AP Story: Packers Fall To Buccaneers 21-7


Brett Favre was no match for the NFL's top-ranked defense.

Tampa Bay intercepted Favre four times and Brad Johnson threw two second-half touchdown passes Sunday as the Buccaneers beat the Packers 21-7 in a meeting of the teams with the best record in the league.

Favre was sacked three times and had little success against the vaunted Bucs defense after taking advantage of Tampa Bay's only turnover to give the Packers (8-3) a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.

The Bucs (9-2) are off to their best start ever and thrust themselves into position to make a run for home-field advantage in the playoffs, which would be major for a franchise that's never won a postseason game on the road.

Johnson returned from being poked in the right eye to throw TD passes of 4 yards to Joe Jurevicius and 3 yards to Ken Dilger. Martin Gramatica kicked field goals of 38 and 51 yards for the Bucs, who trailed 7-3 at the half.

Brian Kelly had two interceptions, setting up Tampa Bay's first TD and stopping another drive deep in Bucs territory with Favre working feverishly to try to wipe out a two-touchdown deficit in the last five minutes.

Ronde Barber stepped in front of a slant pass intended for Terry Glenn to turn back another threat and Dexter Jackson's interception and 58-yard return to the Green Bay 5 led to Johnson's TD pass to Dilger.

Favre, who dropped to 0-5 at Raymond James Stadium, finished 20-of-38 for 196 yards. Johnson was 15-of-25 for 134 yards with no interceptions.

Favre's 4-yard TD pass to Donald Driver was his 20th of the season, giving him nine consecutive years with 20 or more _ one shy of the NFL record set by Dan Marino from 1983-92. Linebacker Na'il Diggs set up the score with his 29-yard return of an interception that glanced off Keyshawn Johnson after Tampa Bay had marched from its own 20 to the Green Bay 33.

Brad Johnson missed most of the opening quarter after being poked in the eye. Rob Johnson replaced him a little over five minutes into the game and threw the pass that Diggs picked off three plays later.

The Packers also sacked Rob Johnson twice to stop another promising drive and Brad Johnson re-entered the game after Tampa Bay's backup was unable to move the ball on the Bucs' first possession in the second quarter.

Tampa Bay's defense, which has only allowed five TD passes all season, gave up little after Favre took advantage of the Bucs' only turnover. The Packers were held to 28 yards in the second quarter and went three-and-out on four straight possessions during a stretch of the second and third quarters while Green Bay's lead was being trimmed to 7-6.

The Bucs went ahead when coach Jon Gruden successfully challenged a ruling that Jurevicius didn't get both feet down in the end zone on his TD catch. Replays showed that the receiver got his right foot down after catching the ball, then managed to tap his left foot before going out of bounds.

Favre is 14-6 with 34 touchdown passes during his career against Tampa Bay. But he's also thrown 19 interceptions against the Bucs, who lead the NFL this season with 25.

-- Associated Press

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