In Week 3 of 1992, Brett Favre led one of the most memorable comeback wins in Lambeau Field history, rallying the Packers to a 24-23 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.
In Week 3, 2023, Jordan Love led a comeback win just as impressive and inexplicable.
The Packers — down arguably five of their top-10 players due to injury — trailed New Orleans, 17-0 heading to the fourth quarter. Green Bay then ripped off 18 straight points and stunned the Saints, 18-17.
Love threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Romeo Doubs with 2:56 left for the game-winner. Saints rookie kicker Blake Grupe then missed a go-ahead, 46-yard field goal in the final minute.
The Packers improved to 2-1, while the Saints slipped to 2-1.
Here’s the good, bad and ugly from Green Bay’s loss:
FOURTH QUARTER MAGIC: The Packers trailed, 17-0, heading to the fourth quarter. Green Bay then scored 18 straight points to take an 18-17 lead.
Anders Carlson started the fun with a 38-yard field goal. Jordan Love had a rushing touchdown that pulled the Packers within 17-11, then fired a go-ahead touchdown pass to Romeo Doubs.
The Packers scored on three straight possessions, covered 206 total yards in those three drives and left with the most remarkable win of the LaFleur-era.
JORDAN LOVE: The Packers first-year quarterback was dreadful much of the day, missing wide open receivers, throwing his first interception of the year and failing to lead the Packers to any points the first seven times they had the ball.
Then came the fourth quarter, when Love was remarkable.
Love finished the day 22-of-44 for 259 yards with a passing touchdown and a rushing touchdown. His heroics and ability to stay poised throughout is the biggest reason the Packers exited victorious.
RASHAN GARY: Imagine what Green Bay’s sensational outside linebacker can do when he’s fully healthy.
Gary, who suffered a torn ACL midway through the 2022 season, has been on a pitch count to open the 2023 campaign. Gary certainly made the most of his limited snaps Sunday and finished the game with three sacks, his most ever in a game.
Early in the second quarter, Gary sped past Saints right tackle Ryan Ramczyk and dumped Derek Carr for a 5-yard loss. Then on New Orleans’ first drive of the second half, Gary beat Ramczyk again, dropped Carr for a 7-yard loss and knocked the Saints’ quarterback out of the game.
Then midway through the fourth quarter, Gary sacked Saints backup quarterback Jameis Winston for an 8-yard loss.
Gary, who’s in a contract year, now has 3.5 sacks through three games.
LUKE MUSGRAVE: The Packers’ passing offense struggled most of the day against the Saints’ elite defense.
Musgrave, a rookie tight end, was solid throughout, though, and caught a team-high six passes for 49 yards. Musgrave’s numbers could have been even better if Jordan Love hadn’t badly overthrown him down the seam early in the game.
“I do think he’s got a really unique skill-set and the fact that he can really run,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said of Musgrave. “We’re going to throw as much at him until we’re like, ‘All right, that’s probably too much.’ ”
THIS AND THAT: Kenny Clark had a first quarter sack of Carr. … Green Bay rookie kicker Anders Carlson has yet to miss a kick this year. Carlson is 9-of-9 on extra points and 3-of-3 on field goals. … New Orleans didn’t score on any of its six second half possessions.
WALKING WOUNDED: The Packers played without arguably five of their top-10 players as running back Aaron Jones (hamstring), wideout Christian Watson (hamstring), left tackle David Bakhtiari (knee), left guard Elgton Jenkins (knee) and cornerback Jaire Alexander (back) all were inactive.
Jones, who pulled a hamstring in Week 1 at Chicago, did not practice Wednesday. He was then a limited participant both Thursday and Friday.
“He looked good,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said after Thursday’s practice. “But we’ll see how he comes in tomorrow and the next day and make a decision then.”
Watson missed Green Bay’s first two games with his hamstring
injury. This week, Watson was limited at practice on Wednesday, did not
practice Thursday and was limited again Friday.
“I’m fighting just as much of a mental battle as I am a physical
battle with my competitiveness and my wanting to do what I love,” Watson said
last week. “I want to play football. I don’t want to watch football. I think
I’ve said that already. It’s definitely tough, but I’ve just got to control
what I can control and do what I can.”
Bakhtiari played in Week 1, then was a surprise scratch for Green
Bay’s Week 2 loss in Atlanta. He did not practice this week and will miss his 24th game since the start of the 2021 season.
“For me, it’s pretty devastating,” Bakhtiari said. “I think every
game that goes by, I’m not getting any younger and what I want for my own
personal self along with what I want to give to this franchise, it’s tough.”
Alexander practiced Wednesday and Thursday, but was a limited
participant Friday after his back flared up.
“His back was acting up a little bit, so we’ll monitor that and
we’ll see where he’s at,” LaFleur said Friday.
Jenkins suffered a knee injury at Atlanta in Week 2 that’s expected to keep him out a few weeks.
RUSHING OFFENSE: Green Bay has gotten little done on the ground to begin the season — and Sunday was no different.
Love was terrific eluding pressure and had nine carries for 39 yards and a touchdown. Green Bay’s running backs combined for just 56 rushing yards on 17 carries.
THIS AND THAT: Green Bay drove to the Saints’ 28-yard line with 5 minutes left in the second quarter. On third-and-nine, though, Love was sacked and lost 14 yards and the Packers were taken out of field goal range. … Jimmy Graham, who played in Green Bay in 2018-19, beat cornerback Rasul Douglas for an 8-yard touchdown in the first quarter.
NOTHING SPECIAL: New Orleans speedster Rashid Shaheed returned a punt 76 yards for a touchdown early in the second quarter to give New Orleans a 14-0 lead.
Daniel Whelan’s punt traveled just 40 yards with 4.32 seconds of hang time. Long snapper Matt Orzech got out of his lane and missed early. Corey Ballentine and Carrington Valentine took bad angles, Shaheed got the right edge and was off to the races.
The short-handed Packers could ill afford to give up points on special teams, but that’s exactly what they did.
PENALTIES: The Packers entered the day as the most penalized team in football.
It was more of the same against the Saints, as Green Bay had 11 penalties for 90 yards.
The Packers had three penalties worth 30 yards in the first five minutes. Jon Runyan was flagged for holding, Royce Newman had a false start and Kenny Clark had an unnecessary roughing penalty.
Things never got better.
WHAT WAS THAT?: The Packers faced a fourth-and-2 on their first drive and went for it. Love threw a pass to rookie running back Emanuel Wilson, who threw it back to Love.
Wilson’s pass was short, and Love bobbled it initially before picking it up. Love then slipped and while falling, threw incomplete for wideout Dontayvion Wicks.
Instead of trying to beat the Saints straight up, the Packers tried to get cute and paid the price.