Game notes: Green plays through pain

Refusing to let a knee cap injury caused by a leg whip ruin his afternoon, running back Ahman Green finished a stellar day with a 7-yard run that put the Packers well into kicker Ryan Longwell's comfort zone. The result was a 34-31 win over the Vikings Sunday at Lambeau Field.<p>

Green finished the day with 145 yards on 21 carries. He surpassed the 100-yard mark on the team's first drive of the second half, immediately upon returning from the injury to his left kneecap. Sunday marked the fourth 100-yard game of the season for Green and the 28th of his career - a Packer record.

"We didn't think we were going to have him, but he taped it up and came out," coach Mike Sherman said of Green. "I can't say enough about this kid, he just did a great job of coming out there and giving us everything he had with that injury. He's pretty sore." Sackmaster: Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila produced back-to-back sacks of Daunte Culpepper for a combined 11 yards in losses early in the fourth quarter. That tied him with Ezra Johnson at 41.5 in third place on the Packers' all-time sack list. Reggie White (68.5) and Tim Harris (55) top Green Bay's list of sacks, a stat that has only been kept since 1982.

DT James Lee celebrated his first career sack, dumping Culpepper for a 1-yard loss.

Many (mostly) happy returns: Despite Robert Ferguson's final return fumble which put the game in a precarious position, the Packers' return game came up big Sunday.

Ferguson returned three kicks of 109 yards, a 36.3 average. His longest was a 55-yarder which set up a Packer touchdown drive which spanned the late-third and early-fourth quarters.

Before going down with a hamstring injury, Najeh Davenport had one kickoff return for 27 yards and Antonio Chatman returned two kicks for 27 yards.

The Packers team average of 27.2 yards per return is their best of the season.

Seeing red: The Vikings colors were purple, gold and red Sunday at Lambeau. Coach Mike Tice launched the replay hankie twice within a short span in the first half. The first, a 35-yard Brett Favre-to-David Martin completion was ruled a catch when safety Brian Russell pushed Martin out of bounds. The Vikings challenged Martin's possession, not the un-reviewable push out of bounds. Replays showed Martin maintained control throughout and the Vikings were assessed a time out.

Martin's catch ignited a drive which resulted in ... another red flag. This time, the Vikes had to pick it up and put it back in their pocket while the Packers put up another TD. Favre went to Tony Fisher on a short pass on third-and-goal from the 2. Fisher scooped it in, but fumbled as he crossed the goal line. With the help of teammate Grey Ruegamer, Fisher recovered his own fumble. The Vikings immediately challenged the ruling of touchdown on the field. Upon receiving an explanation that Fisher had recovered the live ball, the Vikings could not challenge the ruling and had to withdraw the flag.

The official ruling in the booth was a 2-yard TD pass for Favre and TD catch, fumble and recovery for Fisher.

Green Bay threw a flag of their own with 6:38 to go in the third quarter. On a fourth-and-a scant 1 on the Vikings' 15, FB Nick Luchey drove up the middle and appeared to move the pile at least enough for the first down. The spot appeared to be behind where Luchey was down, and the ensuing measurement came up about 2 chain links short, for a ruling of zero gain. Green Bay challenged the ruling, and repeated replays seemed to indicate that Luchey was beyond the necessary yard. As the players were unpiling, an unidentified Vikings defender grabbed Luchey by the legs and pulled him backwards, but that was also clearly seen on the video. The red flag didn't help Green Bay in the red zone, however. Officials ruled that Luchey had not gained any yardage, upheld the ruling and assessed Green Bay a time out.

Sherman said that if he had to do it all over again, he may have reconsidered and kicked the field goal.

"That's what I'm asking myself right now," Sherman said, responding to a question about whyhe didn't take the near-automatic three points from Longwell. "But I think it's obvious. We had 170 yards rushing at that time, and I was pretty confident we were going to get that.

"(Luchey) did get it, but they didn't rule it that way. In hind sight we should have kicked the field goal."

The beat goes on: Mike Sherman's successful hand in the offensive scheme continued Sunday. The Packers' first drive resulted in a touchdown as Favre connected on a 50-yard strike to Javon Walker who juked his way into the end zone. Before that, Favre had gone to Driver on the opening play and Green and Davenport shared the RB load.

Punch the clock: Within the first four minutes of the Packers-Vikings clash Sunday at Lambeau Field, Brett Favre had already added more mileage to his milestones.

*The first snap marked Favre's 200th consecutive game and 198th consecutive start. The start streak is an NFL record for QBs. The consecutive game streak, be lieve it or not, isn't even the longest active streak. Kansas City's Kendall Gammon is one up, playing in his 201st consecutive game Sunday.

