Notebook: Tight Ends Get Involved, In End Zone

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - On a day the Packers’ receiving corps was a little depleted, the tight end tandem of Bubba Franks and Donald Lee helped to compensate in a big way. The duo grabbed four receptions and one touchdown apiece in the 35-13 victory over the Giants. - More Audio | Video | Packers-Giants Game Center


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - On a day the Packers' receiving corps was a little depleted, the tight end tandem of Bubba Franks and Donald Lee helped to compensate in a big way.

With receiver Greg Jennings missing his second straight game with a hamstring injury and Carlyle Holiday going on injured reserve on Saturday, Franks and Lee grabbed four receptions and one touchdown apiece in the 35-13 victory over the Giants.

"We plan to do that every week, but it doesn't work like that," Lee said. "We were fortunate enough today where everything went the way we practiced. Some weeks it just doesn't work out the way you draw it up. We're just happy to get the win and look forward to next week."

Franks got the offense going with a 2-yard TD reception from Brett Favre on the opening drive of the second half. It was the veteran's first TD catch in nearly two years, dating back to Oct. 30, 2005, at Cincinnati.

"I almost forgot how to celebrate, but it felt pretty good," said Franks, who let loose with a rather demonstrative spike in the end zone on his 30th career TD catch. "Thanks to Brett for throwing it to me."

The tight ends continued their solid work on the Packers' next possession, an 80-yard TD drive. With the Packers clinging to a 14-13 lead, Lee converted a crucial third-and-2 with a 14-yard grab, moving the ball across midfield. Franks followed with catches for 8 and 3 yards and, after two passes to Donald Driver, Lee capped the march with a 3-yard TD catch in the back of the end zone. The nicely feathered pass by Favre put the Packers ahead 28-13 early in the fourth quarter.

Lee had four catches for 35 yards on the day. Franks added a 7-yard catch helping to set up the offense's next score, and he finished with four catches for 20 yards. As the only two tight ends on the active roster, Franks and Lee are carrying a hefty workload, but provided they can stay healthy they aren't going to complain.

"At the start of training camp, we tried to make more of a conscious effort to get those guys involved," Favre said. "Rightfully so. When you're catching passes and touchdowns, it's a lot more exciting to play that position.

"The downside is, there's only two of them, and it's hard to line up with two tight ends and run the ball and occasionally throw it and not get pooped out. But I can't say enough about the effort that those two guys have given not only today but this whole training camp."

Special again

Last week the Packers' special teams accounted for two turnovers, setting up 10 points, on muffed punts.

On Sunday, the special teams came through again, forcing a fumble on a kickoff that the offense converted into a key touchdown.

"Every week on special teams, we're going to do our part," said Charlie Peprah, who forced the crucial fumble.

The Packers had just taken a 21-13 lead on Lee's TD catch when Giants kickoff return man Ahmad Bradshaw was hit hard in the hole by Peprah, who put his helmet right on the ball and popped it loose.

"I just came down from the backside -- I was squeezing and came through unblocked, and I saw him cutback so I just hit him, and I felt the ball just drop," Peprah said. "I'm looking down for it, I couldn't find it, but Tracy White jumped on it and got the ball back for us."

White's recovery at the bottom of the pile gave the Packers a first down at the New York 22, and the offense needed just five plays to score and stretch the lead to 15 points.

{sportsad300}Moving up the charts

With his eight catches for 73 yards, Driver moved into fifth on the franchise's all-time list for receptions with 435, surpassing Antonio Freeman (431). He also became the seventh player in team history to surpass 6,000 career receiving yards. Driver now has 6,068.

His 10-yard touchdown catch from Favre in the fourth quarter was the 35th for the duo, matching the Lynn Dickey-Paul Coffman combination for third on the Packers' all-time list.

That play, with Driver snagging a Favre bullet and tiptoeing his feet down in the back of the end zone, was actually a busted play. Favre checked out of a running play at the last possible second and couldn't even recall if he shouted out a protection assignment to the line.

Driver simply improvised and found an opening in the middle of the defense, something he's done countless times for his quarterback.

"He knows me," Driver said. "Every time there's a broken play I'm going to find the back of the end zone some kind of way. He found me in the hole. I went behind the safeties and he never covered me. It was a big play."

Select company

Defensive end Aaron Kampman's sack of Eli Manning in the fourth quarter was the 30th of his career, making him one of only eight Packers to record each the 30-sack mark for the green and gold.

On the play, Kampman beat his man to the outside and swatted the ball from Manning's hand. The fumble was recovered by the Giants.

It was the first sack of the year for Kampman, who led the NFC with 15 1/2 last season. The Packers finished with two sacks on the day, as Corey Williams sacked Giants backup quarterback Jared Lorenzen late in the game. Williams has two sacks this season.

New rule

A new rule instituted this year makes it a delay of game for a player to spike the ball at the end of a non-scoring play, and it worked in the Packers' favor late in the first half.

With the Giants facing third-and-4 on the Green Bay 30-yard line, Jeremy Shockey caught a pass with enough yardage for a first down, but he spiked the ball after the play. The delay of game penalty offset with an offsides call on Kampman at the snap, and the Giants had third down over again. An incomplete pass then led to a field goal and a 10-7 lead with 1:38 left in the half.

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