Commentary: Curses, foiled again!

What do the Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox and the Green Bay Packers have in common?<p> All three teams had a golden opportunity to prove there's no such thing as a jinx. None succeeded. Just as the Cubs and BoSox were relegated to World Series spectators, the Packers looked like mere bystanders to the victorious Rams who operated on a higher and faster plane on the Edward Jones Dome turf Sunday.<p>

The Packers had a chance to purge their dome demons with a win in the same stadium which saw their worst playoff loss the last time Green Bay stepped foot on St. Louis' artificial field. This time, with a decimated defense facing the Rams' high-powered offense, the Packers knew they'd have to do everything right to get that done. Instead, just about everything went wrong once they hit the turf, and the result was a disappointing 34-24 loss.

Green Bay turned the ball over three times in the first half - with two leading to St. Louis touchdowns. The first miscue seemed to one-up a Ram mistake that would have given the Packers golden field position. Former Packer punter Sean Landeta delivered a very short punt that hardly clearned midfield. The ball skipped off Green Bay's Al Harris and - and has been the case all too often this season - bounced right into the hands of the opposition.

Disaster struck again before the first quarter was over. Najeh Davenport, who has already been benched for coughing up the ball, fumbled away a Packer drive. Again, the Packers were nowhere near the ball.

St. Louis turned both miscues into touchdowns for a quick 14-3 lead. Granted, a little luck or a closer look could have negated both turnovers. On the Harris debacle, officials declined to flag the Ram player who had a firm grip on both of Harris' arms and blocked him into the ball. Davenport, meanwhile, was the victim of a twisting facemask violation that could have easily gone the Packers' way to the tune of 15 yards.

Sour grapes? Probably. It's hard not to feel that way when even the good things in the Packers' game plan got buried by the bad. For example:

*Favre had a nice streak in place, going 8-for-8 for 99 yards on first down in the first half, until an incompletion intended for Green ended the streak as well as a Packer drive as the quarter came to a close.

*Davenport's 76-yard touchdown run provided a bit of excitement, but also served as a reminder of the Packers' unusual ground-game struggles vs. the Rams. Even with the long run, the Packers at 116 yards for the game.

*More good news-bad news: Both teams had three fumbles. The Packers lost all three while the Rams lost none. All of the St. Louis' fumbles came when the Packers still clung to life, and all preceeded a St. Louis score by just a play or two. As the balls muffed by the Rams bounced harmlessly away from the Pack, the fumbles became meaningless sidenotes rather than the game-altering errors that happened on the Packer turnovers. One, a fumble by RB Arlen Harris which was forced by Darren Sharper and initially appeared to be recovered by Al Harris, was ruled to belong to St. Louis, Two plays later, Marc Bulger hit Dane Looker for a 20-yard touchdown on third down which put the Rams up 28-17. Later, Dave Wohlabaugh fumbled at GB 25, but Bulger was right there to cover it up.

Favre threw for two touchdowns and had an interception late in the game. He didn't get much help escaping the dome-doom, however. For probably the first time all season, his offensive line let him down. Favre often found the Rams D-line in his lap. Although it seemed like much more, he was only sacked once, for a 12-yard loss on third down deep in Packer territory on the Green and Gold's last gasp.

What will it take for the Pack to finally blow the roof off the supposed dome jinx? Mike Sherman and company have to spend an unhappy bye week to figure that out before they head into the worst dome of all -- the Metrodome -- whose inhabitants are currently undefeated and will be licking their chops at the prospect of hosting the wounded Packers two weeks from now.

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