Numbers Game: Saints vs. Packers

We all loved the opening game of the NFL season – Green Bay’s 42-34 victory over the Saints at Lambeau Field on Thursday night. For fantasy players it was a points orgasm.

But let’s look at it from the sheer numbers point of view using the Pulliam Scale: runs have to gain 4 or more yards, gain a first down or score a touchdown to be deemed a successful play; passes have to gain 7 or more yards, gain a first down or score a touchdown to be successful.

For the game Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers made successful plays just 51 percent of the time. Saints quarterback Drew Brees was successful on 48 percent of the pass plays called. So when we start analyzing the Chiefs numbers after the open the season, keep these figures in mind.

In the offensive show to open the NFL season, two of the best quarterbacks in the league were successful less than 50 percent of the pass plays that were called. Rodgers completed 27 of 35 passes, was sacked twice and scrambled four times. So there were 41 pass plays actually called; ergo 27 of 41 for our purposes. Only 22 of them met the successful criteria.

Ditto for Brees, who was 32 of 49 for the game, sacked three times, scrambled once and spiked the ball to stop the clock once. So we’re counting that as 52 pass plays (adding the sacks and scrambles as pass plays, discounting the spike). Brees had 25 successful pass plays.

Quarterback

Stats 

7-10

11 or more 

Successful 

Rodgers

27-35-312-3T 

9

10 

21* 

Brees

32-49-419-3T 

7

17 

25* 

THE RUNNERS

Despite his failure to get into the end zone on the final play of the game, Saints rookie Mark Ingram was successful on 7 of his 13 runs in the game. But the Packers’ James Starks was successful on eight of his 12 carries in the game.

Saints

minus-3 

4-plus 

Successful

10-plus big play 

Ingram 13-40

7*

0 

Thomas 5-31

2

1 

Sproles 2-7

1

0 

Packers

       

Starks 12-57

8*

2 

Grant 9-40

5

1 

Kuhn 2-5

1 

1 

2*

0 

* Includes runs shorter than 4 yards that gained a first down or touchdown.

THE RECEIVERS

This will just be a numbers breakdown of how they were used in the game, and you can make your own determination of their effectiveness.

Saints

Targeted 

Catches 

Big plays 10-plus 

Sproles

9 

7 

4 

Henderson

9 

6 

5 

Colston

9 

6 

4 

Meachem

8 

5 

3 

Graham

7 

4 

3 

Packers

     

Jennings

8 

7 

4 

Nelson

8 

6 

2 

Draper

7 

4 

1 

Finley

4 

3 

3 

Cobb

2 

2 

1 

Kuhn

2 

2 

0 

Grant

1 

1 

0 

Crabtree

1 

1 

0 

Jones

1 

1 

0 

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