Giants run past Packers, 14-7

The Green Bay Packers have officially reached unfamiliar territory in the Mike Sherman era. Brett Favre is hurting, the offense is struggling, and the defense, which failed to stop the pass a week earlier, had all kinds of problems slowing Tiki Barber and the New York Giants rushing attack Sunday at Lambeau Field.<p>

Barber gashed the Packers for 182 yards, including a 52-yard touchdown run, as the Giants upended the Packers, 14-7, sending Green Bay to its third straight loss and first 1-3 start since 1993.

In his fifth season as head coach, Sherman has never lost three straight games. The Packers haven't lost back-to-back games at home since 1999 and haven't started a season at home 0-2 since 1988. And the Giants won for the first time in Green Bay since Sept. 19, 1971, when they beat the Packers, 42-40.

The Packers, favored by many this year to win the NFC Championship, have not been able to get in sync since they opened the season with a convincing 24-14 victory over the Carolina Panthers. To make matters worse, Favre suffered a concussion early in the third quarter and his status for Green Bay's Monday Night game on Oct. 11 against Tennessee is uncertain.

"If everyone here is willing to put their head down and work at this thing, we'll be all right," said Packers guard Mike Wahle. "If you can trust the player next to you is doing everything he can to win this football game, we'll be all right. We can correct all the other stuff. We can correct it. You just can't get too down. I'm down right now, but you can be damn sure on Wednesday (practice) I'll be ready to go. That's how you have to play this game.

"It's a tough game. It's tough physically and it's real tough mentally. You put way too much work in to lose a football game. You put way too much work in. The thing is, you have to be able to bounce back. If everyone here will work at it, we'll be all right. We have enough talent. We're just making way too many mistakes. We're beating ourselves. Nobody's beating us. We're beating ourselves."

Unlike a week earlier when the Indianapolis Colts attacked the Packers by air, the Giants used a rushing attack to control the game. The Giants finished with 403 yards of offense, including 245 on the ground. New York had the ball on offense nearly 12 minutes more than the Packers.

Barber's 38-yard run to the Packers' 11 set up quarterback Kurt Warner's 4-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jeremy Shockey, giving the Giants a 14-7 lead. The Giants had opportunities to seal the game with less than four minutes remaining, but kicker Steve Christie missed from 30 and 33 yards out - both kicks wide left into the swirling wind.

The Packers got the ball back with 3:47 left after Christie's first miss, but Pederson, who completed 7 of 17 passes for 86 yards, was intercepted by cornerback Terry Cousin when wide receiver Robert Ferguson tipped a high pass into the air. Cousin returned the ball to the Packers' 41.

The Giants moved to the ball to the Green Bay 15 and ran the clock down to 30 seconds before Christie missed his second straight field goal attempt.

Pederson completed a 20-yard pass to running back Ahman Green to the Packers 44, then threw incomplete to Ferguson with 15 seconds remaining. The Packers said that Pederson injured himself when he was hit in the side, which allowed them to use designated third-string quarterback Craig Nall, who has a much stronger arm than Pederson. Nall completed a 24-yard pass to Ferguson over the middle, but time ran out and the Giants (3-1) went on to their third straight win.

"If you looked at our schedule and said that we would be 3-1 after four games, I think most people would be happy," said Warner. "We would love to be 4-0, but we are happy at 3-1. We just have to keep it going."

The Packers turned the ball over three times to the Giants. They committed penalties that stalled drives, or field position at the start of a series, and they were unable to run the ball on a defense that was ranked 22nd in the league against the run entering the game.

Green Bay entered the game averaging 126 yards rushing per game, but the Packers finished with 81. Green was held to 58 yards rushing on 15 attempts and fumbled the ball away during a second quarter drive. The Packers were 4 of 11 (36%) on third-down conversions.

"I think the ineffectiveness for us on third down offensively (and) our inability to run the football offensively was a factor," Sherman said. "I think defensively were were very good on third down against them, but we didn't stop the run game. They controlled the ball a fair amount of the time."

After a scoreless first half, the Packers appeared to take control of the game. Green Bay took the opening drive of the third quarter from their own 20 to New York's 29. But Favre, who started his 193rd straight regular season game, hit his head on the ground when he was tackled by defensive tackle William Joseph and defensive end Michael Strahan. Favre was penalized on the play for intentional grounding, but Joseph also drew a facemask penalty on Favre, who was forced to leave the game with 11:32 left in the quarter. Pederson took two plays before Favre re-entered the game to a thunderous cheer from the crowd of 70,623 and threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Javon Walker to give the Packers a 7-0 lead.

Team doctors didn't want Favre to re-enter the game, but he walked up to the sideline and signaled to Sherman that he was OK to play. Sherman, unaware that Favre was not to play on doctors' orders, waived him in. Favre lobbied with team doctors to finish the game, but was unsuccessful in his attempt.

"Certainly as a coach I would have liked to have had him in there, but certainly the doctors' ruling ... as I asked them a number of times how he was doing, they said he just was a little cloudy which is indicative of a concussion," Sherman said.

Green Bay's lead didn't last long. Barber broke through a hole on the right side of the line as the Giants caught the Packers with a number of players near the line of scrimmage. With no safeties to stop him, Barber raced untouched the rest of the way to tie the game at 7-7.

"They had been coming up on the outside and dropping out," said New York coach Tom Coughlin about Green Bay's defensive backs. "As they came up to insert for the run we got the key block and everyone was at linebacker depth and before you knew it he was past the secondary, which was up very close trying to defend the run. We got some real good blocks. That was a huge part of the game."

The Packers and Giants each forced turnovers between the first and second quarters but neither team was able to capitalize. Darren Sharper made his second interception of the season late in the first quarter when he picked off Warner at the goal line on third-and-two and returned the ball to the 18. The Packers, however, gave the ball back to the Giants two plays later when Green fumbled the ball away at the end of a 19-yard run. But Green Bay's defense held the Giants, and Christie's 49-yard field goal attempt fell short.

"You can either lay down, or you can get stronger," said defensive end Aaron Kampman. "I know that's a corny cliche, but that's the truth. You invest too much to go the other way. We'll continue to fight."

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