Monday, October 15, 2007
Pack improve to 5-1 heading into the bye
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) - Cornerback Charles Woodson scooped up the ball - and lifted the spirits of the Green Bay Packers' suddenly sagging offense.
Woodson's 57-yard fumble return in the third quarter gave the Packers the go-ahead touchdown in a 17-14 victory over the Washington Redskins at soggy Lambeau Field on Sunday.
"It was a big play today," Woodson said. "Hopefully, I have many more to come."
With Green Bay's previously top-ranked passing offense sputtering and the Packers trailing 14-10 late in the third quarter, defensive lineman Corey Williams stripped Redskins receiver Santana Moss on an end-around. Woodson picked up the ball and ran to the end zone.
The Packers (5-1) won despite an off day from Brett Favre, who became the NFL's career interception king with an errant pass picked off by Redskins safety Sean Taylor in the third quarter.
"I could care less," Favre said. "We won the game. I'm glad it's over, just like the other records. We're 5-1, so it feels a lot better than having no picks and being 1-5."
Despite Favre's off day - he was 19-of-37 for 188 yards and threw a second interception to Taylor in the fourth quarter - the Packers recovered from their first loss of the season against Chicago last Sunday, regaining momentum as they head into their bye.
Packers coach Mike McCarthy said the Redskins were the best team the Packers have played so far, but he still hasn't seen his young team play a complete game.
"We feel good about being 5-1, but we're a team that needs to clean our house," McCarthy said.
The Redskins (3-2) baffled a pass-happy NFC North offense for the second week in a row after beating Detroit, but offensive mistakes cost them on Sunday. Redskins coach Joe Gibbs said his team's fumbles and dropped passes weren't acceptable, even in wet conditions.
"Certainly that's no excuse for us," Gibbs said. "We're out in it, and we've got to make the catches."
Between the fumble and a subsequent leg cramp, Moss apparently was so upset that he took himself out of the game.
"I took myself out," Moss said. "Something wasn't feeling right with me, and why go out there and keep another guy from helping us win? There was (stuff) going on and I wasn't making the plays that I should have been making."
Gibbs didn't blame Moss for the loss.
"You've got to look at that and say, 'That's something that just happened to us today,"' Gibbs said. "Certainly, we've got great confidence in him and he means a lot to us."
On the Packers' first possession after halftime, Favre spotted rookie wide receiver James Jones wide open for a sure touchdown. But the ball hung in the air, and Taylor recovered to make a leaping catch near the sideline.
Favre's record-setting interception came two weeks after Favre surpassed Dan Marino's career record for touchdown passes and a month after Favre broke John Elway's record for most career victories for a starting quarterback.
The Packers then had a touchdown pass erased by a holding penalty on tackle Mark Tauscher and Mason Crosby kicked a 37-yard field goal, cutting the Redskins' lead to 14-10.
Then came Moss' momentum-changing fumble. Woodson got a block from Al Harris on Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell to get to the end zone.
"I didn't think anybody would catch me," Woodson said. "I turned around, and I'd seen Campbell running pretty fast, (to) catch up to me. I got a late block by Al to kind of help me out a little bit."
But Crosby missed a 38-yarder in the fourth quarter, the second miss of the day for a rookie who had missed only one field goal coming in. The Redskins then drove to the Packers 32, where Green Bay linebacker Nick Barnett stopped Ladell Betts on fourth-and-1.
Favre threw his second interception of the day to Taylor, giving the Redskins another chance with 4:14 left. The Packers forced a punt and held on for the victory.
Campbell got the Redskins off to a good start, finding tight end Chris Cooley seven times for 97 yards before halftime. Cooley's 14-yard reception gave Washington a 14-7 first half lead.
"All the things that happened today, we've got to take it and learn from it," Campbell said. "We can't do (any) finger-pointing, we're all in this together. I could've done some things better, everybody else could've done some things better."
Favre, meanwhile, was limping noticeably as he walked to the interview podium and said somebody rolled up on his ankle on an early scramble.
Sounds like a good time for a week off.
"It really doesn't feel very good right now, but the bye week will help a little bit," Favre said. "I'm sure it will hurt two weeks from now; it hurt before the game."
Curtesoy of Fox Sports and the AP http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/7323882