Mark Ingram's big night helps Saints destroy Packers

Mark Ingram rushed for a career-high 172 yards to lead the New Orleans Saints to a 44-23 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night. Our takeaways:

  1. The Saints need to stop jerking Mark Ingram around and start treating him like one of the NFL's top tailbacks. Ingram has looked dynamite going back to the preseason. Even after getting shut down in Detroit last week, Ingram is averaging a sterling 5.7 yards per carry on the season. Going back to the end of last season, he has the same average of his last 102 carries.
  1. We finally got a glimpse of the explosive offense we expected the Saints to unveil this season. Drew Brees hit Kenny Stills and Brandin Cookson deeppasses; Jimmy Grahamwas a mismatch in the red zone; and Ingram ran like a man possessed. Brees was 11-of-11 passing with three touchdowns in the second half. This was easily his best performance of the season, a promising sign going forward.
  1. Aaron Rodgers' 203 first-quarter yards were the most in any quarter of his career. He's now 31 of 37 (84 percent) in his last five first quarters. The Packers' second-half collapse coincided with a tweaked hamstring for their star quarterback. He wasn't as comfortable in his mechanics and was reluctant to scramble outside the pocket. His twointerceptions -- both tipped by his receivers -- were back-breakers for the Packers. Rodgers still finished with his fourth career 400-yard game.
  1. Ingram wasn't the only back to turn in a career performance. Eddie Lacy generated a career-high 182 yards from scrimmage, bolstered by a team-high eight receptions for 123 yards. He broke a slew of tackles for the second consecutive game.
  1. Cooks got his stalled rookie campaign back on track with 98 yards and a pair oftouchdowns on seven touches. He's behind only Sammy Watkins and Kelvin Benjamin in the Rookie of the Year race.
  1. The Packers aligned pass rusher Julius Peppers as a wide receiver on one goal-line play, and it came back to haunt them. Peppers dropped an easy touchdown.
  1. There have been just three games without a punt in NFL history. Two of them have involved the Packers in the last calendar month.
  1. The Saints have a quick turnaround, traveling to Carolina on Thursday with first place on the line against the Panthers.

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