Monday, October 27, 2014
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Brees lifts home-loving Saints past Packers

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[October 27, 2014]  (Reuters) - New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees threw three touchdown passes to lead the Saints to a 44-23 win over Green Bay on Sunday, bringing the Packers' four-game winning streak to an end.

In a match-up of two premier NFL quarterbacks, Brees battled Aaron Rodgers in a shootout at the Superdome, with the Saints' signal caller throwing for 311 yards without an interception.

Rodgers threw for one score and ran for another, but was also picked off twice. He tweaked a hamstring in the third quarter, which appeared to limit the Packers' quarterback for the remainder of the game.

New Orleans are now 3-4 on the season, with all three wins coming at the Superdome. They travel to Carolina next.

"The season is passing us by, so we had to get it together, Brees told reporters. "It was a great night to do it. We were able to turn it loose and hit on all cylinders."

The Packers are 5-3 and have a bye next week.

The game took a crucial turn at 16-16 in the third quarter, when Rodgers appeared to hurt his left hamstring while scrambling.

Green Bay's Pro Bowl quarterback remained in the game but never seemed to recover, throwing two second-half interceptions -- his first since the season-opener -- and suffering four sacks.

"It wasn't a big deal ultimately," Rodgers said of his injury. "Penalties and turnovers hurt us, and kicking field goals (instead of touchdowns)."

New Orleans seized the momentum, scoring the next 21 points for a 37-16 advantage.

Brees connected on a 50-yard touchdown with Brandin Cooks and a 22-yard TD to Jimmy Graham in the third.

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It was a positive night for Graham, who has been limited by a shoulder injury this season and failed to catch a pass in last week's game. Saints running back Mark Ingram scored a 21-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter and enjoyed a career-best 172 rushing yards on the night. His performance was a vital one with New Orleans running backs Pierre Thomas and Khiry Robinson both out with injury.

"I just read the holes and tried to make plays," Ingram said. "We have to continue to get better, keep improving and critiquing ourselves and everyone get better individually."

On the Packers side, Randall Cobb led the way with 126 yards receiving including a 70-yard score in the first quarter.

(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by John O'Brien)

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