GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Jordan Love rallied Green Bay from a 17-point fourth-quarter deficit in his first career home start — a comeback that began after New Orleans lost quarterback Derek Carr to a shoulder injury — and the Packers stunned the Saints 18-17 on Sunday.
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.
The Saints drove into scoring position shortly after, but Blake Grupe’s 46-yard field-goal attempt with just over a minute left sailed wide right.
Packers edge rusher Rashan Gary had a career-high three sacks, including a sack that knocked Saints Quarterback Derek Carr out of the game.
Love was making his fourth career start but first at home as he takes over for Rodgers, a four-time MVP who was traded to the New York Jets in the offseason. The fourth-year pro from Utah State went 22 of 44 for 259 yards with one touchdown pass, a TD run and an interception.
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.
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 Patrick Taylor before running into the end zone on fourth-and-goal from the 1. Love connected with Samori Toure on a 2-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 remaining. A 24-yard scramble by Love and a 30-yard completion to Jayden Reed set up the go-ahead touchdown.
Green Bay won without 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 straight games, while Watson has yet to play this season. Linebacker De’Vondre Campbell (ankle) and CB Carrington Valentine (biceps) left the game as well, with their future status unknown.
The Packers have a quick turnaround as they host division foe Detroit on Thursday night.
By Steve Megargee, Assoicated Press