NFL Nation: AJ Hawk
NEW ORLEANS -- You just saw one of the first plays where Green Bay obviously missed middle linebacker Nick Barnett.
Saints tight end Billy Miller easily beat Barnett's replacement, A.J. Hawk, on a seam pattern for a 16-yard touchdown pass here midway through the third quarter. Hawk has been arguably better than Barnett against the run, but Barnett was definitely his superior in pass coverage before suffering a season-ending knee injury Nov. 9 against Minnesota.
The Saints ate up the first 6:26 of the third quarter on the scoring drive and now lead 31-21. More important for New Orleans, they got their running game going on the drive. Pierre Thomas had 29 yards, including four on a fourth-and-1 conversion on New Orleans' 45-yard line.