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Saints halt Favre to stay on top

The defense hounds the Green Bay quarterback in a 35-20 New Orleans win.

©Associated Press

September 16, 2002

The defense hounds the Green Bay quarterback in a 35-20 New Orleans win.

NEW ORLEANS -- The Saints' relentless defense gave Brett Favre fits all game. The Saints held Favre and the Packers in check Sunday and Aaron Brooks threw two touchdowns in a 35-20 win.

"You make it easier on them, get the crowd into it, and you take yourself out of the driver's seat and put them in it," Favre said. "And they were in the driver's seat from the first snap."

Brooks, who spent 1999 as Green Bay's third-string quarterback, was 16-for-28 for 217 yards and two touchdowns as the Saints took an early lead.

"We're happy, but a lot of the credit goes to the defense," Brooks said. "They stuck in there against Brett at a time that he was at his best."

The Saints used the same pressure defense that helped them beat the Bucs 26-20 in their opener. Green Bay gained 357 yards but only 95 rushing. The Packers completed 22 percent of their third-down attempts (2-for-9) to 70 percent for the Saints, who also had 357 yards total.

"We're trying to establish ourselves as one of the most physical teams in the NFL," Saints defensive tackle Norman Hand said. "And we're doing that right now."

Favre, who was 9-0 in the Superdome coming in, including preseason games -- a Super Bowl win -- and two college victories, was on the run all game. He was 29-for-44 for 270 yards and two touchdowns. He was sacked once and broke his string of 158 passes without an interception when Darrin Smith grabbed one in the first quarter. He also had two intentional grounding calls against him.

The Saints opened with a 68-yard scoring drive that included three third-down conversions and 54 passing yards before Deuce McAllister ran in from 4 yards.

In the second quarter, Brooks found Jerome Pathon with a 5-yard score to put New Orleans up 14-3.

The Saints stretched the lead to 21-3 on a 34-yard touchdown from Brooks to Donte' Stallworth with 2:03 left in the first half.

The Packers moved the ball in the first half but couldn't find the end zone until the final minute. Green Bay held the ball for 71/2 minutes on its second drive but had to settle for a 27-yard field goal after Saints safety Sammy Knight slammed into Javon Walker at the goal line and jarred the ball loose.

"It's the second week in a row we haven't stepped up to the level we need to play at," Packers coach Mike Sherman said.

The Packers' first touchdown came after Mike McKenzie intercepted Brooks, and Favre hit Terry Glenn for a 14-yard score with 40 seconds left to make it 21-10 at the break.

The Saints opened the second half with a touchdown. Keyou Craver picked up a fumble by Glenn and returned it 38 yards to make it 28-10.

Favre cut the lead to 28-17 with 31 seconds left in the third on a 26-yard pass to Donald Driver. Favre was 4-for-4 for 65 yards on the 71-yard drive.

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