The Green Bay Packers cruised to a 38-10 victory over the New Orleans Saints in the preseason finale thanks to another stellar performance from quarterback Brett Hundley.
A week after a solid showing in a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, Hundley continued to impress by completing 16/23 passes for 236 and four touchdowns. While Scott Tolzien may still be the backup quarterback behind Aaron Rodgers this year, Hundley showed that he is more than capable of being Rodgers’ backup as the team moves forward.
The offense continued its strong preseason, despite John Kuhn being the only offensive starter to play in the game. The team gained 390 yards, gave up just a single sack, and converted four out of five of its red zone possessions.
New Orleans scored all ten of its points in the first quarter before Green Bay took over the game. Mason Crosby drilled a 54-yard field goal to get the Packers on the board, and Hundley threw his first touchdown pass of the game to Jeff Janis with a minute left in the first half to even the score at 10 apiece.
A 77-yard touchdown to Larry Pinkard on Green Bay’s first possession of the third quarter gave the Packers the lead for good. Hundley threw two short touchdowns to Myles White in the fourth quarter, and a 15-yard touchdown run by John Crockett completed the scoring for the night.
The defense and special teams turned in abysmal showings last week, but both units rebounded against New Orleans and took a step in the right direction in the final tune up before the regular season. Admittedly, the team was not playing against the Saints’ starters, but they still held New Orleans to just 261 yards. Tay Glover-Wright and Chris Banjo each recorded an interception off of Saints quarterback Garrett Grayson.
Tim Masthay and the special teams also improved drastically, which can give the Packers a little more confidence in a unit that finished dead in the NFL last a season ago. Masthay failed to record a punt over 40 yards last week, but had punts of 47 and 50 yards against the Saints, and pinned New Orleans at their own eight yard line with a third punt. The coverage unit displayed sound tackling and prevented any big returns on punts and kickoffs.
The Packers’ solid overall performances from a number of players will not make final roster decisions any easier. Many fringe players made strong cases to either move up the depth chart or secure a spot on the final roster.
Hundley’s elusiveness, big-play ability and scrambling were showcased against the Saints, further proving that he could supplant Tolzien as the primary backup if Green Bay desired. White’s pair of touchdowns combined with Jared Abbrederis’ injury history could help White’s case for a roster spot. Crockett totaled 91 all-purpose yards and a touchdown to make the battle between him and Rajion Neal for the third string running back slot more interesting.
A couple of Green Bay’s safeties tossed their names into the ring for further roster consideration as well. Banjo recorded four tackles, an interception, and a forced fumble, while Jean Fanor forced a fumble and led the team with six tackles.
Many of the questions that had surrounded Green Bay at the start of the preseason seemed to take a step in the right direction over the course of four games, and the team rebounded nicely from its poor showing against the Eagles. The red zone offense became more efficient, while the defense and special teams both improved in the fourth preseason game.
The Packers now have ten days to prepare for their season opener in Chicago. However, Green Bay has until Saturday to decide which 53 players will be on the roster when the season begins.——————
Sean Blashe is a Packers fan who grew up in Bears territory and is currently a journalism and history major at Marquette University. Sean is a writer with PackersTalk.com and you can follow him on twitter at @SeanBlashe .