With quarterback Brett Favre in classic form, the offense was a study in optimum efficiency as the Packers put on a crowd-pleasing clinic in their own backyard en route to knocking the Seattle Seahawks from the unbeaten ranks.
Things began innocently enough, the Packers punting the ball after just one first down on their initial possession, Josh Bidwell closing out the game's opening series with a 25-yard punt. Bidwell was not to find it necessary to punt again until only 8 minutes remained in the fourth quarter and the situation was well in hand.
In the productive interim, the virtually flawless Favre guided the Packers to consecutive touchdowns on their next five possessions, a feat seldom seen on any football field.
The "show" began with a turnover, defensive tackle Cletidus Hunt forcing a Shaun Alexander fumble and Marques Anderson recovering at the Seahawks' 49-yard line. Favre had the Packers in the end zone in 1 minute, 55 seconds and 5 plays, the fifth a 34-yard collaboration with wide receiver Donald Driver, who pulled in No. 4's pass at the 3-yard line and, wrestling away from a Seahawk defender, wheeled into the end zone. Ryan Longwell added the first of his five conversions.
The Seahawks promptly retaliated with a scoring drive of their own, moving 71 yards in 9 plays to a tying touchdown; Josh Brown's PAT making it 7-7, but it was a brief interruption.
The Packers, exhibiting a little more patience, embarked on a 13-play push which consumed 7 minutes and 18 seconds and was climaxed by Ahman Green's 1-yard burst over left guard into the end zone at 1:47 of the second quarter – a development which sent the Packers ahead to stay.
Seattle again responded, launching a 16-play, 80-yard drive which carried the Seahawks to the Green Bay 10-yard line before defender Bhawoh Jue broke up a Matt Hasselbeck pass intended for wideout Darrell Jackson, forcing the visitors to settle for a 27-yard field goal by Brown, paring the Packers' lead to 14-10.
The Packers were quickly back at it, sweeping 68 yards in 9 plays to score, Green going the final 3 yards off right tackle to complete the project and Longwell's conversion making it 21-10, Green Bay, with only 36 seconds left in the first half.
The Seahawks were still feisty and hopeful, however, and moved to the Green Bay 32 in 4 plays after the kickoff. Hasselbeck was sacked for a 7-yard loss on third down, apparently moving Seattle out of field goal range, but Seahawks Coach Mike Holmgren elected to go for a field goal despite the odds. Brown "validated" the decision, hitting from 58 yards, his boot easily clearing the cross bar.
The Packers then put it away in the third quarter, scoring on their first two possessions while the defense, implementing some effective halftime adjustments, went on to hold the Seahawks scoreless over the last 30 minutes.
After the defense required Seattle to go three-and-out following the second half kickoff, Favre guided the Packers to a fourth consecutive touchdown, Tony Fisher completing the 8-play 53-yard drive with an 11-yard dash around left end out of the shotgun.
The Seahawks mounted yet another drive, moving to the Green Bay 35 before Packers safety Darren Sharper waylaid a Hasselbeck pass, intended for Jackson, and returned it 19 yards to the Green Bay 44.
Favre promptly parlayed the opportunity into the Packers' final score of the afternoon, escorting the Green and Gold 56 yards in 9 plays and completing the process by hitting fullback William Henderson with a 2-yard pass for the touchdown. Longwell's fifth conversion wrapped up the day's scoring.
The Seahawks made one final drive, a 10-play effort, but it ended at the Green Bay 9-yard line early in the fourth quarter when Hasselbeck's pass, intended for Jackson, missed the mark in the end zone.
Favre closed out a memorable performance with his highest quarterback rating of the season (122.9), completing 19 of 25 passes for 185 yards and 2 touchdowns – without an interception – while distributing the football among 8 different receivers.
The explosive Green, meanwhile, keyed a 159-yard rushing performance, gaining 118 yards in 27 attempts, a 4.4-yard average, and scoring 2 touchdowns. He also caught one pass for 7 yards.
