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Brees, Saints pull away in 2nd half to top Packers

Oct 27, 2014 - 5:06 AM New Orleans, LA ( - Aaron Rodgers helped the Green Bay Packers erase the memories of a poor start by guiding them to four straight wins.

Now Drew Brees is hoping to do the same for the New Orleans Saints.

Brees tossed three touchdown passes and the Saints pulled away in the second half for a 44-23 win over the Packers on Sunday night.

The game was tied 16-16 at halftime, but New Orleans intercepted the red-hot Rodgers twice over an 11-attempt span in the final 30 minutes after he hadn't tallied one in 213 throws en route to breaking the game open.

Rodgers had thrown for 977 yards and 13 touchdowns without an interception during the winning streak.

Brees completed all 11 of his passes in the second half and finished 27-of-32 for 311 yards. Mark Ingram carried the ball 24 times for 172 yards and a touchdown and Brandin Cooks caught six passes for 94 yards and a score and added a 4-yard TD run for the Saints (3-4), who squandered a fourth-quarter lead for the third time this year in last week's 24-23 loss at Detroit.

"I think the tempo was better today and I think that's something we'll continue to emphasize," Brees said.

Despite the poor start, New Orleans can take sole possession of first place in the NFC South with a win over Carolina on Thursday night in Charlotte.

Jimmy Graham hauled in all five of his receptions for 59 yards and a touchdown in the second half in the triumph.

Rodgers threw for 208 of his 418 yards in the first quarter, completing 28- of-39 passes overall with a touchdown for Green Bay (5-3), which fell a game behind Detroit for first place in the NFC North.

"Penalties and turnovers hurt us tonight and kicking field goals," Rodgers said.

Randall Cobb posted five catches for 126 yards and a score, while Eddie Lacy recorded eight receptions for 123 yards and added 59 yards on 13 carries in defeat.

Rodgers' first pick came on Green Bay's ensuing drive following a 4th-and-2 stop of Ingram on New Orleans' opening touch of the second half.

Tight end Andrew Quarless was isolated against Corey White on the left side of the formation and ran a slant pattern, but White knocked the pass away and linebacker David Hawthorne corralled the deflection.

Cooks then split Micah Hyde and Tramon Williams in the Green Bay secondary en route to a 50-yard score and a 23-16 New Orleans advantage with 5:35 to go in the third.

Lacy was stuffed on 4th-and-1 at the Green Bay 40 on the next sequence and Brees hit Graham on an out-and-up pattern along the left sideline for a 22- yard touchdown and a 30-16 lead four snaps later.

Rodgers' first pass of the fourth was picked off by White after it caromed off the hands of Davante Adams. The miscue led to a 2-yard Josh Hill TD catch and a 37-16 cushion.

Rodgers dashed for a 14-yard TD run before Ingram capped the scoring with 3:16 remaining with a 21-yard TD scamper.

Neither team punted in the first half, although both settled for field goals on three of their four possessions.

After a false start penalty pushed a 3rd-and-5 to a 3rd-and-10 on Green Bay's initial touch, Rodgers danced around before lofting a pass along the right sideline for Cobb. Saints defensive back Kendrick Lewis never found the ball and Cobb hauled in the underthrow and raced down the sideline for a 70-yard score.

Brees hit Kenny Stills for 45 yards on play-action and Cooks took a jet sweep and raced in untouched off the left side a snap later to cap New Orleans' first touch to tie the game at 7-7.

Cam Jordan sacked Rodgers for a 10-yard loss on a 3rd-and-goal from the 3, leading to a 31-yard Mason Crosby field goal, but the Green Bay defense returned the favor following a failed onside kick. Julius Peppers sacked Brees on a 3rd-and-8 from the 9 and Shayne Graham split the uprights from 31 yards away to tie the score late in the first.

Cobb took a pass in the right flat and scampered for 27 yards, setting up a Crosby 49-yard field goal.

Davon House tackled Kenny Stills for a 1-yard-loss on a 3rd-and-2 from the 10 and Shayne Graham knocked through a 29-yarder to knot the game again.

Crosby and Shayne Graham traded field goals of 27 and 37 yards, respectively, to close the half.

Game Notes

New Orleans outgained the Packers 495-491 ... Peppers, the linebacker, lined up as a tight end at one point in the first half near the goal line, but dropped a pass in the end zone ... The Packers committed eight penalties for 84 yards.