Big plays on big stage

JACKSONVILLE – To get a huge win Monday night in Jacksonville, the Green Bay Packers made big plays.<p> The Packers made a half dozen major plays in the second half to beat the Jaguars 28-21, and remain in the thick of the NFC Central chase.<p>

"We started to really make plays in the second half," said Packers head coach Mike Sherman. "I felt we gave a good effort through the whole game, and the guys never quit. The guys never doubted on the sidelines."

Green Bay had one big play in the first half – a 13-yard shovel pass to Ahman Green for a touchdown that took the Jaguars completely by surprise.

But the biggies really came in the third quarter. On the period's first play, quarterback Brett Favre connected with Antonio Freeman down the right sideline for 63 yards to the Jacksonville 10. Even though the drive ended when Ryan Longwell's 29-yard field goal was blocked, the strike was the shape of things to come.

"Coach asked me what we should call, and I told him to not worry about their defense, just call the plays," said Freeman, who finished with three catches for 104 yards – all in the second half . "That's when things turned around." Late in the third quarter, Favre fumbled and Jacksonville returned it 60 yards for a touchdown to take a 21-7 lead. But Favre didn't let that bother him. He just cranked it up.

On the ensuing possession, he hit Freeman for 12 yards, threw incomplete, then fired a 43-yard missile to Bill Schroeder, who caught the ball in stride along the right sideline and scored a touchdown.

On the next kickoff, Packers reserve linebacker Chris Gizzi forced a fumble, and rookie Torrance Marshall recovered it at the Jaguars 32. Favre whistled a 29-yard dart to Freeman down the middle to the Jacksonville 3. He finished the drive by feathering a 1-yard pass to tight end Bubba Franks to tie the game at 21 with 58 seconds left in the period.

In the third quarter, Favre was 11 of 15 for 178 yards and two scores. "I felt that after we started to protect Brett, he made some big plays," Sherman said. "He made some great throws and our guys made some nice catches."

Finally, on second down from the 6, Favre rolled left, looked for fullback William Henderson, avoided a sack by Tony Brackens, and dashed six yards for the winning touchdown with 1:30 left.


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