Nick Barnett, the team's runaway tackle leader, posted 11 stops, 9 of them unassisted, to lead the defensive charge. Barnett's production included his second quarterback sack of the season, a 3-yard trap of Seattle's Matt Hasselbeck in the fourth quarter.
THE FAVRE FILE: Favre's almost weekly invasion of the NFL record book continued Sunday as the 33-year field general (he will turn 34 Friday) presided over his 118th career victory, thus breaking a tie with Joe Montana (117) and taking over fifth place on the league's career list.
Favre thus moved to within one of fourth-place Johnny Unitas (119). John Elway is the all-time leader with 148, followed by Dan Marino with 147 and Fran Tarkenton with 125.
From another statistical perspective, Favre's 2 touchdown passes against Seattle swelled his career total to 323, the third-most of all-time and leaving him 19 behind the second-ranking Tarkenton (342).
From the durability standpoint, Favre played in his 180th consecutive game, advancing to within 7 games of the team's all-time record, 187, set by Forrest Gregg (1956, '58-70). He also made his 178th straight start, the longest current streak by any NFL player, likewise surpassing the St. Louis Rams' Aeneas Williams for the 10th-longest skein in NFL annals. It also extends Favre's all-time league record for consecutive starts by a quarterback.
Favre's 122.9 passer rating was the second 100-plus mark in a row for the 13-year pro. He had a 108.3 rating in the Packers' Sept. 29 victory over the Chicago Bears.
THE GREEN FILE: Running back Ahman Green also made significant history Sunday, becoming Lambeau Field's all-time rushing leader in the wake of a 118-yard effort against the Seahawks that swelled his career total to 2,344, eclipsing the previous mark of 2,315 yards by Dorsey Levens (1994-2001).
Green's 118-yard performance also was his third 100-yard rushing game of the season and the 17th of his four-year Green Bay career, second-most in Packers history. Jim Taylor is the team's all-time leader with 26 "century" performances.
En route, Green became the second Packer to reach 500 yards rushing in the first five games of a season, padding his season total to 560. Taylor was the first, posting 518 yards in the first five weeks of the 1961 season.
Green's two rushing touchdowns also lifted him into fourth place on the Packers' career list with 33, breaking a tie with Ted Fritsch (31) and leaving him only two behind third-ranking Clarke Hinkle (35).
GM/HEAD COACH MIKE SHERMAN'S POST-GAME COMMENTS:
(on being able to execute) "Well, how and why, we had a great week of practice. I thought we had great preparation and game planning. That is a very good defensive football team coming in to this football game and we were very much aware of that and knew we had to get them running one way and maybe go back the other way with some of our misdirections and what not. They are a good defense and not easy to run against."
(on defensive adjustments) "We pressured them maybe a little more then we did in the first half. Obviously the score dictated some of what we were able to do defensively. I was really proud of them, been proud of how the offense came out and do what they did on the first five possessions of play. But I am really proud of our defense, we were struggling, we could not stop them in the first half. They were running the ball, we force a turnover and they come down again and score and we were really struggling stopping them. It's not so much the bad things that happen to you on a football field or in life, it's how you react to them. And at halftime we get that sured up and the guys come out in the second half and pitch a shutout. And I think that was the key to the football game. If we couldn't stop them this would have been a 38-37, 40-38 type of ballgame, but fortunately we were able to do that. So as bad as the first half was for our defense I'm extremely proud of the fact that we were able to not panic and give in to this thing, but they fought back and played a better second half. We were also minus a quite a few players in the second half which contributed to some possibly to poor execution but the guys stepped up and made some plays."
(on different game plan) "No, pretty much the way you know we call the plays we normally call, and run the plays we normally run. I thought Tom Rossley did a fantastic job as he has throughout this year. I thought we did a good job of executing our offense. If you execute the offense it works."
