Sitting in the rain

GREEN BAY - Stranger things have happened, but not much.<P> The weather was bad and the Packers were worse in a 27-3 loss to the Tennessee Titans in the preseason finale at Lambeau Field Thursday night -- and Friday morning.<P>

The sloppy play will be forgotten if the team gets on track when the regular season begins. But this game will long be remembered for its two-and-a-half hour weather delay which pushed the game time to nearly six hours. The delay was caused by lightning approaching the area, and was enacted by several Packer officials along with NFL official observer Jerry Seaman with guidance from the National Weather Service and police and fire officials. The decision to wait it out came solely from the league, Packers President Bob Harlan said.

The skies opened just after the game started, and continued throughout the night. Although the field held up well, the level of play did not. Green Bay had three fumbles, committed four penalties and converted just 2 of 10 first downs in the half. Tennessee wasn't exactly a well-oiled machine either. The Titans counted 7 penalties, two fumbles and an interception among their miscues.

The teams cleared the field with 2:05 left in the first half when lightning flashed several times and thunder rumbled in. When play was halted, Green Bay trailed 14-0 and faced a third-and-10 -- which three hours later became on of their two third down conversions in the half.

The drive which spanned the delay ended in the Packers' only score on Ryan Longwell's 40=yard field goal with :58 seconds remaining in the half.

The fourth quarter didn't start until after midnight and the game ended at 12:46 a.m., five hours, 41 minutes after it started. About 10,000 of the original 69,126 fans stuck it out. They had been cleared into the concourses during the delay.

The players were surprised to find themselves venturing back out into the rain, several Packers said.

After play resumed, Ryan Longwell kicked a 40-yard field goal. Time of the drive? Officially it was 1:24. In reality, it was about 3 hours.

With Favre on the sidelines, Pederson and Nall were left in charge. Pederson played the first half and completed 9-of-22 for 121 yards. Nall was 12-of-24 for 155 yards. Neither threw an interception or a touchdown pass.

The backup QBs led an offense which several personnel changes. Green Bay started with two fullbacks, Henderson and Luchey. Newcomer Luchey led the Packers' anemic ground game with 13 yards on seven carries. Tony Fisher, fighting for the third RB slot had just 2 yards on 3 carries, but came through to lead receiving with 6 catches and 64 yards.

McNair played just part of the first series. He was exiting the field when a penalty gave the Titans another shot at third down. But O'Donnell came in anyway and connected with Drew Bennett for a 17-yard touchdown pass.

Another strange element of the game was the absence of Brett Favre, who was inactive for the Packers (2-3) fifth and final preseason game. He watched the game from the sidelines in street clothes. Running back Ahman Green was also a late addition to the inactive list.

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