Heroic, historic day for Longwell

During the course of the Packers' 34-31 win over the Minnesota Vikings Sunday at Lambeau Field, Ryan Longwell had already kicked himself further Packer history in his usual quiet way. There was nothing quiet about his eventual contribution -- the game-winning 33-yard field goal to put the Packers back on top the NFC North.<p>

The team, the crowd and even the band kept the celebration going loud and long. Later, in the locker room, even Longwell himself spoke out more than is typical for this unassuming star.

"This feels great," Longwell said. "I don't know if I'm a hero but it feels great to be a big part of a big win."

Longwell had the last word in both halves. He had connected on a 43-yarder with no time remaining in the first half to give Green Bay a 24-10 lead at the break. When the Packers saw their lead evaporate late in the game, Longwell was ready when the 11th-hour call came again.

"Like I tell you guys every week, I prepare myself of a game-winner every single week. I actually told Rob (Davis), my snapper, when we missed that fourth-and-one, 'We're going to have to kick a game winner.' "

Consistency has been Longwell's trademark during his 8 seasons here. That's an accomplishment in itself considering the weather conditions that have earned Lambeau its "frozen tundra" moniker.

Longwell explained how he manages to compile dome-like numbers in old-school conditions.

" A lot of people told me when I started that you can't kick the ball from 40 yards consistently in Green Bay. But I have kept the same routine, the same style, and it seems to be working for me.

"I take the same approach with an extra point, a 23-yard field goal or a 53-yard field goal," Longwell said.

The team's all-time scoring leader, Longwell certainly has provided his share of game-winning margins. Other times he's kicked a go-ahead field goal, then sat back and watched the defense hang on. But Sunday's kick will be remembered as one of the consistent veteran kicker's "walk-off" field goals. The win over Minnesota is one of Longwell's most memorable.

In 2000, Longwell converted three game-winning attempts -- the first of his career, at any level. His field goals not only gave Green Bay three last-second win, they also provided some of the most interesting story lines of that season -- a 6-3 win over the Eagles, a 31-28 victory over the 49ers at 3Com Park, and a 17-14 overtime win over Tampa Bay on Christmas Eve for the Packers' final points of that playoff-less season.

Longwell had to wait two years for another chance to display his last-second heroics. He kicked the game-winner in the Packers' 37-34 overtime win over Atlanta in the 2002 season opener.

The rest of Longwell's day Sunday won't make SportsCenter, but it will make the record books. He became the first Packer ever to reach the 900-point plateau. He entered the game with 898, already a team record. With the PAT following Fisher's scoring catch and fumble recovery, Longwell reached 900. He exceeded it a few minutes later after Favre connected with Bubba Franks with his third TD pass of the afternoon.

Besides the game-winner, Longwell also connected on a 43-yard field goal to end the first half and finished the game with 10 points, giving him 908 total. through seven seasons and 9 games. Second on Green Bay's all-time list is Don Hutson. His previous record of 823, compiled over 11 seasons, stood for nearly 60 years.

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