Conditions such as those that existed in Green Bay on Monday night have historically favored Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers, but that was not the case in a 17-14 victory for the Philadelphia Eagles at Lambeau Field.
Not only did the Packers have trouble hanging onto the ball due primarily to the continual rain that fell in sub-40 degree temperatures, but they also saw a significant chance slip away in their positioning for an NFC playoff spot.
The Packers fumbled six times (losing two), and had a host of other opportunities slip through their hands that could have changed the momentum of the game and possibly the result.
"Obviously, the conditions seemed to affect us for whatever reason," said Favre. "The ball came out of my hands three times."
For the second week in a row, Favre played with splint on his fractured thumb, and with the wet conditions, he appeared to have trouble holding the ball.
"(It was) probably a combination of both," said Favre. "My thumb felt fine. I'm not making any excuses."
Twice in the first half, Packers' drives were halted when the ball slipped out of Favre's hands attempting to pass. Though the Packers recovered both, each drive resulted in a punt and kept the game scoreless.
Favre's last of three fumbles came late in the fourth quarter during a last-ditch effort to get into field-goal position to potentially tie the game. That fumble was recovered by Eagles' defensive tackle Darwin Walker at the Eagles' 48-yard line with one second remaining and ended any Packers' chances.
"I didn't feel like it was the result of the thumb, but I'm sure it would be naive of us to say it wasn't," said head coach Mike Sherman. "But in talking to (quarterbacks coach) Darrell Bevell, he didn't think to seem it was. It was just the balls were very slick."
"The weather certainly affected our game plan, particularly early when we were having trouble holding onto the football," said Sherman.
"It did affect our attempt to throw the football."
As a result, the Packers tallied a season-high 37 rushing attempts for the game against just 22 passes. With just 109 yards passing, Favre threw for his sixth-lowest total in 201 games with the Packers.
"The conditions I thought, dictated a little bit how (offensive coordinator) Tom (Rossley) called the game," said Favre. "They played our keep passes well, but no one can play both the keep and the run. You can't play both of them well."
Wide receiver Donald Driver also let two long passes slip through his finger tips that would have went for big plays, and defensively, safety Darren Sharper dropped an interception of a deflected pass on the Eagles' first play of the game.
Injury factor: Sharper suffered the only significant injury of note during the game, twisting his left knee tackling Correll Buckhalter in the second quarter. Though he returned on the next series and continued to play in the game, he was hobbling around as he departed the locker room after the game.
Backup cornerback Bhawoh Jue replaced Harris and was beaten by Pinkston for the go-ahead touchdown when he jumped a McNabb pump fake.
"I played high on a slant and he (Pinkston) came underneath," explained Jue.
Jue now has had the misfortune of being on the coverage end of two game-winning touchdowns for Packers' opponents this season. He also was beaten by the Chiefs' Eddie Kennison on a 51-yarder in overtime on Oct. 12.
Missing in action: The Eagles were without arguably their best two defensive backs for the game, safety Brian Dawkins and cornerback Bobby Taylor, due to injury. They were replaced by Clinton Hart and Lito Sheppard, who have just three years of NFL experience combined.
Inactive for the Packers were tackle Brennan Curtin, safety Curtis Fuller, defensive tackles Kenny Peterson and Terdell Sands, defensive end Jamal Reynolds, offensive lineman Marcus Spriggs, and linebacker Marcus Wilkins.
Extra points: Besides setting a new single-game team record with 192 yards rushing, Green also: went over 1,000 yards rushing for the fourth consecutive season with a third-quarter run, became the first Packers' running back to catch a touchdown in four consecutive games, and tied Clarke Hinkle for fourth place on the Packers' career rushing touchdown list with 35.
Kicker Ryan Longwell missed his first field goal attempt of the season in 12 tries, coming up short on a 45-yarder in the third quarter.
James Thrash's 45-yard kick return in the fourth quarter was the longest against the Packers this season.
The Packers have now lost back-to-back games at Lambeau Field for the first time since 1999. They are 2-3 at home with victories over the Lions and Seahawks.