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AP Story: Patriots Beat Packers 27-3


Tom Brady and Corey Dillon heeded their coach's advice to treat New England's trip to Green Bay just like a regular-season game.

Brady guided the Patriots on five scoring drives, even though only one of them was longer than 41 yards, and Dillon ran for two touchdowns in a 27-3 rout of the Packers on a rainy Friday night.

New England coach Bill Belichick had warned his players to view their first trip to Lambeau Field in eight years as more than a mere exhibition, and you can bet the Packers are glad this one didn't count.

They had a forgettable first half that included numerous breakdowns on special teams and eight accepted penalties. Brett Favre threw two interceptions - a third was wiped out by a flag - and he lost receivers Javon Walker (finger) and Antonio Chatman (neck) on the same series.

"We seem to be in tough situations more times that we should be," Packers coach Mike Sherman lamented at halftime. "But certainly the special teams didn't help us again and penalties have been a nemesis of ours and continue to be."

Things only got worse when Ahman Green fumbled the ball on the Packers' first snap after halftime.

Linebacker Chad Brown punched the ball loose and Willie McGinest recovered Green's third fumble of the preseason at the Packers' 27, setting up Dillon's second TD run, from 3 yards out, for a 27-3 lead.

Favre completed 9-of-21 passes for 69 yards and had a paltry passer rating of 11.9 before giving way to rookie Aaron Rodgers, whose unimpressive training camp continued with a showing of 5-for-9 for 52 yards with an interception while playing with the first string for the first time.

Dillon gained 70 yards on 14 carries and Brady completed 12 of 21 passes for 127 yards. He capped an impressive 77-yard drive with a 12-yard touchdown toss to David Givens that made it 17-3 in the second quarter.

Randall Gay intercepted Favre's pass into coverage with 1:21 left in the first half, leading to Adam Vinatieri's 37-yard field goal that made it 20-3 at halftime. Vinatieri kicked a 44-yarder following Favre's first interception.

The Patriots needed just two minutes to get into the end zone after Ellis Hobbs returned the opening kickoff 43 yards and Earl Little's face mask penalty tacked on five more. Dillon covered the final 28 yards in three carries, the payoff coming on a 12-yard cutback behind a key block by rookie lineman Logan Mankins.

The Packers committed three penalties on their first possession, which ended with Favre throwing an interception on third-and-35 to Asante Samuel, who returned the pick 29 yards to the Green Bay 32.

"You're not going to convert too many of those," Favre said. "Penalties killed us there. Throwing the ball to the other team isn't going to get it done either."

Samuel's second interception - and 41-yard return to the Packers' 17 - was negated by linebacker Don Davis' holding infraction, but it proved costly nonetheless. Chatman sprained his neck on the play, and later in the series Walker dislocated a finger on his right hand when he couldn't handle Favre's fastball.

Ryan Longwell kicked a 26-yard field goal after a punt bounced off Tyrone Poole and into the arms of Green Bay gunner Chris Johnson inside the Patriots' 10.

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