Game notes: Offensive puts on a show

Much credit has been given to - and deserved by - coach Mike Sherman's play-calling in the absence of offensive coordinator Tom Rossley. Sherman assumed the duties again Sunday, this time with Rossley close at hand. For the second week in a row, the offense put on a successful show.<P>

"Trust me, it's not the plays, it's the players," Sherman said at his post-game press conference.

Sherman's opening act resulted in a seven-play, 53-yard drive and a field goal. Here's a recap of that Packers' first series:

1-10 (GB 39): Ahman Green right guard to GB 43 for 4 yards.

2-6 (GB 43): Green right end to GB 46 for 3 yards. 3-3 (GB 46): Favre pass complete to Javon Walker for 44 yards to the Dallas 10.

1-10 (DAL 10): Favre pass incomplete to Driver - it sailed just a bit high for the receiver in the end zone.

2-10 (DAL 10) Green ran left end for two yards to Dallas 8.

3-8 (DAL 8) Favre pass incomplete, intended for William Henderson, batted down by Greg Ellis.

4-8 (DAL 8) Ryan Longwell's 26-yard field goal was good, gying the game at 3-3 with 5:17 to go in the quarter.

Everyone, from Sherman to Favre to a host of other offensive players were pleased with the play calling but emphasized the execution instead.

Sherman also extended the credit to Rossley, who continues to recuperate from his angioplasty but was working in tandem with Sherman Sunday afternoon.

"Tom Rossley was great in a supporting role. He was always right there when I needed a play. The halfback pass was his."

Favre's review gave Sherman more credit than the coach would give himself, but still kept the spotlight on the way the plays unfold.

"That would be the obvious bandwagon to jump on. I think (Sherman) has done a fine job, but I feel that we executed much better - the way we're supposed to," Favre said. "It's not like we're doing anything new."

Always an option:

The bizarre is becoming business as usual for the Packers. Green Bay has successfully used the option pass two weeks in a row, connecting for touchdowns both times. This week RB Tony Fisher hit the ready-and-waiting Bubba Franks with an 8-yard pass on the opening drive of the second quarter to put the Packers up 27-6.

"I guess there's a competition now to see who has the best arm," Sherman said.

Franks proved his versatility by tossing the TD last week to Javon Walker. The TE's touchdown catch this week leaves him just one shy of the No. 2 spot on the Packer's list of all-time touchdowns by a tight end. That spot is currently held by Ed West with 25.

Converting success: One clue to the Packers' dominance Sunday was their success rate on third down. Through the first three quarters when the game was still on the line, the Pack converted an amazing 9-of-11 (82 percent). A couple late-game miscues on third down left them will a still impressive 69 percent.

Brett Favre shed light on the improved performance on third downs. He credited Darrell Bevell, who in addition to his role as QBs coach also is in charge of third down execution.

"It starts with the plays you design, but after that it's execution. We worked extremely hard on that this week," Favre said. "We watched tapes of (Dallas') third-down defense, and when we got in the huddle on third down I'd say 'What do we expect?' "

Sack exchange: Dallas came in boasting 14 sacks in five games. The Packers had given up only three in six games. Green Bay came out ahead of this clash, too. Eric Ogbogu's sack of Favre (capped with a personal foul face mask penalty) was only the first allowed by the Packers in 187 pass attempts and was the Cowboys only sack of the game. Meanwhile, Green Bay sacked Testaverde twice for 12 yards in losses, and also tackled the QB for an 8-yard loss after a snap from center went awry. Because Testaverde is credited with the recovery of the fumble, the result is a rush rather than a sack.

Walker in the spotlight: With Robert Ferguson less than 100 percent, Javon Walker continued stepping up and had the numbers to prove it Sunday. He caught 8 passes for 129 yards and a touchdown, as he posted his fourth 100-yard game of the season and surpassed 100 career receptions. Previously, Walker had just one regular-season 100-yard game (4-124 at Oakland, Dec. 22, 2003) and one in post-season play (5-111 vs. Seattle, Jan. 4, 2004).

Injuries: Safety Darren Sharper injured his left knee in the first quarter, either on or shortly after he broke up Terry Glenn's pass attempt in the end zone. Sharper was taken to the locker room for x-rays and further treatment of the knee and his return was originally announced as questionable. The x-rays were negative, but Sharper was diagnosed with a sprain of his left ACL and did not return. An MRI is scheduled for Monday.

Favre sprained his right hand when he hit it against a helmet in the first quarter.

"I started thinking about last year when I broke my thumb," Favre said. "Today it hurt the worst on snaps." Tight end Bubba Franks suffered a stinger in the second quarter after throwing a block for Najeh Davenport. Franks returned with a bang to finish with an 8-yard touchdown catch from Fisher.

Guard Marco Rivera was taken out of the game as a precaution in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury.


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