Final

Panthers 14

(3-1, 1-1 away)

Packers 17

(3-1, 2-0 home)

Coverage: FOX

1:00 PM ET, September 29, 2002

 

1 2 3 4 T
CAR 7 0 0 714
GB 3 7 0 717

Favre, Packers hand Panthers their first loss

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- No matter how many times Brett Favre's supporting cast changes, he finds a way to get the Green Bay Packers a victory.

Allen's Analysis
Eric Allen
Question on the Panthers: What's up with their kicking game?
When teams are evenly matched, it comes down to the kicking game, special teams and turnovers. All killed the Panthers today. They have a solid coaching crew, and it was disappointing to see them give the game away because of turnovers and lack of discipline in the kicking game.

Question on the Packers: Does Favre have enough talent at receiver if Glenn and Walker continue to be sidelined?
The Packers are a bizarre bunch. Favre, to me, is the best QB in the NFL, and he makes his teammates better. But I'm not convinced the talent surrounding him is good enough to win. Still, you never can count out Brett Favre. He's such an amazing player that he might be able to raise the performance of his teammates to the point where the Packers are the equal of any team in the NFC.

Eric Allen played 14 seasons in the NFL for the Eagles, Saints and Raiders.

With William Henderson out and Terry Glenn in the locker room with a migraine, Favre found little-known Donald Driver for a 22-yard touchdown with 4:10 left Sunday, leading the Packers to a 17-14 victory over the Carolina Panthers.

"It was difficult, but I wasn't really concerned about who was in and who was out. My focus never changes,'' Favre said. "We had a lot of new faces out there, a lot of young faces. A lot of guys stepped up.''

But the Packers still had to sweat it out. Carolina drove to the Green Bay 5, only to have Shayne Graham -- signed two days ago to bolster their kicking game -- miss a 24-yard field goal with 13 seconds left.

"That's my job, to go out there and make kicks, and I didn't do that,'' said Graham, who made 6 of 8 field goals with Buffalo last year. "It's probably the worst split-second in your life when you pick your head up and you see it sailing wide right.''

Favre, who became Green Bay's starting quarterback 10 years ago this week, was 18-of-32 for 200 yards with one interception. He now has 3,414 career completions, passing Joe Montana for fifth place on the all-time list.

Driver had the first two-touchdown game of his career -- though he caught the first one from Bubba Franks on a trick play in the second quarter.

Steve Smith filled in nicely for Panthers leading receiver Muhsin Muhammad, catching five passes for 116 yards, and Lamar Smith rushed for 66 yards and two scores. But it wasn't enough for the Panthers (3-1).

"Two turnovers resulted in points off the board or at least opportunities to kick field goals,'' Panthers coach John Fox said. "You don't make mistakes like that against good teams and expect to win.''

The Panthers brought the NFL's second-toughest defense to Lambeau Field, and they frustrated the Packers all afternoon. Add in the patchwork lineup, and Green Bay's offense struggled to get into a rhythm.

But Favre is a master of late rallies, and he pulled off the 25th of his career.

Getting the ball at his 35 with 6:29 left, he was sacked for a 9-yard loss on the first play. Two plays later, he was picked off by Carolina linebacker Mark Fields as he tried to find Driver deep.

But cornerback Emmanuel McDaniel was called for pass interference, giving the Packers the ball at the Carolina 29.

After a 7-yard run by Najeh Davenport, Favre looked to Driver again. Driver beat McDaniel and scored on a 22-yard completion. As Driver leaped into the stands, Favre ran toward the end zone, jumping up and down and waving his fists in celebration like a little kid.

"I'd rather be up, sipping Gatorade on the sidelines,'' Favre said. "But I think I handle the situation very well. My team trusts I'll get the job done. I don't always do it, but I like the ball in my hands in that situation.''

The Panthers had one last chance, but Graham's 24-yard chip shot sailed wide right.

"Of course I expect him to make it,'' said Fox, who brought in Graham after Jon Hilbert missed two field goals in last weekend's victory over Minnesota. "But that wasn't what lost us the game. We had opportunities to make plays, to put the game on ice, but weren't able to do it.''

The victory didn't come without a little trickery. With less than two minutes left in the second quarter, Favre took the snap at the Carolina 36, dropped back and threw the ball backward to Franks, a Pro Bowl tight end. Franks then found Driver for a 31-yard touchdown pass.

"That's something we've been practicing since training camp,'' Franks said. "We've run it about 10 times, and we're about 10-for-10.''

Officials initially ruled the Packers had thrown two forward passes, drawing a loud chorus of boos from the Lambeau Field faithful. Sherman was so upset he threw his headset and swore, drawing a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct that was marked off on the kickoff.

But replays clearly showed Favre's pass to Franks was backward, and officials agreed after reviewing the play.

"Looking back, it may have had a positive effect on the team,'' Favre said of Sherman's tantrum. "When he started screaming and yelling, guys got behind him. Not that they weren't before, but this was an obvious slap in the face and guys weren't going to put up with that.''

Game notes


Glenn, who didn't practice this week, caught a 17-yard pass in the first quarter before leaving at halftime. ... Carolina tackle Kris Jenkins had two sacks. ... Steve Smith had 70 yards on returns. ... Franks' pass was the first of his NFL career.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Scoring Summary

FOURTH QUARTERCARGB
gbTD4:17Touchdown
Drive info: 4 plays, 65 yds, 2:12
1416
gb4:10
Drive info: 4 plays, 65 yds, 2:12
1417
carTD13:00Lamar Smith, 2 yd run
Drive info: 5 plays, 53 yds, 12:06
1310
SECOND QUARTERCARGB
gbTD1:54Touchdown
Drive info: 6 plays, 70 yds, 2:04
79
FOURTH QUARTERCARGB
car12:55
Drive info: 5 plays, 53 yds, 12:06
1410
SECOND QUARTERCARGB
gb1:43
Drive info: 6 plays, 70 yds, 2:04
710
FIRST QUARTERCARGB
carTD0:35Lamar Smith, 3 yd run
Drive info: 8 plays, 83 yds, 3:58
63
gbFG8:55Ryan Longwell 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 11 plays, 73 yds, 5:04
03
car0:23
Drive info: 8 plays, 83 yds, 3:58
73