David Whitehurst threw four touchdown passes, three to rookie James Lofton on plays covering 42, 47 and 18 yards and Terdell Middleton rushed for 114 yards to lead the Green Bay Packers to a 28-17 NFL victory over the New Orleans Saints yesterday.

Whitehurst, a second-year pro, completed 10 of 15 passes for 161 yards for the young Packers, 2-0 for the first time since 1969. His other scoring pass was a nine-yarder to Rich McGeorge early in the fourth quarter.

The Packers erased a 10-7 deficit 6:06 into the second quarter when Lofton, a former world-class long jumper, grabbed a Whitehurst pass just over the line of scrimmage and raced 47 yards to the end zone. Lofton leaped to grab another Whitehurst pass between defensive backs Clarence Chapman and Ray Brown and fell into the end zone on an 18-yard scoring play as Green Bay led 21-10 early in the third quarter.

Whitehurst became the first Packer quarterback to throw four touchdown passes in a game since Bart Starr, now the Packer coach, accomplished the feat against the Dallas Cowboys on Oct. 28, 1968.

New Orleans scored on Rich Szaro's 37-yard field goal, Archie Manning's six-yard pass to Ike Harris and on Mike Strachan's four-yard run in the closing minutes.