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AP Story: Packers Defeat 49ers, 20-14


The Green Bay Packers know a few things about beating the elements.

Brett Favre passed for 201 yards in a steady downpour, and the Green Bay defense stopped one last rain-soaked drive at its own 11 with 22 seconds left as the Packers beat the San Francisco 49ers 20-14 on Sunday.

Ahman Green ran for 90 yards and a touchdown, and Donald Driver caught a TD pass as the Packers shrugged off the pelting rain and swirling wind of Candlestick Park to score 17 points in the second half while holding San Francisco scoreless in the fourth quarter.

The Packers (11-3) have seen much worse than a little rain _ the icy cold and wind of their playoff victory over San Francisco last January, for example. Green Bay won its third straight while limiting the Niners' offense to 263 total yards and earning homefield advantage in any possible playoff meeting between the teams.

After Ryan Longwell's 28-yard field goal with 4:41 left, Jeff Garcia drove the 49ers from their 26 to the 11 before throwing three incompletions, including a low throw under pressure to Eric Johnson on fourth down.

Both teams already clinched their divisions and playoff berths with victories in recent weeks.

While some of Green Bay's worries on offense abated in the second half, the NFC West champion 49ers (9-5) again looked bad while losing for the third time in five games. San Francisco lost at Candlestick Park for the third time this season after losing just once at home last season.

Terrell Owens caught eight passes for 75 yards and a touchdown which he punctuated with a pompom-waving celebration but the 49ers struggled to move the ball. Owens caught his career-best 100th pass of the season, but he faced double coverage on the final plays.

Some of the worst rains in recent years pelted the San Francisco Bay area all weekend, and the field at Candlestick Park was soaked through. Flooded parking lots made tailgating difficult, and nearly all the fans in the sellout crowd wore rain gear.

The conditions made downfield passes tricky and affected both offensive lines' ability to block _ and neither team managed 100 total yards in a first half featuring six punts and three field goals.

But the Packers immediately took control after halftime, and Favre broke through a conservative game plan to throw downfield. Favre led a 79-yard drive from the kickoff, with Green scoring on a 9-yard run.

When San Francisco got the ball back, Garcia threw a pass as he was being tackled _ and it ricocheted off the back of offensive guard Matt Willig and into the hands of Green Bay end Vonnie Holliday, who lateraled the ball to Na'il Diggs for a long return.

Favre struck again, hitting Donald Driver for a 5-yard TD that put Green Bay up 17-6.

But instead of giving in, the 49ers finally woke up. Owens caught a long pass down the sideline and then discarded would-be tackler Mike McKenzie like a rain poncho on the way to the end zone, where he picked up two pompoms from the 49ers' cheerleaders and danced along for a moment.

Ignoring the steadily increasing rain, Favre led another drive that ended in a missed field goal by Longwell with 10:37 left. But the Green Bay defense forced another punt, and Longwell made his second field goal.

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