I continue to emphasize on him because any other quarterback in that situation would lose his mind."

New Orleans nearly retook the lead.

Carr's backup, Jameis Winston, threw a couple of completions to Chris Olave that drove the Saints (2-1) into scoring position before Blake Grupe's 46-yard field-goal attempt sailed wide right with 1:05 left. It was the first career miss in seven attempts for Grupe, a rookie who played in college at Arkansas State and Notre Dame.

"One day you're the hero, the next day you're the villain," Grupe said. "I put together a good preseason and we got a good start to the season. The guys did their job today, and I've got to be better."

Green Bay became the third team in the past 30 years to win after being shut out 17-0 or worse through three quarters. The others were Carolina against Philadelphia on Oct. 21, 2018, and Tennessee against the New York Giants on Nov. 26, 2006.

The Packers were missing five key contributors: cornerback Jaire Alexander (back), running back Aaron Jones (hamstring), wide receiver Christian Watson (hamstring), left tackle David Bakhtiari (knee) and left guard Elgton Jenkins (knee). Bakhtiari and Jones were missing their second consecutive games, while Watson has yet to play this season.

"I've never been a part of a win like this," Packers Coach Matt LaFleur said. "The guys in the locker room, they believe. They believe in one another. And they continued to battle."

New Orleans led 17-0 when Carr left with a shoulder injury in the third quarter after getting hit on one of Rashan Gary's three sacks.

"They're doing an evaluation," Saints Coach Dennis Allen said after the game. "I think it's X-rays."

At first, it didn't appear the Packers would capitalize.

On the opening play of the fourth quarter, Love couldn't connect with Patrick Taylor on a fourth-and-2 pass from the Saints 13-yard line. The Packers still trailed 17-0 and had wasted numerous trips into Saints territory.

"Nobody batted an eye," Love said. "Nobody flinched. We knew there was still time left and still opportunity."

Love then sparked a rally against a secondary missing injured cornerback Paulson Adebo and suspended safety Marcus Maye.

Anders Carlson's 38-yard field goal with 11 minutes left began Green Bay's comeback.

On the Packers' next possession, Love faked a handoff to Taylor on a read option before making a move past Demario Davis and reaching the end zone on fourth-and-goal from the 1. Love connected with Samori Toure on a two-point conversion to make it 17-11 with 6:58 remaining.

The Packers forced a three-and-out and took over at their 20 with 5:23 left. A 24-yard scramble by Love and a 30-yard diving catch by Jayden Reed set up the go-ahead touchdown.

New Orleans took its big lead by scoring touchdowns on Carr's 8-yard pass to Jimmy Graham and Rashid Shaheed's 76-yard punt return. Grupe's 25-yard field goal in the closing seconds of the first half made it 17-0.

"Losses like this hurt worse than when you get beat by 30, because when you get beat by 30, you're never in control of the game," Saints safety Tyrann Mathieu said. "When we lose a close game like that, a game you feel like you were in control of for the most part, it's frustrating, it's humbling, but that's why people love the NFL."

New Orleans71000--17

Green Bay00018--18

First Quarter

NO--Graham 8 pass from Carr (Grupe kick), 6:40.

Second Quarter

NO--Shaheed 76 punt return (Grupe kick), 10:30.

NO--FG Grupe 25, :06.

Fourth Quarter

GB--FG Carlson 38, 11:00.

GB--Love 1 run (Toure pass from Love), 6:58.

GB--Doubs 8 pass from Love (Carlson kick), 2:56.

NOGB

First downs1521

Total Net Yards252340

Rushes-yards22-7726-95

Passing175245

Punt Returns1-763-4

Kickoff Returns2-321-24

Interceptions Ret.1-00-0

Comp-Att-Int23-34-022-44-1

Sacked-Yards Lost4-291-14

Punts7-41.8574-38.25

Fumbles-Lost0-01-0

Penalties-Yards7-10211-90

Time of Possession27:2532:35

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING--New Orleans, Miller 9-34, Jones 8-31, Hill 4-12, Shaheed 1-0. Green Bay, Love 9-39, Dillon 11-33, Nixon 1-11, Em.Wilson 2-6, Taylor 3-6.

PASSING--New Orleans, Carr 13-18-0-103, Winston 10-16-0-101. Green Bay, Love 22-44-1-259.

RECEIVING--New Orleans, Olave 8-104, Thomas 6-50, Jones 4-21, J.Johnson 2-12, Hill 1-9, Graham 1-8, Miller 1-0. Green Bay, Musgrave 6-49, Doubs 5-73, Wicks 4-45, Reed 3-63, Taylor 3-23, Em.Wilson 1-6.

MISSED FIELD GOALS--New Orleans, Grupe 46.

  photo  New Orleans Saints quarterback Derek Carr (4) is sacked during the second half of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)
 
 
  photo  New Orleans Saints quarterback Derek Carr (4) walks to the locker room after being injured during the second half of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)
 
 
  photo  New Orleans Saints quarterback Derek Carr (4) scrambles under pressure rom Green Bay Packers linebacker Quay Walker (7) during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
 
 
  photo  New Orleans Saints wide receiver Chris Olave (12) pulls in a pass over Green Bay Packers cornerback Carrington Valentine (37) during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
 
 
  photo  New Orleans Saints wide receiver Chris Olave (12) pulls in a pass over Green Bay Packers cornerback Carrington Valentine (37) during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
 
 
  photo  Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love (10) celebrates after an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023, in Green Bay, Wis. The Packers won 18-17. (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)
 
 
  photo  Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love (10) reacts after carrying for a first down during the second half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)
 
 
  photo  Green Bay Packers wide receiver Romeo Doubs (87) pulls in a touchdown reception against New Orleans Saints cornerback Isaac Yiadom during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
 
 
  photo  Green Bay Packers safety Rudy Ford breaks up a pass intended for New Orleans Saints wide receiver Rashid Shaheed during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
 
 

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