Favre obviously does hold the mark for active starting streaks among quarterbacks. His 198 games ranks well ahead of second-place Peyton Manning of Indianapolis, who started his 105th consecutive game Sunday in an OT loss to the New York Jets. Former Packer Aaron Brooks, now with New Orleans, now ranks third with 61 consecutive starts.

*Eight plays into the game, Favre connected with Javon Walker for a 50-yard touchdown pass. That kept Favre's streak of consecutive games with a touchdown pass alive at 34. He cemented his second place spot on the NFL's all-time list. Johnny Unitas is the record-holder with his 47-game streak (1956-60).

Favre went on to have a stellar game, going 20-of-29 for 236 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions - a 133.0 QB rating.

*Favre reached the 4-TD mark two minutes into the fourth quarter on a six-yard pass to William Henderson. That gave Favre 18 quadruple-TD games in his career, breaking a tie with Johnny Unitas in the No. 2 spot on the NFL's all-time list. Favre now holds second place all alone, behind record-holder Dan Marino with 21.

*Bubba Franks' TD was the 25th of his career, tying him with No. 2 Ed West (25) on the team's all-time tight end list.

Injuries: The Packer offense took it on the chin in the first half, with four players heading to the locker room with injuries. Most had happy returns.

RB Ahman Green injured his left kneecap on the first play of a drive that wrapped up the first half. Green was the target of a leg whip and spent a few scary minutes down on the field writhing in pain. Green first needed assistance off the field, then walked under his own power. He walked to the locker room for further examination. After halftime, Green was running on the sideline and awaited further evaluation to return. He returned on the Packers first drive of the second half, and marked his arrival with back-to-back first-down carries for 9-and 21- yards respectively.

RB Najeh Davenport injured his left hamstring in the first quarter, either on the kickoff return or subsequent carry. His return was announced as questionable, but he was unable to return. Davenport had injured his right hamstring previously this season.

WR Robert Ferguson suffered a shoulder injury in the second quarter. He was taken to the locker room for x-rays and his return was also announced as questionable. After halftime, Ferguson was cleared to return. He came back in during the Packers' first drive of the second half and immediately drew a pass-interference call against the Vikes for another GB first down. Later in the third quarter, Ferguson returned a kickoff 55 yards to the Vikings 35

TE David Martin was taken into the lockerroom for x-rays on his left knee. Martin was injured on special teams during the second half kickoff. After the game coach Sherman said the extent of Martin's injury was unknown.

The only defensive injuries for the Packers came late in game. Linebacker Na'il Diggs suffered a calf injury on the Vikings' second-and-goal play at the Packer 2 late in the game and did not return. Bhawoh Jue was injured on the next play, as he struggled in vain to keep Onterrio Smith out of the end zone. He was reported to have had the wind knocked out of him, and was able to return to the game.

For the Vikings, QB Daunte Culpepper suffered a bruised left knee at the end of the third quarter but continued to play, throwing two touchdown passes after the injury.

Matchup woes: In their efforts to patch up the hole left by Moss' injury, the Vikings found a favorable matchup between TE Jermaine Wiggins and Packer LB Hannibal Navies. Wiggins, a burly tight end who is listed as the team's starting halfback, plays like a receiver and proved to be way too elusive for Navies to handle. Wiggins was the Vikings' second-leading receiver with 94 yards on six catches, including the Vikings' first touchdown.

Mike's milestone: With Sunday's win, Green Bay coach Mike Sherman became the second-fastest coach in team history to reach 50 wins. He did it in his 78th game Sunday, while Vince Lombardi accomplished 50 wins in 78 games. Only five coaches have reached 50 wins at all for Green Bay (including post-season) -- Curly Lambeau (212), Vince Lombardi (98), Mike Holmgren (84), Bart Starr (53) and Sherman (50).

Badger antics: The University of Wisconsin Marching Band made their annual pilgrimage to Lambeau Field and left a lasting impression on Viking villian Chris Hovan. As the Badger band played their pre-game show, part of the formation was just feet away from the Vikings sideline. Hovan refused to give any ground as he stood at the very edge of the Vikings' designated turf. When a slide trombone brushed Hovan, he appeared to hassle one of the sideline conductors. The Badger conductor, standing about a foot shorter than Hovan and without the benefit of a helmet or pads, just smiled and kept conducting.

Later, the always zany tuba section displayed a message for injured WR Randy Moss. Their spelling of "Where you at, Moss?" drew a grin and applause from the Vikings' sidelined receiver.

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