2004 Season In Review - 4th Quarter

Taking a final look back at the 2004 season for the Green Bay Packers, Packers.com brings you the final installment in a four-part series recapping the Pack's run for their third straight NFC North Division title. Here's a game-by-game look at the fourth quarter of the 2004 season.

**Green Bay Packers 16, Detroit Lions 13

Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Packers.com Fan Poll Player of the Game: Brett Favre**

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The Packers got their first taste of winter weather for the season as they began the fourth quarter at home against the Detroit Lions with winds howling through Lambeau Field in gusts over 40 miles per hour with intermittent snow flurries throughout the late afternoon contest.

Perhaps still feeling some effects from the previous week's debacle at Philadelphia, the Packers played a lackluster first half and found themselves trailing the Lions 13-0 at the intermission. The home team managed just 78 yards of offense as both quarterbacks, Brett Favre and Detroit's Joey Harrington found the wind to be as tough as any defense either had faced all season.

Favre snapped out of it after halftime, though, and completed 16 of 21 passes in the second half after a 3-for-15 showing prior to the break. The future Hall of Famer led the Packers on four unanswered scoring drives over the final 30 minutes and wound up with 188 yards on the day, compared to Harrington's 47. The most impressive drive of the afternoon was a 10-play, 90-yard march in the third quarter that culminated in a 23-yard Favre touchdown pass into the wind to Donald Driver.

On that long drive, the Packers were able to overcome having another score negated as rookie center Scott Wells was flagged for a questionable holding call that brought back a 79-yard screen pass to Ahman Green that would have been good for six points.

As was becoming his routine throughout 2004, Ryan Longwell found himself playing the role of hero and this blustery December afternoon was no different. After leveling the score at 13-13 with his second field goal of the second half early in the fourth period, the kicker was called upon to knock home the game-winner with five seconds remaining. Longwell calculated the howling breeze and powered a 23-yarder through the goalpost to lift the Packers to a 16-13 victory.

**Jacksonville Jaguars 28, Green Bay Packers 25

Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Packers.com Fan Poll Player of the Game: Javon Walker**

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For the second straight week, the Packers played host to a frigid late afternoon game at Lambeau Field, this time welcoming the Jacksonville Jaguars to town. The temperature at the 3:15 p.m. kickoff read 12°, but as the sun set the mercury dipped into the single digits with wind chills well below zero.

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Somewhat surprisingly, the visitors from Florida seemed to be unfazed by the conditions and pulled off the upset, thanks in large part to five Green Bay turnovers. Running back Fred Taylor keyed the Jaguars attack, running for 165 yards and a touchdown.

The Jaguars committed a few turnovers of their own, with Darren Sharper taking advantage of one on one of the stranger plays of the season. Jacksonville quarterback Byron Leftwich dropped back to pass in the second quarter and was hit from behind by Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, knocking the ball forward out of his hand. Many players figured the play was over as an incomplete pass, but after not hearing a whistle, Sharper alertly swiped the ball away from offensive lineman Vince Manuwai and sprinted 15 yards for a Green Bay touchdown and a 10-7 lead.

The Packers were unable to overcome three second half Brett Favre interceptions, all of them coming on the Jacksonville side of the field including one in the end zone. Favre also threw two touchdowns and connected with Javon Walker on 11 passes for 152 yards.

The Jaguars' first visit to Green Bay will likely be remembered for one play. As the Packers were attempting to make a fourth quarter comeback, Favre completed a 31-yard pass down the middle of the field to Robert Ferguson. Just as Ferguson caught the ball, Jacksonville safety Donovin Darius hit the receiver with a clothesline across the neck and head, removing Ferguson's helmet in the process. Darius was ejected from the game and Ferguson was temporarily paralyzed by the blow. Ferguson was carted off the field on a stretcher and spent two nights in the hospital as a result of the hit and would miss the remainder of the season.

The Packers' comeback attempts fell just short as they were unable to recover an onside kick after closing the gap to 28-25 with just over a minute to play. Although the loss dropped Green Bay's record to 8-6 on the year, losses by other NFC teams were enough to clinch a playoff berth for the Green and Gold, not that that was any consolation.

**Green Bay Packers 34, Minnesota Vikings 31

Metrodome, Minneapolis, MN

Friday, December 24, 2004

Packers.com Fan Poll Player of the Game: Brett Favre**

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The Packers and Vikings renewed hostilities in a Christmas Eve game with the NFC North Division title at stake. Much like the two teams' first meeting of the season, this game would turn out to be an offensive showcase.

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Once again, Brett Favre and Daunte Culpepper traded touchdown passes and racked up big numbers, this time combining for six TDs and 650 yards between them. Favre, who completed 30 out of 43 passes for 365 yards and three touchdowns on the afternoon, was able to overcome a fourth quarter interception that was returned for six points to lead another last-second scoring drive.