(on Brett being more pumped up) "No not at all, we talked last night and about this game and what it means and we both agreed that regardless of who was on the other sideline this is just the next football game we have to win. Doesn't have anything to do with who's on the other sideline. We have the utmost respect, both Brett and I, of Mike and his staff and the Seattle Seahawks and all that they have done here but we were not going to get into that part of it. It didn't matter if we were playing whomever this week; we were prepared to play. I always tell our guys that it really doesn't matter – the Packers play the Packers every week and you don't beat yourself. The Packers don't beat themselves (there's) no doubt there's a good chance to win the football game. And we didn't do things to beat ourselves today."
(on the bench foul) "We saw some guys kind of jarring back and forth and one of our coaches tried to go out there and break it up and they thought we were challenging the official at that time, on the call. We didn't disagree with the call. It was fourth down and we won the down and there wasn't any disagreement, we just wanted to get our players off the field. You know I thought on the change of possession, the opportunity to go out and greet your players was allowed but obviously today it wasn't."
(on being happy with Marques Anderson's performance) "I am. You know it just goes to show you how guys have to just hang in there and not wallow in despair when things don't go your way. He had a great week of practice and an opportunity to play this week because of Antuan's injury and I thought he showed up and made some plays."
(on Brett being sharp) "Great coaching (facetiously). I mean Brett was in a zone and it happens some times. He was in a zone and making plays. It didn't have anything to do with who was on the other sideline I promise you, it has everything to do with the guys we had on the field making plays for him and him making good decisions and just play. I thought he was outstanding today. Just his leadership and how we played together I thought was outstanding."
THE PLAYER PERSPECTIVE:
Quarterback Brett Favre: (on any added incentive) "I just knew we needed to win this football game. There was no added…maybe in '99 yeah, but we needed this game for a lot of reasons, not because who was on the other sideline."
(on going deep) "We threw it a little bit; I mean we weren't real successful. We had a couple penalties on them and we took some shots. The one to Donald was actually more or less designed to go to the flat. He is an option; in fact that is the same play right at the end of the game I hit William. I was almost sacked and William is not even in the route and that is the same exact play and Donald was actually uncovered. It's a little play action keep pass designed to hit the guy in the flat; although you have a corner route – given the chances of that coming open is slim. For whatever reason they blew coverage and didn't get behind him and found him. I thought we mixed it up well today; once again the passing yardage was not a lot, but that is so deceiving when we run our style of offense. And it is not how far you throw it, its how effective you throw it and run it and I thought we mixed it up extremely well."
(on five straight touchdown drives) "I can't recall when the last time we ever had five straight touchdown drives. That's impressive; I don't care who you play. How good a defense is or how bad a defense is – at some point you falter and we didn't."
(on importance of game) "It was in so many ways a measuring stick for us. We're 2-2 and there 3-0. I don't know what the point differential was going into this game, but in our minds we were underdogs and should have been even though we were playing at home. We lost to Arizona and they blew Arizona out. You can't live in the past but we knew it shouldn't have happened, but yet it did and you know another reason we had to get in the plus category, get to 3-2 because from here on out it doesn't get any easier and we needed that game bad. We should never lose at home and unfortunately we did once already and we have to establish ourselves as a place you don't want come in and play. I thought we did a good job of that today."
(on Packers Offensive Coordinator Tom Rossley) "I thought Tom called a great game. I thought he called a great game in Chicago. From the outside looking in, people say, 'Well, you know you won the football game.' But it is easy to say that. I thought we mixed it up well. It was simple stuff. We went back to the same keep passes over and over. And even from their standpoint, when they figured they stopped it, you know I hit William who is not even in the route for 10-15 yards. That is what we're capable of doing. That's what I am capable of doing – is making something out of nothing."
(on skirmish after the hit on him) "He kind of twisted a nerve I guess. He did hit me pretty good and got up talking a little smack and I just told him he messed with the wrong guy today."
