Packers outlast Seahawks, 23-17

The Green Bay Packers finished an ugly season on an emotional high by upending the playoff-bound Seattle Seahawks Sunday at Lambeau Field. The Packers got a rare win, in what may have been Brett Favre's final game of his stellar career, by taking advantage of the Seahawks' plan to rest a number of starters in preparation for the upcoming postseason.

Favre snapped a four-game streak with no touchdown passes by throwing for the go-ahead score in the third quarter, and the Packers outlasted Seattle's reserves 23-17 before 69,928 fans, who chanted three times in the second half "One more year!" in an effort to persuade Favre to return for another season.

Favre was given the game ball by the team after the game. He addressed his teammates in an emotional speech, according to many players, and said ‘I wish I could have done more for you guys this season.' Favre declined to address the media after the game.

"He's the player of the game, regardless if this was his last game or not," said Aaron Rodgers, who took the last snap of the game so Favre could receive a curtain call from the fans. "Coach was going to give it to him anyway, so now he has two game balls. Obviously, the fans came to see him, hoping it's not his last game but knowing that it could be. He has nothing left to prove. At the same time, he still has the desire and the ability. … Although you might not believe me, I hope he comes back."

By winning, the Packers avoided their worst record in team history set in 1958 when they went 1-10-1 under Scooter McLean, and current coach Mike Sherman may have saved his job for at least another season. The Packers, riddled by injuries at key positions throughout the season, also snapped Seattle's team-record 11-game winning streak and finished the season 4-12.

"Every coach is measured by wins and losses," said Sherman. "Regardless of the circumstances or the situation, you're measured by wins and losses, and we fell short in that area. I take coaching to heart as a profession. There's a lot more to coaching in the locker room … leadership, giving the guys hope, making them believe in themselves, and I felt like I did that, but we felt short on the field."

Favre was 21-of-37 for 259 yards, aiming most of his passes at wide receiver Donald Driver, one of the few familiar faces in the Packers' huddle these days. Favre left the field waving to the crowd, surrounded by a swarm of media.

Driver, who has become Favre's main target in the wake of injuries to wide receiver Javon Walker , Terrence Murphy, Robert Ferguson and tight end Bubba Franks, caught six passes for 118 yards.

Sherman said Packers general manager Ted Thompson and Favre have spoken about the quarterback's future. The coach feels Favre will decide on his future in football within the next month.

Seattle running back Shaun Alexander set the NFL single-season touchdown record, topping Kansas City's Priest Holmes (2003), by scoring Seattle's first touchdown for his 28th score of the season, then watched in the second half.

The Seahawks, who have the home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs with a 13-3 record, had the luxury of either not suiting up some of their starters, and/or resting others during the game. The Seahawks played without four starters on defense, including both starting cornerbacks, Andre Dyson and Marcus Trufant, because of injuries. The Seahawks also did not play both of their starting offensive tackles (Walter Jones and Sean Locklear) and starting wide receiver Darrell Jackson. Alexander played the first two quarters, rushing for 73 yards on 20 carries and gave way to Maurice Morris. Alexander, who fell one yard short of the league rushing title last year, finished the season with 1,880 yards and enough to pass the New York Giants' Tiki Barber for the league rushing lead.

Seneca Wallace played the final two quarters in place of Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. Wallace led the Seahawks on a 71-yard drive to open the second half and gave the Seahawks a 14-13 lead on his five-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Joe Jurevicius. The drive was fueled by Packers cornerback Al Harris' facemask penalty at the end of Morris' 16-yard run, which gave Seattle a first down at the Packers' 26.

Harris retaliated on Seattle's ensuing series when he intercepted a pass from Wallace at the Seahawks' 27 and returned it along the left sideline to the 19. Favre snapped a four-game streak in which he did not throw a touchdown pass, by finding wide receiver Antonio Chatman racing toward the left side of the end zone from nine yards out, giving the Packers a 20-14 lead with 3:41 remaining in the third quarter.

Longwell's 28-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter put the Packers up 23-14. The Packers began the drive at Seattle's 34 thanks in part to Mike Montgomery's partial block of Tom Rouen's punt from the end zone. Green Bay punched the ball to the 10, but Favre's pass to tight end Donald Lee was incomplete and nearly intercepted at the one by cornerback Jordan Babineaux.

Josh Brown's 44-yard field goal with 1:38 left closed the Seahawks to 23-17. But the Packers forced the Seahawks to use their final timeout on the next possession. After Rodgers took a knee to run out the clock, both teams converged onto the field and Favre was mobbed by players, coaches and media as he left the field.

"I like to be able to think how our season would have gone if we had not had the injuries that we've had," Sherman said. "I felt very confident about Javon Walker, Ahman Green and company and a number of other players that we lost. Last year at this time people had made comments about Seattle being in this situation. They had all these free agents, they had all this transition going on, what's going to happen? They had some in-house changes, obviously Ted (Thompson) was one of them, who came here. There was a lot of flux going on there. I believe we can very easily get back to where we need to be, there's no doubt in my mind about that."

Running back Noah Herron, who ran for 49 yards in the first half, broke free around the right and for an 11 yards and dived over the pylon for Green Bay's first touchdown of the game, giving the Packers a 13-7 lead with 8:22 left in the first half. Cornerback Jimmy Williams' 18-yard pass interference penalty on Driver on third-and-eight gave the Packers the ball on Seattle's 19. Herron ran for eight yards before scoring his second touchdown with the Packers.

Hasselbeck completed passes of 9 and 16 yards to wide receiver Bobby Engram, moving the Seahawks to the Packers' 24 with less than a minute left in the first half. But Alexander fumbled at the end of a 15-yard gain on a draw play up the middle, and safety Mark Roman recovered at the Packers' 6, helping the Packers maintain their 13-7 lead.

Alexander surpassed Holmes' single-season touchdown record on a 1-yard touchdown run with 13 minutes left in the second quarter. Alexander ran for 12 yards for a first down to the Packers' 3, then was stopped twice at the 1 by defensive tackle Grady Jackson and company. The Seahawks followed with a well-blocked counter play that allowed Alexander to score easily on the left side of the end zone. Green Bay drove 62 and 54 yards, respectively, on its first two drives of the game but was stopped short of the end zone and had to settle for field goals of 26 and 32 yards by Longwell.


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