Preseason ends with a whimper

The starters got off to a strong start before miscues made a mess of the Packers' final tuneup before the regular season, a 27-7 loss to the Titans in Nashville Friday night.<p>

Four turnovers, dropped passes, missed tackles, more flags and B.J. Sander's shanked punt were definitely not on coach Mike Sherman's to-do list for the preseason wrap-up.

"Certainly we don't want to turn the ball over," Sherman said. "It's a great lesson because that generally dictates football games...We need to not make it hard on ourselves."

At the onset the Packers looked ready for prime time. Behind his full offensive line for the first time in preseason play, Brett Favre drove the Packers into Titans territory on the first possession. He completed his first three passes, including two for first downs.

That roll ended abruptly when Titans cornerback Samari Rolle got a hand on a Favre pass intended for Javon Walker at the 30 and linebacker Keith Bulluck was in perfect position to grab the tip and run 70 yards for an interception return touchdown.

Rolle got one of his own on the first play of the Packers' third possession. He returned the interception to the Green Bay 15.

"I felt like we were in rhythm the whole night, but turnovers and penalties will kill you," Favre said.

Just when things were looking bad for Green Bay's starting offense with two turnovers, the defense took its turn at disaster. On the third play after the interception, Titans QB Steve McNair tossed to Derrick Mason, who faked out safety Mark Roman and waltzed in for a 14-yard TD.

The Packers found themselves down 14-0 with the game barely 10 minutes old and most of the starters on the field.

Favre got the Packers back on the board with drive culminating in a beautiful 53-yard touchdown strike to receiver Robert Ferguson with 4:19 remaining in the second quarter.

"Our scoring drive, which was our longest drive of the day, was effective because we made plays and didn't make mistakes," Favre said. The other key to the TD march was Najeh Davenport's 22-yard run. The drive covered 86 yards in five plays.

The offense's highlight reel stops there as the Packers were shut out in the second half.

Favre finished 10-of-20 for 113 yards. Davenport led rushing with 75 yards on 15 carries. The other Packer RBs won't have much to write home about from Nashville. Tony Fisher had 26 yards on 5 carries but tweaked his knee and limped off the field. Walter Williams chipped in first-down run, but came away with just a 2-yard average on 6 carries. Ahman Green watched it all from the sidelines in street clothes as he rests his knee for the Sept. 13 opener.

The defense, led in the first half by linebacker Nick Barnett's six tackles, had another spark remaining in the late going. Rookie cornerback Ahmad Carroll intercepted Billy Volek's pass intended for Tramon Douglas at the Packers' 38 yard line. The play put a pleasant end on the top draft pick's up and down preseason as he matched Douglas all the way and simply outjumped and outreached the receiver and took the ball away. The Packers, however, couldn't capitalize on Carroll's pick and were forced to punt.

No one distinguished themselves in the QB derby. Tim Couch was 3-of-6 for 14 yards on his single series. Scott McBrien was 1-of-3 for 5 yards. Craig Nall was 3-of-9 for 71 yards and could have had bigger numbers if not for a dropped would-be touchdown by Kelvin Kight, Scottie Vines' fumble or Nall's interception in the end zone to end the most promising drive of the second half. Nall's highlight was a 37-yard strike to RB Walter Williams.

Green Bay (1-3 in preseason) has to wait an extra day for the real action to get underway. The Carolina Panthers host the Pack on Monday Night Football Sept. 13.


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