Running back Ahman Green: (on being driven for the game) "Ah no, it was kind of like a homecoming because I started my career out there and it was just something to see that some of the guys who were rookies with me, Anthony Simmons to name one, we came in together and to be playing against him and being gone for four years, all the questions going back and forth. It brought me back to when I transferred high schools and played against my old high school team in Omaha, Central vs. North. It's just a game, got to go out there and have fun, just got to stay focused and better not get too caught up in the other emotions."
(on proving anything to Seattle Coach Mike Holmgren) "I don't' know. I probably did. Like I said in the beginning, it was a business deal. Once I came here it was something at that time he thought I was better off with another team and I take it as that. It was a blessing in disguise for myself, for my teammates here in Green Bay and that's about it. I am very grateful and fortunate for the guys I got around me. Basically when I got drafted as a rookie – just a team to give me an opportunity and that's what Coach Sherman and the Packers did when I came here back in 2000. It has been kind of a work in progress every year, but as long as I can get myself better and help my team get better, you know that's the biggest thing, so we can win games out here."
(on why the offense clicked) "Because we were focused. We knew the biggest thing was the turnover battle because there were 12 going into this game. And if we win that battle and hold on to the ball and do what we are supposed to do, offensively we will be OK. And that's basically what happened out there."
(on the offensive line) "You know I love those guys. They make my job a lot easier – them and William (Henderson) in the backfield. I mean it's going to be interesting what I am going to have to do for these guys this offseason. Regardless of what we do and get paid, because this is our job. But we have to have extra incentives there because you are playing with a group of guys that 20 or 30 years down the line you are never going to forget them. Because they got stepped on for you, poked in the eye for you, cleated in every part of their body that you probably don't even want to mention, but they are out there giving their body for me and William and Brett, and I love those guys. They do their jobs day-in and day-out and there are no complaints."
(on if Holmgren mentioning his asthma problem hit a sore spot) "I think its kind of funny to me, because I played football for 19 years and six of them in the NFL, for a coach to say that for the first time. I mean that is the first time I have heard a coach at any level use that for me as an excuse. I mean I have had that since little league and I had that in high school and my coach knew about it and also in college my coach, Tom Osbourne, who coached me at Nebraska, knew about it. So they knew I would need a break every now and then. For a coach to use that as an excuse, it's new, but hey, you never know what's going to happen every day when you wake up. You might hear something new or learn something new."
Offensive guard Mike Wahle: (on offense) "It was all centered around Ahman running the football. He did a heck of a job today and made us look good. Brett was throwing his magic passes out there and the receivers made some big plays. Anytime you can have the kind of numbers we put up rushing and passing and with no turnovers, you're going to have a successful day. "
(on defense) "Our defense did a great job getting turnovers and we capitalized. They made some key stops in the second half. It was a big win."
Running back Tony Fisher: (on touchdown) "It was a play that needed some patience. The offensive line did a great job - there was a hole and I was able to get around the corner and score a touchdown."
(on running game) "We want to try to get the running game going. Ahman is one of the best backs in the league and if you get him running early, it's going to open up everything for the passing game. "
(on offensive line) "They're doing a great job. As long as we keep running the ball as strong as we are, they're going to have more and more confidence. Our running potential is unlimited right now. "
Wide receiver Donald Driver: (on offensive/team balance) "When you're running the ball well, the passing game opens up and when you're passing the ball well, the running game opens up. Today we played as a full unit from offense to defense to special teams. We all stepped up and played. "
(on touchdown) "Nobody covered me. I was wide open. Brett made a great throw and I made a great catch. Touchdown, baby."
Defensive tackle Cletidus Hunt: (on turnover he created) "We came into the game stressing how much we wanted to try and take the ball away. They've been a good club on keeping the ball. I had the opportunity to make a tackle and I felt the ball coming loose, so I gave it a yank and it came out."
