Packers-Bears: Post-game notes

Favre hasn't thrown a touchdown pass in last four games

Brett Favre's worst season as a pro did not get any better Sunday against the Chicago Bears. The future Hall of Fame quarterback's interception total continued to rise while his touchdown total remained the same for the fourth straight game. Favre, who declined to speak to the media after Green Bay's 24-17 loss to the Bears, passed for 317 yards, completing 30 of 51 attempts, but was intercepted four times. That brought his passer rating to a 44.3, his second worst this season next to the 34.3 rating he had in Green Bay's blowout loss to the Baltimore Ravens six days earlier.

Packers coach Mike Sherman wasn't pleased with Favre's performance, but like he has done all season, he continued to defend his quarterback. "Anytime your quarterback has four interceptions, you have to look at that. I do know this, he did give us a chance to win there at the end."

Sherman said he didn't consider playing Aaron Rodgers after Favre was intercepted by linebacker Lance Briggs deep in Green Bay territory. Briggs' 10-yard return for a touchdown gave the Bears a commanding 24-7 lead with about four minutes left in the third quarter.

"As I've said to you before, (Favre) is our starting quarterback and will be until I am so informed," Sherman said. "He gave us, I thought, the best chance to win the game. Did the thought cross my mind if the score got to a certain point? Yeah, but we had a chance to tie the ballgame at the end and I thought Brett gave us the best opportunity to do that."

Flinn debuts as punter/holder
Ryan Flinn, signed on Thursday after B.J. Sander was placed on injured reserve, punted three times for 120 yards (40.0 yard avg., 30.0 yard net). Flinn had been living in Florida, working as a bartender, when the Packers invited him to Green Bay for a workout.

"I felt I did all right," said Flinn. "These aren't the expectations of what I'm used to, but then again in the last couple of months, I haven't been in cold weather, either. I've been down in Florida. For what it was, I exceeded some people's expectations, but not mine. I feel there is room for improvement. It just goes with experience. The more time I have in the weather, the more I'll know how to handle certain things."

While Flinn fared fairly well in the 34-degree weather punting the ball, he struggled on at least one of kicker Ryan Longwell's two missed field goal attempts. Longwell missed his first attempt of the game from 39 yards. Part of the reason for the miss was due to the ball spinning when Flinn placed it on the turf.

"The first miss I definitely will take responsibility for that one," Flinn said. "The hold was in the right spot, but I couldn't get the ball stopped when I was turning the laces. When Ryan was approaching it, I was trying to stop the ball by putting pressure on my finger. I think that put the ball off a little bit and that messes with a kicker's head … when you see a spinning ball instead of a stopped one.

"I'm not sure if Ryan lost a little bit of confidence, but I felt by the last kick we had everything corrected and down perfect."

Flinn said he felt had a good hold on Longwell's 38-yard miss in the second half.

"We had two days to figure it out, and I thought Ryan (Flinn) did a pretty good job in those two days and we had a pretty decent pregame," said Longwell.

Offensive line shuffled during game
Center Mike Flanagan was forced to leave the game in the second quarter after aggravating a sports hernia injury. With guard Will Whitticker (concussion) out for the game, Sherman moved Grey Ruegamer, who started at right guard in place of Whitticker to center. Left guard Scott Wells was moved to right guard, and Adrian Klemm, who started the first eight games this season before getting benched, stepped in at left guard.

Sherman had the option of inserting rookie Chris White, activated for his first game of the season, at center without shifting Ruegamer and Wells, but felt White was too raw to throw into the fire against the Bears' top-ranked defense.

"We dressed him for that possible reason," Sherman said. "Ruegamer played center last season for us and has filled in a lot for Flanny. I just felt from a knowledge standpoint, because of a pressure-package we're faced from this defense, that Ruegamer had a better comprehension of calls and what we needed to do. I felt confident we went the right way there. I think Chris White, at some point, will be a good player, but he's a young guy right now and didn't think he gave us the best opportunity functionally in the ballgame at this present time. If he was just doing his job, fine. But he has to direct traffic and I was a little bit concerned about that."

Injury report
Safety Nick Collins left for a play in the first quarter when he had the wind knocked out of him. Bears quarterback Rex Grossman took advantage of Collins' absence by firing a six-yard touchdown pass to Muhsin Muhammad, who got open against rookie Marviel Underwood in the end zone.

David Martin suffered a blow to the head after catching a 14-yard pass for a first down from Brett Favre early in the second quarter. Martin did not return.

Wide receiver Antonio Chatman left the game with a hip injury in the fourth quarter, but returned to finish. He had a noticeable limp as he left the locker room.

Chatman finally takes one back
Antonio Chatman returned a punt for a touchdown for the first time in 106 returns when he took Brad Maynard's 25-yard shank 85-yards for a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter.

The return for a touchdown was Green Bay's first since Allen Rossum took one back 55 yards against Tampa Bay in a 21-20 victory on Nov. 4, 2001. Chatman caught the punt on the run, broke through an opening on the right side of the field and raced down the right sideline for the score.

"It was a punt-block and they got pressure on the punter," Chatman said. "He gave me a short kick to the left. Once I saw the crease, I knew I had it."

Chatman injured his hip earlier in the quarter when he caught a pass out of bounds in the back of the end zone from Brett Favre. Though he was advised to stay out of the game, he ran onto the field to return Maynard's punt. "My hip felt like it was going to give out on the other side of the 30, but I haven't had a touchdown in a long time," Chatman said.

Aside from Chatman's 85-yard return, he returned two other punts for a total of five yards.

Linebacker sets tackles record
Linebacker Nick Barnett had six tackles Sunday to raise his season total to 182, breaking Mike Douglass' 1981 franchise record of 180.

Team coaches first began tracking defensive numbers in 1975, according to the Packers. Barnett's total will become official after coaches review film on Monday.

Did not suit up
The following players were not on Green Bay's 45-man game day roster: running back Samkon Gado, cornerback Mike Hawkins, linebacker Robert Thomas, offensive linemen Junius Coston and Will Whitticker, wide receiver Robert Ferguson, and defensive tackle Donnell Washington. Craig Nall was the designated third quarterback.

The following players were not on Chicago's 45-man game day roster: safety Mike Brown, running back Cedric Benson, offensive linemen Terrence Metcalf, Lennie Friedman and Qasim Mitchell, linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer, and defensive tackle Ian Scott. Jeff Blake was the designated third quarterback.

Lineup changes
Chatman got his fourth start of the season in place of Robert Ferguson, who sat out with an injured left knee. Ferguson injured his knee Dec. 19 at Baltimore and was unable to practice.

Ruegamer started the game at right guard in place of Whitticker, who sustained a concussion Monday night at Baltimore.

On defense, Paris Lenon started at weak-side linebacker for Robert Thomas, who has an injured quadriceps.

Extra points
-- Brett Favre started his 100th game at Lambeau Field (78-22, .780). Favre also started his 220th straight game at quarterback, extending his NFL record, and played in his 222nd straight contest, the league's longest active streak, excluding kickers and punters.

-- Donald Driver surpassed 1,000 yards receiving for the third time in his career. Driver finished the game with six catches for 107 yards. He has 1,103 receiving yards for the season. In the process he caught a pass for the 63rd consecutive game, second all-time in Packers history, and surpassed No. 7 Paul Coffman (322) on the team's all-time receiving list. Driver has 323 career catches.

-- For the first time in five games, the Packers gained yards on their opening drive. Green Bay drove from its own 18 to Chicago's 32 before turning the ball over on downs. Green Bay's best opening drive in the previous four games was minus-five yards (Nov. 27 at Philadelphia).

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