Play of the Game: Sharper's INT

In Packers coach Mike Sherman's dreams, he would have wished for the Packers to take a commanding lead early so he could pull his big guns.

Dreams do come true, thanks to a play by the maligned defense.

The Packers had just taken a 14-7 lead on the strength of a stunning two-play, 86-yard drive. On the first play, Brett Favre threw a picture-perfect deep ball to Donald Driver, who made a leaping catch over ace Bears cornerback Jerry Azumah for a 48-yard gain. On the next play, fullback William Henderson ran a wheel route in which he headed toward the right flat. Safety Mike Green jumped Henderson in the flat, but Henderson turned his route upfield. Favre hit a wide-open Henderson around the 20-yard line for a 38-yard catch-and-run touchdown.

Packers safety Darren Sharper put the game on ice moments later. On third-and-2, the Bears ran a three-man route to help with their shaky pass protection. Nobody was open, and Bears quarterback Chad Hutchinson began to scramble. Running back Thomas Jones was double covered in the flat by linebacker Na'il Diggs and cornerback Al Harris. Wide receiver David Terrell ran his route up the sideline, but stood as if stuck in cement as Hutchinson scrambled. That's a huge no-no. From the back side, receiver Bobby Wade made himself available by running across the middle.

Hutchinson locked in on Wade, and so did Sharper. Sharper started the play between the hash marks and the numbers near the Packers' sideline and was making his break before Hutchinson cocked the ball. By the time Hutchinson released the ball, Sharper was closing fast. He stepped in front of the pass on the numbers near the Chicago sideline and ran it back 43 yards for a touchdown.

The touchdown tied Herb Adderley's team record for touchdowns by a defender with seven. It was Sharper's third touchdown of the season, also tying the team record held by Adderley and Sharper, who scored three times during his rookie season.

More importantly, however, Sharper's touchdown made Sherman comfortable enough that he sat Brett Favre and Ahman Green for the day.

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