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Packers Reward Fans With First Home Win


It's no secret that Green Bay has one of the best -- if not the best -- fan base in the NFL. And on Sunday, the Packers took advantage of it the way Head Coach Mike McCarthy wants them to on a consistent basis.

Winning for the first time at Lambeau Field since last season's Jan. 1 contest against the Seattle Seahawks, the Packers certainly did not disappoint the majority of the 70,809 fans in attendance for the 31-14 victory over the Arizona Cardinals.

According to McCarthy, the win is something that all people affiliated with the Packers should enjoy on a normal basis at Lambeau Field.

"It was very rewarding," McCarthy said. "It says a lot for everybody involved, especially the fans. Just to see the white towels flying up there today and everybody having a great time...It's great for our players to enjoy it.

"You have to win at home. We have a great home-field advantage. We talked about it again as a team last night in our final meeting and it has to be a constant going forward."

Linebacker Nick Barnett, who finished with five tackles and a sack, was also pleased with Sunday's result.

"It feels excellent," he said. "To come in here and get a win, we haven't been too good at home lately and finally to be able to give our fans a win, it feels good for ourselves, too.

"Getting two wins in a row, we're starting to get this thing turned around. It's just a great win for us today, great day."

While the offense had a wonderful day, especially the two-headed rushing attack in Ahman Green and Vernand Morency, the defensive effort was also responsible for making sure fans went home happy Sunday afternoon.

In addition to limiting the Cardinals to 14 points, the Packers held them to 218 total yards and also sacked rookie quarterback Matt Leinart four times.

According to defensive end Aaron Kampman, who notched two sacks on the day, getting out to a 21-0 lead was the key to the game.

"With a team in this situation, to come after them right away, we tried to take the momentum," Kampman said. "Then you just go from there and that was huge."

Barnett echoed those thoughts and admitted that the offense and the defense fed off of each other in getting the Packers their first win at home.

"It was huge," Barnett said. "We played good defense because the offense was able to control the ball. Then when we got out there, we made big plays and were able to get off the field quickly. We just played with each other."

The hope in the locker room after the game was that the string of wins will get the Packers headed in the right direction as they head into Buffalo next weekend.

And though linebacker A.J. Hawk is a rookie, he has found out quickly how a win, any win, is important in the NFL.

"We're definitely going to keep building on this and try to roll into next week," Hawk said. "Wins are hard to come by in the NFL. We know that and we just have to keep working, keep our confidence up, and keep playing well."

Besides Hawk's first home victory with the Green and Gold, it was also the first of that sort for cornerback Charles Woodson, who arrived as a free agent from the Oakland Raiders in the off-season.

"It was a long time coming," Woodson said. "One thing Coach keeps stressing is having a Lambeau advantage. And you can't have a Lambeau advantage unless you win. It's fun to get that first win, it's what the fans have been waiting for."

McCarthy admitted that it also felt good for him to get his first win at home as the head coach of the Green Bay Packers, but he's made it clear that as of Monday, it's going to be business as usual for his team.

"We have a midnight rule," McCarthy said. "We will enjoy being 3-4 until midnight and then we'll get in here tomorrow and get going on Buffalo."

Doing that will perhaps be a little easier with a win at Lambeau Field now in the rear-view mirror.

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