Safety Darren Sharper: (on interception) "We had an alert call which is basically when a safety comes down and plays the run, sees the pass and works the middle. We had man coverage on the outside. I read (Matt) Hasselbeck's eyes. He tried to look me off and I knew it was going to be a short route. I wanted to jump (the route) and that's what I did."
(on adjusting to Seattle's receivers in second half) "We tried to be more aggressive. Sometimes you have to feel an opponent out early on. Once you start putting pressure on the quarterback, it allows for our coverage to be a lot better and so that's why in the second half we didn't allow them to do anything."
Linebacker Nick Barnett: (on sack) "Coach Donatell called my number and I had to go try and make the play. When he calls my number, I have to make the play. I was just coming with 100-percent effort and speed."
–Sunday's victory gives the Packers a 5-4 lead in their series with the Seahawks, launched in 1976.
–The Packers are 12-1 as a team in their last 13 games in which they have rushed for 100 or more yards as a team.
–In scoring on five consecutive possessions against the Seahawks, the Packers did so for the first time in 41 years – since Nov. 11, 1962, when they scored on seven straight possessions in a 49-0 rout of the Philadelphia Eagles.
–Placekicker Ryan Longwell scored for the 101st consecutive game (every game of his NFL career) when he added the conversion to Donald Driver's first quarter touchdown.
–Kicking 5 extra points overall, Longwell also advanced to within four points of Paul Hornung, third-ranking scorer in Packers history (760). Longwell now has 756.
–Josh Brown's 58-yard field goal on the final play of the first half was the longest ever kicked by any Packers opponent in Green Bay's 83-year NFL annals. The longest previous FG successes against Green Bay were a pair of a 56-yarders – by Ali Haji-Sheikh of the New York Giants at Giants Stadium Sept. 26, 1983, and by John Kasay of Carolina in Ericsson Stadium at Charlotte, N.C., Sept. 27, 1998.
–According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the keeper of records for the NFL, the longest field goal ever kicked in Lambeau Field was a 54-yarder by Efren Herrera of Seattle on Nov. 1, 1981. The Packers' Lambeau Field FG record is 53 yards – a distance negotiated twice by Chris Jacke, who reached it against the Los Angeles Rams Sept. 9, 1990, and again against the San Francisco 49ers Oct. 14, 1996.
–Packers cornerback Michael Hawthorne appeared to have put the Seahawks out of field goal range in the closing seconds of the first half when he sacked Matt Hasselbeck for a 7-yard loss at the Green Bay 39-yard line, but Brown quickly changed that thinking.
–Favre's 122.9 passer rating Sunday was his best since he forged a 133.3 rating against the Bears at University of Illinois Memorial Stadium Oct. 7, 2002.
–Donald Driver's touchdown reception in the first quarter against Seattle was his first of the season.
–Darren Sharper's interception of a Hasselbeck pass in the third quarter was his first of the season, the 28th of his career and the only "pick" of the game.
–Antonio Freeman's 14-yard catch late in the opening period was his first reception since Week Two, his first game back with the team, when he caught 4 passes for 32 yards in a 31-6 victory over the Detroit Lions.
–Linebacker Torrance Marshall, who was activated Saturday after fulfilling a four-game suspension for substance abuse, made his first appearance early in the first quarter and joined Robert Ferguson in tackling Seahawk returner Maurice Morris following a 21-yard return. Marshall, employed on special teams, closed out the game with two assisted tackles.
–Cornerback Erwin Swiney was placed on waivers to make room for Marshall on the team's 53-man active roster.
–Chad Clifton and Bubba Franks (offense), Na'il Diggs and Cletidus Hunt (defense) and Paris Lenon (special teams) were Packers captains for the Seattle contest.
–Packers inactives against the Seahawks included offensive tackles Marcus Spriggs, and Brennan Curtin, wide receiver/kick returner Reggie Swinton, running back Nick Luchey, safety Antuan Edwards, defensive tackle/end Aaron Kampman, defensive end Jamal Reynolds and Designated Third Quarterback Craig Nall.