Notebook: Bush Sparks Special Teams

Second-year pro Jarrett Bush spent most of training camp nailing down the nickel cornerback spot on defense. But on Sunday, Bush made his biggest mark in the area that got him noticed as a rookie last year - on special teams. - More Audio | Video | Packers-Eagles Game Center


Second-year pro Jarrett Bush spent most of training camp nailing down the nickel cornerback spot on defense.

But on Sunday, Bush made his biggest mark in the area that got him noticed as a rookie last year - on special teams.

Bush was directly involved in the two big special teams turnovers that set up 10 points for the Packers, the bulk of their scoring in the 16-13 victory over the Eagles at Lambeau Field on Sunday.

In the first quarter, Bush laid a big hit on punt returner Greg Lewis as he muffed a punt, and the ensuing scramble for the ball resulted in a Tracy White recovery in the end zone for a Green Bay touchdown.

Then in the fourth quarter with the score tied at 13, Bush ran right next to punt returner J.R. Reed as he dove and muffed another punt, and Bush pounced on it with 59 seconds left to set up Mason Crosby's game-winning field goal.

The Eagles vehemently protested the latter recovery, as a Philadelphia player emerged from the pile with the ball. But Bush was on it first, one official signaled early that it was first down Green Bay's way, and the officiating crew stood by the call after a brief conference.

"I heard the ref say Green Bay had the ball, so even though Philadelphia guy came out with it, I was just hoping they realized I had the ball first," Bush said. "I told my coach on the sidelines, 'They took it from me, straight up. I can't lie about it.'"

In the interest of civility, Bush didn't get into all the goings-on down underneath the pile on such a crucial recovery. But he did say the big plays on special teams were a product of the concerted effort throughout mini-camps, OTAs and training camp to make the return and coverage units more effective.

"We had to make a big statement," said Bush, who finished third on the team in special teams tackles a year ago. "We weren't ranked very high in special teams last year, so we made it a point all offseason to work on special teams. They had us tongues hanging out working on special teams. Now we proved it on the field, and we have to prove it day in and day out."

Tying the mark

With the win, Brett Favre moved out of a second-place tie with Dan Marino on the all-time quarterback wins list and into a first-place tie with John Elway with 148 victories.

It's a mark that carries some significance for the 17-year veteran, but at the same time he doesn't think numbers like that should be attached to an individual.

"I think ultimately you're judged by wins and losses, but I've always said this -- I think that is an unfair stat to the rest of my team," Favre said. "How can a quarterback who is one of 53 be labeled with wins and losses and not the center or the safety or whatever? But that's the way it is, and I'm glad there's a lot more wins than there is losses."

Favre's career regular-season record is 148-90, a winning percentage of .622.

Harris injures elbow, returns

The Packers lost one of their key defensive veterans for a short stretch on Sunday when starting cornerback Al Harris hyperextended his right elbow while blocking on a Charles Woodson punt return in the first quarter.

{sportsad300}Harris went to the locker room to have the elbow examined and missed the Eagles' 13-play drive for a field goal for their first points. He returned with his right elbow heavily taped during Philadelphia's next possession and played the rest of the game. His biggest play was breaking up a deep pass into the end zone intended for Kevin Curtis midway through the third quarter.

Harris said he had little range of motion in the elbow, and the tape job kept it immobilized at roughly a 90-degree angle.

"I've played with broken ribs, I've played with ... I can fight through it," said Harris, stating that coming out of the game was not an option. "I just had to stay close enough to (the receivers) to where I could put my hands on them."

Harris said he hadn't been on a punt return team since 2002, when he was with the Eagles, and doesn't expect to get that duty again after what happened. How much the injury will limit him in practice this week is unknown at this point, but his cornerback mate, who battled through his share of injuries a year ago, knew he wouldn't take himself out of the game if he could help it.

"I think everybody thought it was worse than what it was," Woodson said. "I'm sure it was hurting, but if it wasn't broken or anything like that, you knew he would be back out there."

Hands up

Defensive tackle Johnny Jolly got his first NFL start on Sunday and led the team in a category not normally reserved for those in the trenches: passes defensed.

Three times Jolly batted down Donovan McNabb's passes at the line of scrimmage, a skill Jolly shows regularly in practice, when he occasionally comes up with an interception.

Jolly said he was keeping an eye on McNabb's dropbacks to try to read when he was looking for a shallow crossing route, and then react accordingly. His third batted ball was the most critical, coming with about six minutes left in the fourth quarter and helping force a Philadelphia punt.

"I just tried to stay in front of Donovan and mirror him and get my hands up when he threw it because I knew it was coming low," Jolly said.

Next man in

In the third quarter, starting right guard Jason Spitz left the game with a cramp in his calf, presumably the same calf that has bothered him in the past and forced him to miss the final preseason game.

Third-year lineman Junius Coston, who has been groomed as the top substitute at three of the five offensive line positions, took Spitz's place and played the rest of the game.

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