Playing without their injured teammate Robert Ferguson, Donald Driver and Javon Walker each continued to put up big numbers just as they had done all year long. Driver tied a career-high with 11 catches for a new personal-best 162 yards and a touchdown. Walker caught five balls for 90 yards, drawing multiple purple-shirted defenders for most of the game. Tight end Bubba Franks made the most of his lone catch of the day, finding the end zone from 22 yards out.

The visitors made big plays in big situations on this day, converting a pair of fourth-and-goal situations into crucial touchdowns. The first came on a one-yard plunge by Ahman Green in the second quarter to knot the score at 7-7. The second conversion tied the game 31-31 when Favre found Driver over the middle at the goal line from three yards out with 3:34 to play.

In a situation that seemed to come straight out of the movie "Groundhog Day," kicker Ryan Longwell was summoned to break the 31-31 tie with :03 showing on the scoreboard clock. For the fourth time on the season and second against the Vikings, Longwell's kick was true and his 29-yarder gave the Green and Gold a 34-31 victory and their third straight NFC North crown.

**Green Bay Packers 31, Chicago Bears 14

Soldier Field, Chicago, IL

Sunday, January 2, 2005

Packers.com Fan Poll Player of the Game: Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila**

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With the division title clinched and a home playoff game locked up, there was much speculation heading into the regular season finale regarding the Packers' motivation and how long Head Coach Mike Sherman would have his regulars on the field.

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After an early Chicago touchdown, the Packers answered any questions about this being a "meaningless" game with a barrage of four unanswered touchdowns in a span of just over 12 minutes in the first and second quarters.

Brett Favre played into the second quarter and looked very sharp, throwing a pair of touchdowns on 9-of-13 passing for 196 yards. Craig Nall took over under center with the Pack leading 21-7 and picked up where Favre left off, completing 7 of 13 passes on the day for 131 yards and a touchdown of his own.

Three different Packers were on the receiving end of the scoring strikes. Bubba Franks leapt to pull in a 17-yarder from Favre in the first quarter to get Green Bay on the scoreboard. Pro Bowl fullback William Henderson got open along the right sideline and caught a career-long 38-yard pass from Favre to give the visitors a lead they wouldn't relinquish. Fellow Pro Bowler Javon Walker pulled in Nall's TD strike, closing out a fantastic season with a 25-yarder for his 12th score of the year.

While the offense was clicking right along, the defense had a big day as well, matching a franchise record with nine sacks of Chicago quarterback Chad Hutchinson on the afternoon. Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila set a new career-high with four sacks to push him to 13.5 for the season. Five other Packers got in on the sack act and Darren Sharper scored his third touchdown of the year when he picked off a Hutchinson pass and returned it 43 yards for six points.

All in all, it was a very successful day for the Packers as they were able to avenge the early-season loss to their oldest rivals and posted their sixth road victory on the season, the best away record for a Green Bay team since 1972.

**Minnesota Vikings 31, Green Bay Packers 17

NFC Wild Card Playoff Game

Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI

Sunday, January 9, 2005

Packers.com Fan Poll Player of the Game: Donald Driver**

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After defeating them twice in dramatic fashion during the regular season, the Packers played host to the Minnesota Vikings in an NFC Wild Card Playoff Game, the first-ever meeting between the two clubs in the postseason. Green Bay was unable to pull off the trifecta against the Vikings, falling to their rivals in a less than stellar performance.

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While the first two meetings on the season produced a pair of classic quarterback duels, Daunte Culpepper was able to put on a repeat performance but Brett Favre wasn't up to the task on this January evening. The Minnesota passer threw for 284 yards and four touchdowns, while Favre struggled throughout the game and was intercepted four times with just one TD pass.

The Vikings sprinted out to an early 17-0 lead less than 10 minutes into the game. Aided by some poor tackling by the home team, Culpepper threw a pair of first quarter TDs before Ryan Longwell got the Packers on the board with a 43-yard field goal late in the opening period.

A four-yard touchdown pass from Favre to Bubba Franks cut the deficit to seven points, but after Favre's second interception of the day, the Vikings quickly struck to return the margin to 14. Najeh Davenport's one-yard TD run in the fourth quarter made it a one-score game again at 24-17, only to see Culpepper put the game away with a 34-yard scoring pass to Randy Moss, the receiver's second of the evening.

Injuries depleted the Packers' receiving corps in this one with Javon Walker being forced from the game in the first half with a shin injury. His knock - coupled with the absence of Robert Ferguson - left Donald Driver as the lone member of Green Bay's primary trio of wideouts. Driver led the team with seven catches for 78 yards, but the Pack's effort fell short and brought the 2004 season to a close.

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