Driver delivers again and again

Donald Driver's incredible 34-yard touchdown catch was matched in importance by his incredible 6-yard run on fourth-and-1 late in the game.


It's hard to say what part of Donald Driver's day was more unbelievable during Green Bay's 34-24 victory at Miami on Sunday.

Was it his diving third-quarter touchdown catch? It was so unbelievable that not only did two officials in the vicinity call the pass incomplete, but not even his quarterback, Brett Favre, thought he caught it.

Was it that he convinced coach Mike McCarthy to challenge the ruling without the coach even getting the benefit of a replay?

Was it that he was tossed over his shoulder by a grinning Favre after the officials overturned the ruling of an incomplete pass?

Or was it that 6-yard run on fourth-and-1, when he left Vonnie Holliday eating grass when he should have been devouring Driver in the backfield?

Let's start with the touchdown. On third-and-6 from Miami's 34-yard line, a pressured Favre uncorked a deep pass into double coverage. The pass was perfect, and Driver dove against two Dolphins defenders to make an incredible catch.

The officials ruled it incomplete. Driver immediately protested, then ran to the bench to have McCarthy toss the red challenge flag. McCarthy wisely listened, and the ruling was overturned, giving the Packers a 20-10 lead midway through the third quarter.

Said Driver: "Oh, yeah, I knew it was a touchdown. When I got up, I was already screaming, because I looked at the ref and he said it was incomplete. And I just ran towards Mike and told him to throw the flag! I already knew it was a touchdown. My elbow hit the ground, not the ball. Mike wanted to make sure I caught the ball, and I was telling him, ‘If I tell you something, believe me. I caught it.' And he trusted in me, and threw the flag."

Said Favre: "I was sitting over there, and I hate to be negative, but I said that there was no way that they were going to overturn this. I didn't know if he caught it or not, but (all wide receivers) swear that they caught the ball. ... I thought was nothing more than a miracle, but they overturned it."

Said McCarthy: "I never saw a replay. (The Dolphins' video people) do a good job of holding the replay from us up top. Donald said he had it. A lot of times, there's emotion involved in those decisions. He assured me he had it. Donald is one-for-one. I clearly went off of his recommendation."

As much as the touchdown — and Favre and Driver's celebration of it — will be one of the season's highlights, the Packers probably wouldn't have won the game without Driver turning disaster into a first down.

On fourth-and-1 from Miami's 40-yard line with about 9 minutes left in the game, McCarthy gambled twice. First, he decided to go for the first down rather than punt the Dolphins into a hole. Second, he went to his bag of tricks and called an end-around to Driver.

Driver motioned to the right, then doubled back to the left at the snap. Favre faked a handoff to Ahman Green and gave the ball to Driver. It fooled 10 of Miami's 11 defenders, but it didn't fool Holliday. Holliday had Driver dead in the backfield, but Driver somehow wriggled around him to gain 6 yards.

The first down kept the drive alive — and prevented the Dolphins from taking over near midfield — and set up the clinching touchdown that also took another 2:45 off the clock.

"I was tired before my big play," Driver said. "I was on my way to the sidelines, and my receivers coach, Jimmy (Robinson), kept screaming get in there, get in there. I saw the coverage before Brett (Favre) saw him, so I got in there and just took the ball from him. I realized I had to make a move, and once I made the move, I knew they wouldn't catch me once I got around that corner."

Driver finished with 10 catches for 93 yards, not a bad day's work considering he was the Packers' only legit option after rookie Greg Jennings left the game late in the first half with an injured ankle.

"We won the game," Favre said, "because of Donald Driver."

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