Packers contribute to Pro Bowl fireworks

The 2004 Pro Bowl put on a volcanic display with several Packers figuring into the fireworks in the 55-52 NFC victory Sunday in Honolulu.<P>

*Defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila was one of the game's most effective defensive linemen, despite his 24-hour notice to head for Hawaii. KGB contributed two sacks, including one which helped start the AFC's downhill slide in third quarter, six tackles and one forced fumble.

On first down from the AFC 42, Gbaja-Biamila stormed through the line and sacked Chiefs QB Trent Green for a six-yard loss, forcing a fumble. KGB nearly iced the play with a recovery as well, but Green managed to get the ball back. But not for long. The shaken Green fumbled again on the next play, this time recovered by the NFC.

Gbaja-Biamila received his first trip to the all-star game when Tampa Bay defensive end Simeon Rice was cut from the team for disciplinary reasons on Friday. KGB cancelled a scheduled trip home to California, and instead boarded a plane for Honolulu on Saturday.

*Ahman Green was the NFC's second-leading rusher with 7 carries for 40 yards. He also chipped in a two-point conversion following Dre' Bly's 32-yard interception return for a touchdown which put the NFC ahead for the first time, 48-45 with 4:50 remaining.

Green's Pro Bowl got off to a shaky start when he dropped a pass from Daunte Culpepper on the first play from scrimmage. The Packer RB immediately atoned with a 12-yard burst up the middle. Two plays later, Green reversed his field and headed left for a 16-yard gain, his longest run of the game.

Green saw plenty of playing time on an NFC offense that gave the Packers a visible role, but saw most of his carries early. He opened the NFC's second drive with an 8-yard run and finished the first half with 6 carries for 36 yards.

*Tight end Bubba Franks was an early substitution and had one catch for 19 yards. The Matt Hasselbeck-to-Franks connection was part of a field goal drive, stalled by an incompletion intended for Franks on third-and-9 from the AFC 20.

Another short catch from Culpepper on the threshold of the red zone was nullified by an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the AFC.

*Marco Rivera started at right guard and played a good portion of the game. He was part of an NFC ground attack which gained 136 yards. Rivera paved the way for Green and the game's top runner, Seattle RB Shaun Alexander who had 66 yards on 13 carries and two touchdowns. The line allowed only one sack, absorbed by Hasselbeck for 0 yards.

*Also part of the NFC's effective O-line was Packer center Mike Flanagan. He played behind starter Matt Birk, seeing plenty of PT and also serving as long snapper for the entire game.

Packer Report Top Stories