Game notes: Danny Etling has a little déjà vu on long TD run

Romeo Doubs soars on TD catch; Micah Abernathy steps up

Packers quarterback Danny Etling runs 51 yards for a touchdown in Friday night's 20-10 win over the New Orleans Saints at Lambeau Field

GREEN BAY – Oh, to be sure, the video has been played a time or 10 inside the Packers' quarterback room already.

It was almost four years ago when a then-rookie Danny Etling carried out a read-option in the New England Patriots' preseason finale with the New York Giants and proceed to run…and run…and run some more on his way to a thrilling 86-yard touchdown.

On Friday night, the Packers' No. 3 quarterback had some déjà vu against the New Orleans Saints when a near-identical situation presented itself as Saints safety Daniel Sorenson bit hard on Etling's fake handoff to Dexter Williams.

That vacated the right side of the field for Etling, who outran everybody in New Orleans' secondary for a 51-yard touchdown to help propel the Packers to a 20-10 victory over the Saints in front of 71,748 at Lambeau Field.

"It's so funny because I know he had one of those when he was a rookie," Head Coach Matt LaFleur said. "He's a talented guy. He's a very good athlete, although he did have a little stumble at the end.

"But he saw the safety barreling down and closing hard on the runner, and there was nobody else out there, so he just pulled it and went. It was a hell of a decision by him."

Etling acknowledged the play was "a little bit" like his previous touchdown for New England, but the circumstances were much different.

Back in 2018, Etling started and played the entire game against the Giants with both Tom Brady and Brian Hoyer sitting out of the preseason finale.

On Friday, with Jordan Love playing the first three quarters and into the fourth, it turned out to be Etling's only series other than kneeling out the victory when the offense got the ball back with 92 seconds left.

"I wasn't quite expecting that," said Etling of the TD run. "They kind of brought the safety off the edge. It was either I took it and got the first down and it eventually led to a touchdown, or we were in fourth-and-short. After that, it worked out."

Now 28, Etling has continued his chase of playing in the NFL in Green Bay this summer. Off to a promising start after throwing for 123 yards and a touchdown last week against San Francisco, Etling keeps finding ways to get noticed.

Being able to finish off the run with a Lambeau Leap made it all the more special.

"As a quarterback, you think you'll throw a lot of touchdowns," Etling said. "You don't always think you'll run one in and get the Lambeau Leap. That's something that will live with me forever."

Another step for Doubs: For the second straight week, rookie receiver Romeo Doubs was the first Packers player to find the end zone.

At the Saints' 4-yard line midway through the second quarter, Love rocketed a ball over Saints defensive back Brian Allen and into the hands of the leaping Doubs to give Green Bay a 10-3 lead at the time.

It came seven days after Doubs' 33-yard score against the 49ers. Like Etling, Doubs made sure to do a Lambeau Leap to celebrate his first TD in front of the home fans.

"Pre-snap, I saw Jordan looking at the corner, so I knew that there was a possibility that I'd get a chance there," Doubs said. "It was a great ball by Jordan and I was able to make a great catch."

Doubs and the Packers' receiving corps were looking for a strong showing against the Saints after a midweek meeting with Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay's QBs after an up-and-down practice on Tuesday against the Saints.

Doubs finished with three catches for 24 yards and the TD, while Juwann Winfree led the Packers with three receptions for 41 yards.

"It was just hard work from all the receivers," Doubs said. "Today, it wasn't just about the touchdown. Everyone got involved, everyone was able to do their one-eleventh."

Opportunity knocks for Abernathy: Signed last week, Micah Abernathy made perhaps the Packers' most jaw-dropping play of the preseason when he intercepted Saints quarterback Ian Book near Green Bay's sideline with 59 seconds left in the first half.

According to Abernathy, he'd seen a similar play unfold this week in practice against the Saints, but didn't make the play. Given a second chance, he capitalized.

"Coach (Jerry) Gray, called it out from the sideline," Abernathy said. "I actually got that same play this week and I didn't make it in practice. I just tried to go out there and make the play and try to do my best."

A safety for the Houston Gamblers of the USFL this past spring, Abernathy had been training at home and praying for the phone to ring with an NFL opportunity.

That call finally came last week from the Packers, who were banged up at safety with Darnell Savage (hamstring), Dallin Leavitt (shoulder), Tariq Carpenter (knee) and Innis Gaines (hamstring) all injured.

While the last thing Abernathy wanted to see was any more Green Bay safeties going down, he was thrust into the spotlight when Vernon Scott (shoulder) exited in the second quarter.

"I feel like I showed that I could play fast, and I feel like I have a lot left in me," Abernathy said. "I just got off a season. I feel like I'm in shape. I feel like I can play. I just wanted to go out there and prove that. I felt like I did, hopefully."

First-year safety Shawn Davis, who started and played the entire game, also recovered a Book fumble and returned it 37 yards to set up an eventual 45-yard Ramiz Ahmed field goal.

"I think it was a ball magnet and it was meant for me to get the fumble," Davis said. "I made a play out of a great opportunity."

See scenes from the Friday night matchup between the Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints at Lambeau Field on Aug. 19, 2022.

Good night on the ground: Etling wasn't the only Packers player making things happen on the ground.

Tyler Goodson, Patrick Taylor, Dexter Williams, Amari Rodgers and the offensive line also contributed to the Packers picking up 178 rushing yards against New Orleans.

Goodson led the way with 10 carries for 42 yards, including a 15-yard run down to the Saints' 4-yard line that set up Doubs' touchdown catch.

"I think I did pretty well," Goodson said. "All the credit goes to the guys up front. Without them, those plays wouldn't have ever been happening and we wouldn't have been able to finish the drive with a touchdown. Hat's off to those guys for allowing me to have those open lanes to run and make those explosive plays."

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