Packers-49ers Flashback

If there's one team that seems to bring out the best in Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers, it's the San Francisco 49ers.<p>

Favre once again picked apart the 49ers' secondary as the Green Bay offense played its best game of the season from start to finish, then got a game-winning field goal from Ryan Longwell with 54 seconds remaining for a 31-28 victory Oct. 15, 2000, before 59,870 at Lambeau Field.

The Packers won for the seventh time in the last eight games against the 49ers dating back to 1995. The win snapped Green Bay's two-game losing streak and gives the Packers a 3-4 record heading into the bye week, plus a boost of confidence.

"We just wanted to win," said wide receiver Antonio Freeman, who caught six passes for 116 yards and one touchdown. "We've been on the other side of the coin so much this year that we just wanted to win the football game. We made some plays and scored some points."

The Packers also finished without any turnovers in a game for the first time this season. Green Bay entered the game with a league-worst 18, but Favre didn't throw any interceptions and no one fumbled the ball away.

Green Bay's defense gave up 414 total yards to the 49ers' No. 3 ranked offense. Quarterback Jeff Garcia picked apart the secondary by passing for 336 yards and four touchdowns, including a 37-yard strike to wide receiver Terrell Owens with 5 minutes, 30 seconds left in the game. But, like they did throughout the game, the Packers bounced back and never relinquished the lead. It didn't hurt that they were playing against the league's worst defense.

Despite an offensive pass interference penalty on wide receiver Bill Schroeder that pushed the Packers to the 29 at the start of the game-winning drive, Favre put the Packers in position to win.

Favre completed a 14-yard pass to tight end Bubba Franks, scrambled for 11 yards and passed for 11 yards to Freeman as the Packers moved to the 49ers' 35. Dorsey Levens, who returned to the lineup after sitting out a week earlier in a loss at Detroit with an ankle injury, pounded for three yards to the 32. Favre passed for seven yards to Freeman before the Packers ran the ball three more times to set up the red-hot Longwell for a 35-yard attempt.

Longwell easily split the uprights for his 12th straight field goal, and second game-winner of the season. San Francisco (2-5) got the ball back with 46 seconds left on their own 21 and no timeouts. Garcia passed to running back Charlie Garner on the final play of the game for 33 yards, but Garner was stopped at the Packers' 28 by safety Scott McGarrahan as time expired.

"I'm certainly happy that we won this game," said Packers coach Mike Sherman. "It makes the bye week a little more enjoyable. You build confidence, and hopefully we can take another step."

Green Bay begins a challenging stretch Oct. 29 against Miami. The Packers return home to play a Monday night game against Minnesota, then play at Tampa Bay Nov. 12, and return home against Indianapolis on Nov. 19.

Unfortunately, San Francisco isn't on the schedule anymore this season.

"I wish we could play them every week," joked Favre, who completed 20 of 27 passes for 266 yards with one touchdown.

The Packers have had to rely on their offense playing catchup in the last couple of weeks after digging deep holes because of turnovers and ineffectiveness. But the Packers got some consistency, scoring a touchdown in each quarter, and never trailed to the 49ers.

Green Bay established its running game behind Levens, who has been hobbled by knee and ankle injuries but hammered out 57 yards on 17 carries. Ahman Green got his first two-touchdown game of his career and added another 40 yards rushing. Levens and Green combined for six catches as well.

Green scored his second touchdown of the game on a one-yard run with 8:01 left in the fourth quarter. The drive was sparked by a 33-yard pass interference penalty by the 49ers' Jason Webster on wide receiver Donald Driver in the end zone, which put the Packers at the 1. Green finally cracked the plane on his third straight attempt and the Packers led 28-21.

The three rushing touchdowns are the most by the Packers in one game since the season finale last year against Arizona.

Levens scored Green Bay's second rushing touchdown of the game by pounding in from the one-yard line to cap an 80-yard drive at the start of the second half. Favre caught fire during the march by completing all four of his passes for 61 yards, including a 29-yard completion to running back Ahman Green to the 1.

The 49ers closed to 21-14 on the ensuing series when Garcia got hot. The 49ers' quarterback completed eight of nine passes, including an eight-yard pass to fullback Fred Beasley on third-and-6 to Green Bay's 23. On the next play, Garcia found wide receiver J.J. Stokes wide open in the end zone.

The 49ers came back to tie the score on Garcia's 16-yard touchdown pass to Owens early in the fourth quarter.

The Packers took a 14-7 halftime lead by driving 74 yards on 10 plays and scored on Ahman Green's two-yard touchdown plunge with 51 seconds left in the half.

The Packers, who had struggled to take halftime leads in only one of their previous six games, rolled up 187 total yards of offense, including 72 on the ground. Aside from their performance against the Cardinals, it was their best first-half of the season.

For the first time since the first game of the season, the Packers scored a touchdown in the first half at Lambeau Field. That came on Favre's 67-yard scoring strike to Freeman late in the first quarter giving the Packers a 7-0 lead.

"We didn't bury ourselves in the first quarter like we have in the past," Sherman said. "We were able to get up on them 7-0 and, for the most part, hold the lead in the game.

Favre, under pressure, found Freeman wide open and in stride at the 45. Freeman darted down the left side, got a key block from wide receiver Donald Driver on cornerback Monty Montgomery, then beat out safety Pierson Prioleau to the pylon for the touchdown.

"We found a hole in the zone and he (Favre) hit me in stride," said Freeman. "I was determined to get in."

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