Homecoming bittersweet for Eddie Lacy

Julius Peppers was ready to go in on offense


NEW ORLEANS—It was a big night for Eddie Lacy in every way but the final score.

Returning to his home state of Louisiana for the first time as a pro, Lacy rolled up a career-best 182 yards from scrimmage on Sunday night at the Superdome, highlighted by a career-high 123 yards receiving.

His all-purpose effort wasn't nearly enough, though, as the Packers fell to the Saints, 44-23.

"I figured it would be a pretty fun game," Lacy said. "It's cool to be able to come back here and play your hometown team."

Lacy was a beast to handle, breaking tackles both in the running game (59 yards rushing) and the passing game. Early on he rambled 67 yards on a screen pass to set up first-and-goal, one of his eight receptions on the night. The eight catches came on a mixture of screens and checkdowns, and only one pass thrown Lacy's way was incomplete.

"Just being available for the quarterback is one of my priorities," he said. "It paid off big today."

Unfortunately, Lacy couldn't get one key yard when the Packers needed it, on fourth-and-short in the third quarter. He didn't have much chance and was stuffed behind the line.

In the end, he was outshined by another former Alabama running back and teammate, Mark Ingram, who racked up 172 rushing yards on 24 carries. Ingram and Lacy shared a few words on the field after the game.

"He just said keep playing," Lacy said. "It's a long season. Don't let the outcome of today dictate the rest of your season. Just continue to play hard."

It's advice the Packers as a whole will take into their bye, at 5-3 and one game behind NFC North leading Detroit.

"We definitely didn't want to go into the bye wek with a loss, but it happens," Lacy said. "We just have to use this time to relax, get your body right and get ready to finish the season strong."

Unsuccessful tricks: The Packers reached into their bag of tricks twice early but came up empty both times.

First, pass rusher Julius Peppers entered in a goal-to-go situation and motioned out of the backfield to a split wide position. QB Aaron Rodgers hit him in the chest with a quick slant pass in the end zone, but Peppers wasn't able to corral it. After a third-down sack, the Packers eventually settled for a field goal.

"It's been in for a while," Peppers said of his offensive play. "In my opinion, it wasn't anything out of the ordinary. We had it up for a couple weeks now. It was just a matter of time before he called it. I was ready for it."

He was disappointed he didn't catch it, though.

"Of course. Definitely," he said. "It was a little hot. He gave me the fastball, but I've got to do a better job of catching that ball."

The second trick came immediately after the field goal, which had given the Packers a 10-7 lead. Kicker Mason Crosby tried a surprise onside kick, but he didn't get the high bounce he normally aims for, and the ball bounced off a Saints player and out of bounds, giving the ball to New Orleans.

The Saints used the short field to drive for a field goal and re-tie the game at 10.

Injury update: The Packers lost right guard T.J. Lang to an ankle injury early in the game. He got hurt on the extra point following Randall Cobb's 70-yard TD reception to open the scoring.

Second-year pro Lane Taylor filled in for Lang the rest of the game. COMPLETE GAME COVERAGE

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