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Notebook: Ryan Punts With Heavy Heart


Despite the passing of his father just two days earlier, Green Bay punter Jon Ryan never considered not taking the field on Sunday for the Packers.

But that didn't make it easy to be out there.

"Not playing didn't cross my mind once," Ryan said. "It wasn't even my decision. It was my dad's decision.

"I knew my dad would want me out there playing today, but at the same time under the circumstances it was very difficult."

Ryan performed admirably, averaging 39.5 yards on two punts. His first punt was a high 41-yarder that was caught at the New York 17-yard line, and the Jets' Leon Washington was tackled for no gain.

"It hit me pretty hard before kickoff and again after that first punt," he said. "I kind of came off the field with a tear in my eye. It was very difficult and I was definitely feeling it a little bit."

Sunday continued an emotionally trying season for Ryan, who found out during training camp that his father had terminal cancer. An avid Packers fan, Ryan's father was proud his son had made it in the NFL in Green Bay and had come here to see his son punt twice this season, in the preseason finale against Tennessee and again on a surprise visit on Oct. 29 vs. Arizona.

Unfortunately, the elder Ryan's condition worsened quickly after that and Jon flew home to Regina, Saskatchewan, earlier this week to be with his father one last time.

"It meant a lot to me," Ryan said. "It's a day that I'll never forget and it's something I'll have with me forever. I have no regrets and I'm definitely glad I went back home to see him."

Ryan was planning to drive to Milwaukee on Sunday night with his girlfriend and then fly back to Canada Monday morning. Services for his father were scheduled for Monday night and he plans to be back at practice on Wednesday.

Ryan said he felt his dad had the "best seats in the house" on Sunday. He also said quarterback Brett Favre talked with him briefly the other day, relating the story of how his father passed away on the eve of a late-season Monday night game in 2003.

"He said my dad and his dad were probably up there joking around right now," Ryan said. "Things like that make me feel a little bit better, to think of that."

Another pick

Cornerback Charles Woodson continued his solid play in 2006 with his third interception in the past two games.

On the Jets' first play of the second half, Woodson intercepted Chad Pennington on a deep pass intended for Justin McCareins at the Green Bay 13-yard line. It was Pennington's first mistake on the day after completing 22 of 29 for 241 yards in the first half. Patrick Dendy then got another interception on New York's next series.

"I guess (there was) better recognition of what was going on and putting ourselves in a position to make some plays," Woodson said. "We did a better job but it was way too late at that point."

Woodson, who had two interceptions last week at Seattle, now has five on the season, tying his career high set as a rookie in 1998 with Oakland.

Streak alive

It took until the second half, but receiver Donald Driver did catch a pass to extend his streak to 76 straight games with at least one catch. Driver caught a 10-yard pass midway through the third quarter and seemed to come alive, adding a 20-yard TD reception later in the period to pull the Packers within 31-10. He finished with three catches for 41 yards.

The franchise's longest reception streak belongs to Sterling Sharpe at 103 games from 1988 to 1994.

The touchdown catch from Brett Favre was the 32nd for the duo, tying them for No. 5 on the franchise's all-time list with the Lynn Dickey-James Lofton and Favre-Robert Brooks tandems.

{sportsad300}Onside kick works

Thanks to the replay review system, the Packers' onside kick late in the third quarter was successful.

Trailing 31-10, Green Bay's Jason Hunter came out of the scramble with the ball at the Packers' 33-yard line, but it was initially ruled that teammate Patrick Dendy had illegally touched the ball before it went 10 yards.

Head Coach Mike McCarthy challenged the call, and replays showed that the Jets' Anthony Schlegel had reached around Dendy and touched it first, so the call was overturned and the Packers got the ball.

Unfortunately, the offense couldn't seize the momentum, going three-and-out and having to punt.

"We're obviously thinking we're still in it," center Scott Wells said. "That would be a huge comeback, but it's still possible.

"Mentally we think we still have a shot, but we didn't execute. We got the ball back on the onside kick and didn't do anything with it."

Injury update

Linebacker Nick Barnett played with a bulky club cast on his broken right hand, and safety Nick Collins played despite a sore hamstring he battled all week.

The pair ended up as the defense's leading tacklers, with Barnett recording 11 total tackles (six solo) and Collins getting nine (seven solo).

Barnett said the club is rather heavy but he didn't think it affected his play too much.

"It does take some getting used to, and I still have to get used to it," he said. "I started to feel it at the end of the first half, but when I came back out the pain settled down and I was ready to go."

Collins said he had no trouble with his hamstring, and McCarthy reported no additional injuries from the game.

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