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Notebook: Rayner Ties Franchise Record


PHILADELPHIA -- Kicker Dave Rayner hit the first long field goal of his career and while he was at it landed in the Packers record book.

In the second quarter of Monday night's 31-9 loss at Philadelphia, Rayner nailed a 54-yarder, tying the franchise record for longest field goal. Chris Jacke had a 54-yarder on Jan. 2, 1994, at Detroit, and Ryan Longwell had one on Dec. 16, 2001, at Tennessee.

Coincidentally, the Packers lost both of those games as well.

But for Rayner, a second-year kicker who attempted and missed just one field goal as a rookie with Indianapolis (from 59 yards out), the effort was more about proving himself than getting a record. He had missed his first long test of this season, a 53-yarder against Chicago in Week 1.

"Obviously I've got a long way to go," Rayner said. "But I think that was a big thing, that nobody said that I had kicked any long field goals in games."

Rayner opened the game with a 23-yard field goal and added a 46-yard field goal late in the second quarter to give the Packers a 9-7 halftime lead. He tried another 54-yarder in the third quarter and got plenty of leg behind it but missed wide left.

"That would have been a career night right there, 4-for-4," Rayner said. "But that's not how it went. Give me that kick five more times I'll hit four of them. But it didn't come together on that one."

Not quite 100

Starting at tailback for an injured Ahman Green (hamstring), Vernand Morency had a respectable 26 carries for 99 yards. But that 100th yard sure proved awfully tough to get.

On the Packers' final possession of the fourth quarter, Morency got four straight carries from inside the Eagles' 2-yard line but couldn't score. On first down, he got to the 1 for his 99th yard, but he was stuffed for no gain on second, third and fourth downs to close out another frustrating Packers trip to Philadelphia.

After the game, Morency wasn't entirely pleased with his performance but was most displeased at the final score.

"All that kind of goes to waste when you come back in the locker room with a loss," Morency said. "The only positive thing is you have film where you can go ahead and correct your mistakes."

For Morency, the mistakes were primarily two plays. On one, he failed to secure a handoff from Brett Favre, and the fumble deep in Green Bay territory set up an Eagles' TD. The other came in the third quarter, when a short pass deflected off his hands for an Eagles' interception, setting up another score.

Still, Morency showed he has the potential to be an every-down back in just his second NFL start. His first came last year with the Houston Texans, who traded Morency to the Packers for Samkon Gado in Week 2.

In addition to the 99 yards rushing, which included a long run of 10, Morency added 19 yards receiving on six catches.

"He's a different type back than Ahman, and that's part of why we traded for him," Head Coach Mike McCarthy said. "He's a good change-of-pace back. I thought he had an opportunity tonight, he touched the ball 30-plus times, and I thought he competed and battled."

Scrambling McNabb

It was a hit-or-miss night for the Packers' pass rushers, as they sacked Donovan McNabb four times but in the second half allowed him to escape for some crucial scrambles.

On the opening drive of the third quarter, McNabb converted a pair of third-and-10s with scrambles of 14 and 12 yards, nullifying what was otherwise solid defense by the Packers. Those two key conversions set up a field goal that gave the Eagles the lead for good at 10-9.

McNabb's elusiveness is a double-edged sword for defenders, because if they rush him too hard, he'll exploit the over-aggressiveness by getting away to make big plays with his feet. But if they don't rush hard, they'll never get a sack. The four times the Packers did sack McNabb, it cost the Eagles 32 yards in losses.

"It's one of those deals, you can't go in tentatively," Kampman said. "We were all trying to get him. He's a great player, and he eluded a number of sacks. We could have had him four more times. You have to give him credit, he made some plays."

McNabb added a 15-yard TD run on a scramble, giving him two TD passse and two TD runs on the night. He finished with 288 yards passing and 47 rushing, accounting for all but 95 of the Eagles' yards.

Critical no-call

None of the Packers' three first-half scoring drives reached the end zone, but the third one would have had a better chance had the officials not missed an obvious pass interference call.

Facing third-and-10 at the Philadelphia 28 with just under two minutes left in the half, Favre threw over the middle to Greg Jennings, who was blanketed and clearly grabbed early by Eagles cornerback Joselio Hanson. A flag would have given the Packers an automatic first down, but instead they had to settle for a 46-yard Rayner field goal and a 9-7 lead.

Spitz rotates in

The Packers started the game with rookies Daryn Colledge at left guard and Tony Moll at right guard, but fellow rookie Jason Spitz rotated in on a couple of series at right guard.

There was no appreciable difference in the offensive performance when the change was made, but McCarthy indicated the competition created should help the team. Spitz was the opening day starter but hadn't played since Week 1 because of a bruised thigh.

"I think that's very healthy," McCarthy said of the rotation. "All three are on a pretty even plane of where they're at in their experience, and we'll just keep working with that combination. All signs looked like they went out there and competed and I think they got better today."

Henderson rushes over

Fullback William Henderson was not going to be activated for Monday night's game and as a result had permission to stay home to tend to some unspecified health issues with his wife and newborn child.

But when it became clear Green would not be healthy enough at running back, the Packers flew Henderson out to Philadelphia on Monday and suited him up. He got into the game as a substitute.

Injury update

McCarthy said after the game that Favre had a head injury as well as a neck/shoulder stinger, but he didn't think either was serious. Favre was replaced late in the fourth quarter by Aaron Rodgers, who completed 2 of 3 passes for 14 yards.

Other injuries of note were to Donald Lee, who hurt a knee on kickoff coverage and left the game. Receiver Robert Ferguson injured a foot returning a kickoff in the fourth quarter and was on crutches after the game.

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