AP Story: Packers Beat Falcons in OT, 37-34


Ryan Longwell's 34-yard field goal with 5:15 left in overtime gave Green Bay a 37-34 victory over the Atlanta Falcons on a steamy Sunday at Lambeau Field.

Atlanta's Jay Feely sent the game into overtime with a 52-yard field goal with five seconds left in regulation. That capped a six-play, 35-yard drive that followed William Henderson's dive into the end zone on fourth-and-inches with 1:10 left that had given Green Bay a 34-31 lead.

The Packers avenged their only home loss last year behind Brett Favre, who completed 25-of-36 passes for 284 yards and two touchdowns, and Ahman Green, who rushed 27 times for 155 yards.

Michael Vick, the top pick in last year's draft, had a remarkable 2002 debut, completing 15-of-23 passes for 209 yards and rushing nine times for 72 yards. He completed all 10 of his first-half passes as the Falcons built a 21-13 halftime lead.

Henderson was stuffed at the line but, still on top of bodies, he lunged the ball past the plane. Following a review of several minutes, referee Ron Winter said: "There is no indisputable evidence to change the call."

Henderson's TD capped a 14-play, 80-yard drive that began after Warrick Dunn's second TD, a 2-yard scamper with eight minutes left that put Atlanta ahead 31-27.

But the Falcons drove 35 yards in six plays to get into position for Feely's 52-yarder that easily cleared the crossbar.

Former Packers kick returner Allen Rossum, who returned one punt for 36 yards and six kickoffs for 156 yards, didn't get a chance to burn his former team in overtime.

His first chance was negated when another former Packer, Travis Jervey, ran into punter Josh Bidwell for a personal foul on the Packers' first possession.

He called for his only fair catch the next time, and the Falcons went three-and-out, setting up Green Bay's game-winning drive.

Favre's new trio of targets came up big.

Donald Driver had seven catches for 78 yards, Terry Glenn had two catches for 60 yards, and Javon Walker caught four passes for 56 yards and a touchdown. Green added six catches for 42 yards.

Green fumbled twice and left briefly in the second half with cramps. The temperature at kickoff was 83 degrees, tied for the warmest ever opening day reading in Green Bay.

Vick's receivers weren't as solid as Favre's.

Brian Finneran dropped a wide-open 60-yard touchdown pass, and Reggie Kelly dropped a 3-yard pass in the end zone when he was uncovered.

Rondell Mealey's 20-yard run on the opening drive of the third quarter pulled Green Bay to 21-20.

After Feely's 21-yarder made it 24-20, Walker's 13-yard TD gave Green Bay 27-24 lead with 30 seconds left in the third quarter.

Vick swept in from 2 yards out to give Atlanta a 7-3 lead. Although his right knee was down at the 2, the Packers didn't challenge the TD call.

They did dispute Green's first fumble that was recovered by Keion Carpenter at the Green Bay 28 on the Packers' next series, but the call was upheld. Four plays later, Warrick Dunn's 3-yard TD run made it 14-3.

-- Associated Press

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