AP Story: Packers Defeat Panthers, 17-14


Happy anniversary, Brett Favre.

Ten years and two days after becoming Green Bay's starting quarterback, Favre found Donald Driver for a 22-yard touchdown with 4:10 left, leading the Packers to a 17-14 victory against the Carolina Panthers.

Shayne Graham, signed by the Panthers two days ago to bolster their kicking game, missed a 24-yard field goal with 13 seconds left that would have tied the game.

Favre was 18 of 32 for 200 yards with one interception. He now has 3,414 career completions, passing Joe Montana for fifth place on the all-time list. Driver had the first two-touchdown game of his career -- though he caught the first one from Bubba Franks on a trick play in the second quarter.

Steve Smith filled in nicely for injured leading receiver Muhsin Muhammad, catching five passes for 116 yards, and Lamar Smith rushed for 66 yards and two scores. But it wasn't enough for the Panthers (3-1), who lost their first game of the season.

This wasn't the best effort for the Packers (3-1), whose offense looked sloppy and couldn't take advantage of some Carolina gifts. But Favre is a master of late rallies, and he pulled off another one.

Getting the ball back at his own 35 with 6:29 left, he was sacked for a 9-yard loss on the first play. Two plays later, he was picked off by Carolina linebacker Mark Fields as he tried to find Driver deep.

But cornerback Emmanuel McDaniel was called for pass interference, giving the Packers the ball at the Carolina 29.

After a 7-yard run by Najeh Davenport, Favre looked to Driver again. This time, Driver beat McDaniel and scored on a 22-yard completion. As Driver leaped into the stands, Favre ran toward the end zone, jumping up and down and waving his fists in celebration like a little kid.

The Panthers weren't done yet, though. Carolina got all the way to the Green Bay 5 after two third-down penalties against the Packers, but the Panthers stalled there.

Peete was tackled for a 1-yard loss on third-and-4, bringing on Graham. He was 6-of-8 on field goal attempts last season with Buffalo, but he just missed on the 24-yard attempt and the ball sailed wide right.

Carolina coach John Fox dropped his head, while Packers coach Mike Sherman threw up his arms in triumph. He quickly found Favre, and the two embraced on the field.

The Packers threw some quirks into this game. With less than two minutes left in the second quarter, Favre took the snap at the Carolina 36, dropped back a couple of yards and threw the ball to Franks.

Franks then found Driver for a 31-yard touchdown pass.

Officials initially said the Packers had thrown two forward passes, drawing a loud chorus of boos from the Lambeau Field faithful. Sherman was called for unsportsmanlike conduct for swearing at the officials.

But replays clearly showed Favre's pass to Franks was backward, and officials agreed after reviewing the play.

-- Associated Press

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