20-10 Loss Represents Ups And Downs For Longwell

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Sunday's game featured a personal highlight and lowlight for kicker Ryan Longwell.

With 1:04 left in the first quarter, Longwell nailed a 40-yard field goal, making him the first player in Packers history to score 1,000 points. Already Green Bay's all-time leading scorer, he entered the game with 998 points.

"We had a great first field goal," Longwell said.

But his second field goal attempt was less memorable. With 31 seconds left in the first half and a chance to cut the Pittsburgh Steelers' lead to 13-6, Longwell's kick was wide right from 31 yards.

"We should have made the kick." Longwell said. "We're not as consistent as we have been over the years."

Longwell entered the game as the fourth-most accurate field goal specialist in NFL history at 82.4 percent. This year, however, he has made seven of 11 field goal attempts. Longwell is growing accustomed to working with a new holder, punter B.J. Sander, and he has said that learning process has contributed to his previous misses.

But according to Longwell, neither the snap from Rob Davis nor Sander's placement led to his errant kick on Sunday.

"Not at all," he said. "B.J.'s really done a good job the last few weeks."

That miss has not caused a hitch in the swagger of the Packers' all time leading scorer.

"I expect to make every field goal. That's the way we approach it," Longwell said. "I'm very confident in my abilities."

Head Coach Mike Sherman also remains confident in the player he jokingly referred to during training camp as his favorite. Before every long kick, he looks to Longwell, and Longwell will give him a thumbs up or thumbs down signal based on the likelihood of him making the field goal.

Down 20-10 with a fourth-and-four at the Pittsburgh 30-yard line, Sherman looked toward Longwell with 3:46 left in the game. Facing a stifling wind, Longwell had set the 25-yard line as the limit

"That was out of our range," Longwell said.

The Packers passed on the 47-yard field goal as a result, opting to put the ball in Brett Favre's hands. His pass for tight end Bubba Franks fell incomplete.

"I didn't feel like we could make it at that point," Sherman said. "I didn't feel the confidence level that that was a makeable field goal."

Longwell's missed field goal did not cost the Packers the game, but it contributed to the mistakes the Packers made during a game where they moved the ball down the field effectively.

Twice in the third quarter, the Packers drove inside the Pittsburgh 20-yard line and came up with zero points.

"We left plays on the field," Favre said.

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