Wild shootout sparks start of 2011 season

It looked like the last one with the ball would prevail but New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton took the ball out of the hands of Drew Brees and tried to run in from the one-yard line with rookie Mark Ingram on the final play of the game Thursday night at Green Bay.

The Packers stifled Ingram on the final play of the game and prevailed 42-34 in a wild start to the 2011 NFL season. It’s the eighth consecutive season the defending Super Bowl champion has started with a victory.

Green Bay and Super Bowl XLV MVP Aaron Rodgers sure sent a message to the rest of the league. He completed 27 of 35 passes for 312 yards and three touchdowns and was virtually flawless in the first half as the Packers jumped out to a 28-17 lead.

It was an amazing offensive show. The teams combined to convert 17 third downs. Brees completed 32 of 49 passes for 419 yards and three touchdowns. Neither quarterback was intercepted. Eight players had 53 yards receiving or more.

It’s proof positive the NFL is a passing league. Saints coach Sean Payton will have to answer questions about some debatable play calls, including a play fake on fourth-and-one earlier in the game near the Green Bay goalline.

Both high-powered offenses now have 10 days to recharge for Week 2.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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