Notebook: WRs Martin, Holiday Come Up Big


CHICAGO - Rookie receiver Greg Jennings was unavailable on Sunday night while tending to his wife and newborn daughter back in Green Bay.

But the Packers got some welcome production from his replacements.

Ruvell Martin started in Jennings' place and Carlyle Holiday moved up to the No. 3 receiver spot, and both contributed big plays, combining for eight catches and 163 yards in the first half alone.

"Those guys stepped up like true veterans," No. 1 receiver Donald Driver said. "They've been in this game for a while and they knew how to do it."

Driver said he told the other receivers late in the week he wasn't sure how much he'd be able to play with his injured shoulder, which forced him to miss the entire week of practice. Driver finished with just three catches for 23 yards, but together the duo of Martin and Holiday had 12 catches, accounting for 205 of quarterback Brett Favre's 285 passing yards.

"They design a lot of defenses to try to stop Donald, and that fails to work when you've got other guys who are stepping up and making plays," Martin said. "It was definitely big for our team today to have myself and Carlyle making some plays."

Jennings had traveled to Chicago with the team on Saturday but returned to Green Bay early Sunday and was ruled inactive for the game.

It didn't take long for his replacements to make their mark. On the Packers' opening touchdown drive, Holiday made catches of 35 and 13 yards, the latter a tough catch reaching behind to snag the ball and convert a third-and-8.

Later in the first half, Martin had catches of 33 and 34 yards on separate possessions, but unfortunately neither drive resulted in points. He then added an 18-yard catch to begin a drive that ended in a field goal in the final minute of the first half.

Martin finished the first half with a career-high five catches for 100 yards, his first 100-yard game as a pro. He added two more catches in the second half and had seven catches for 118 yards on the night.

"It means a lot," Martin said of his first truly big game as a pro. "I always want to show this team, this organization that I can play well. I'm happy that I got the opportunity and definitely that I took advantage of it."

Holiday also had a 15-yard reception on the field-goal drive late in the half, and he finished the game with five catches for 87 yards.

Green eclipses 1,000

On the game's opening drive, Ahman Green rushed four times for 13 yards, surpassing 1,000 yards for a franchise record sixth time on a 3-yard rush up the middle on the play before Favre's TD pass to Driver.

Green had shared the franchise record of five 1,000-yard seasons with Taylor and entered Sunday night's game with 988 yards. He finished with 22 carries for 71 yards, giving him 1,059 yards on the season.

"That's been my goal since Little League, just to get over 1,000," Green said. "Being a running back for as long as I've been, it's more of a pride factor to get over 1,000 yards. If you get 1,000 yards, your team is in a good situation at the end of the year."

Unfortunately, Green fell 46 yards short of breaking Taylor's franchise record of 8,207 career rushing yards. He needed 117 in the season's final game and now has 8,162. Green also has 1,810 career carries as a Packer, one short of Taylor's franchise mark.

"I know I've got a couple more years in me, so I'll get it," Green said. "Records are made to be broken. My goal is just to be productive on the football field, and I'll get it one day."

With four catches for 39 yards, Green also moved up to No. 7 on the franchise's all-time list for receptions with 346, surpassing Max McGee (345). Green's total is already the most ever by a Packers back.

Green's contract status is somewhat uncertain for next season, but he did indicate some discussions between the Packers and his agent have begun on a new deal.

{sportsad300}Kampman just short

Defensive end Aaron Kampman failed to add to his career-high 15 1/2 sacks on Sunday night, thereby ending the season first in the NFC and second in the NFL. San Diego's Shawne Merriman, who had a sack on Sunday finished season as the NFL leader with 17.

Rayner recovers

Kicker Dave Rayner recovered from a rough start to his night.

On the Packers' second touchdown, his extra point attempt hit the left upright and was no good. He then missed a 32-yard field goal attempt early in the second quarter, badly hooking the kick low and left.

But Rayner came back to hit a 25-yard field goal in the final minute of the first half, and he was also good from 46 yards early in the fourth quarter, stretching Green Bay's lead to 26-7.

Favre-Driver keep climbing

With his first-quarter touchdown reception, Driver recorded his 34th career scoring connection with Favre, breaking a tie on the franchise's all-time list with No. 4 Cecil Isbell-Don Hutson (33).

The duo needs just one to match No. 3 Lynn Dickey-Paul Coffman (35). Favre has thrown more touchdowns to only two players: Antonio Freeman (57) and Sharpe (41).

Final opponents determined

The Packers now know their last two opponents in 2007, which were undetermined until Sunday's results. Because the Packers finished second in the NFC North, they will play the second-place team in the NFC West (St. Louis) on the road, and the second-place team in the NFC South (Carolina) at home.

In addition to the usual home-and-home series with NFC North foes, Green Bay's other 2007 opponents are Philadelphia, Washington, Oakland and San Diego at home, and Dallas, the N.Y. Giants, Denver and Kansas City on the road.

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