Danny Etling has a little déjà vu on long TD run

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.”

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