Packers 'embarrassed' in New Orleans

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
NEW ORLEANS -- Atari Bigby sat at his locker with his head buried in his hands. Al Harris spoke as if in a daze. Nick Collins admitted he was "embarrassed" and questioned whether his team was ready to play.

And Charles Woodson might have said it the best of anyone when asked to describe Green Bay's 51-29 loss Monday night at New Orleans.

"We got our [tail] whupped in front of the whole country," Woodson said. "When you see the backup quarterback come in, you know you got your [tail] whupped. It was a rough day."

The Packers' revered pass defense didn't just have a down day on "Monday Night Football." It was on the short end of perhaps the best passing day of the season, a near-perfect performance from Saints quarterback Drew Brees that made the Packers look like a bunch of bullfighters.

Olé, Bigby said as Saints receiver Lance Moore ran around him for a 70-yard scoring pass in the first quarter.

Olé, Woodson and safety Aaron Rouse said as the Saints' Marques Colston ran past them for another 70-yard score in the third.

Olé, the Packers said as tight ends Jeremy Shockey and Billy Miller combined for nine receptions and 93 yards.

"We got embarrassed, we got whupped, however you want to put it," Collins said. "It was an old fashioned butt-whupping. We know we're better than that, and we can't ever let that happen again."

Collins wasn't sure why, but he nevertheless seemed convinced the Packers arrived in New Orleans unprepared for their task.

"You can't explain it," he said. "We just weren't ready to play today. That's just all it was. We knew it was going to be a shootout. We just weren't ready. We just didn't have the fire tonight."

That's a disturbing admission from a prominent player on a team that needed a victory to keep pace in a mediocre division. Could the Packers have been overconfident, motivated by last week's now-distant thrashing of Chicago and the national attention on their pass defense? It's not like the Saints snuck up on anybody Monday night. Brees entered the game with more yards in his first 10 games than any quarterback in league history.

"We felt we could come in and have a better showing against this team," Woodson said. "But they turned out to be everything that everyone thought they were."

The Packers' defensive scheme relies on a certain level of physical superiority from the secondary -- the idea that Woodson and especially Harris can handle receivers in man coverage. Perhaps the Packers thought they could disrupt Brees' timing with his receivers, but the Saints clearly had them outmatched.

"They're a good secondary," Brees said. "They're a very good secondary. Arguably one of the better secondaries in this league, if not the best. [But] we felt like, with all the man-to-man matchups we would get, that if we could get the ball in the hands of our receivers, we could break a tackle and make some big plays."

Consider it mission accomplished for the Saints, whose own defense performed the way the Packers' defense hoped to. New Orleans intercepted Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers three times and knocked down 11 other passes, leaving the Packers unable to keep up.

The Packers' offense had entered the game ready for a shootout.

"We thought we could score on them," Rodgers said.

But no one counted on the defense giving up the fifth-most points in team history.

"Just no excuses," Harris said. "If our offense scores 29 points, we have to hold them to 28. We didn't hold up our end of the bargain."

Other notable items from the Packers' postgame locker room:

  • Both Rodgers and coach Mike McCarthy suitably noted the urgency Green Bay now faces. The Packers, of course, trail Chicago (6-5) and Minnesota (6-5) in the NFC North and will need help to make a move in the division over the final five games of the season. "We just need to win football games," McCarthy said. "It's November. It's time." Said Rodgers: "Every game for us is a must-win."

  • The Packers played all but two plays without right tackle Mark Tauscher, who strained a hamstring and did not return. Tony Moll replaced him and Tauscher's status for Sunday's game against Carolina is uncertain. Tauscher blew out his knee at the Superdome in 2002 and missed 14 games.

  • Rodgers used his previously injured right shoulder to knock Saints cornerback Jason David out of bounds after an interception in the third quarter. "I was pretty upset," Rodgers said. "And I gave it all I had."

  • The Saints had 416 yards on only 54 plays, an average of 7.7 yards per play. "We expected more from our defense," McCarthy said.

  • The Packers got away from their running game in the second half as the deficit grew. Tailback Ryan Grant had 64 yards in the first half and 3 yards in the second. The Saints "peeled back their ears" and rushed Rodgers with renewed v
    igor, McCarthy said. It's no surprise that all three of Rodgers' interceptions and both of his sacks came after halftime.