The Packers, who began the season 1-4, enter their bye week having won their last three games to improve to 4-4. Green Bay moved within a game of the division-leading Minnesota Vikings, who lost 34-13 to the New York Giants and fell to 5-2. The Packers will host the Vikings on Nov. 14 at Lambeau Field when they return from the break.
"We dug ourselves a pretty deep hole and have climbed to .500 right now and now we've just got to keep climbing," said Packers coach and general manager Mike Sherman. "There's no better feeling than going into the bye week with a win in your pocket. I know my wife's happy, that's for sure." The Redskins, coming off of a bye week, entered the game with the league's top-ranked defense, but were without linebackers LaVar Arrington (knee) and Mike Barrow (knee), and safety Sean Taylor, who was arrested for drunken driving earlier in the week and benched for the game by Redskins coach Joe Gibbs.
In a rare case in the NFL, the Packers committed four turnovers (three interceptions and a lost fumble) to Washington's two (two interceptions), but hung on to win the game.
Besides Harris' key interception, the Packers got a huge break on the previous play when Washington was penalized for a false start. The Packers threw an all-out blitz at quarterback Mark Brunell, who managed to pass the ball over the middle to Clinton Portis. Portis raced into the end zone for an apparent game-tying touchdown, only to have it nullified by tight end Chris Cooley's falst start. Harris then stepped in front of Gardner on the next play and picked off Brunell's pass, returning it 29 yards to the Redskins' 36 with 1 minute, 50 seconds left in the game.
"Obviously, the play of the game was Al Harris' (interception)," said Sherman. "I'm just proud of the team. They did a phenomenal job." Harris injured his right knee last Sunday against the Cowboys. He didn't practice until Friday of this week, but played the entire game against the Redskins. Favre sprained his right hand against the Cowboys and hurt his right thumb during the game against the Redskins.
"It's the character of this team," Sherman said. "We had guys around the clock getting treatment, hoping that they could play this week. ... They fought to get back on the field. It's a great lesson, the commitment they have to their job and to the Green Bay Packers."
Green Bay's offense was still in high gear after scoring 41 points a week earlier against the Dallas Cowboys and 38 points in a win on Oct. 17 over the Detroit Lions.
The Packers racked up 216 yards of offense and scored two touchdowns and a field goal on their first three possessions, and took a 17-0 lead Favre's 9-yard touchdown pass to Javon Walker midway through the second quarter.
The Packers had a chance to put the game out of reach midway through the second quarter. Bhawoh Jue, starting in place of Sharper, intercepted a pass and returned it 22 yards to the Redskins' 49. But on the next play, Favre tried to thread a pass to tight end Bubba Franks, but Shawn Springs stepped in front and got the first of his two interceptions in the game.
The Redskins started on Green Bay's 24 after Favre was penalized on Springs' return for a cut block. Washington then closed to 17-7 on Brunell's 12-yard touchdown pass to Rod Gardner.
The Packers offense went into a funk after Jue recovered Washington's onside kick at the start of the second half. The Packers moved 24 yards to the Redskins' 20, but Favre threw incomplete on two straight downs, and the Packers settled for Ryan Longwell's 39-yard field goal for a 20-7 lead.
Despite the offense's struggles, Green Bay's defense kept the Redkins in check through most of the second half. The Packers held Pro Bowl running back Clinton Portis to 70 yards rushing on 17 carries for the game and 81 yards rushing overall. The defense also sacked Brunell four times.
Springs got his second interception of the game midway through the fourth quarter in Green Bay territory and returned it to the Packers 17. Brunell followed by throwing his second touchdown pass of the game to Gardner to make it 20-14 with 4:46 left.
Two plays into the Packers' next possession, Favre threw deep toward Robert Ferguson but cornerback Fred Smoot made a clean catch on the Redskins' 38. But Harris sealed the game with his first interception of the season to thwart Washington's comeback.
"I'm not pleased with the second half, the way I played," said Favre. "I'm pleased with the win, it's a great win, but I'm not satisfied with the way I played. It would be nice to sit here and blame it on something else, but I'm not going to do that."
Favre was impressive early on. The quarterback completed 14 of 18 passes for 234 yards and a touchdown in the first half. The interceptions were his first in five road games.
"We played good in the first half, but we kind of slumped in the second," said wide receiver Donald Driver. "In the second half we made a couple of turnovers that cost us."
The Packers took a 10-0 lead early in the second quarter on Green's 1-yard touchdown run. Favre completed 3 of 5 passes for 73 yards during the 75-yard drive, including a 48-yard completion to Ferguson to the Washington 12 yard line.
The Packers, 6 of 8 on fourth-down conversions this season, got a break on fourth and 1 from the 2 when linebacker Lemar Marshall was flagged for pass interference on tight end David Martin on Green Bay's play-action fake.
– Favre's touchdown pass to Walker in the second quarter marked his 33rd straight game that he has thrown a touchdown pass. Favre trails only Johnny Unitas (47) in NFL history.
– The 48-yard completion was the longest in Ferguson's career.