The Packers (4-8) played their worst first half of football in years and simply failed to show up against the surprising Jets (7-5). Green Bay fell to 1-5 at home this season and went six quarters, getting out-scored 66-0 after a 35-0 loss to New England Nov. 19, before kicker Dave Rayner made a 34-yard field goal with eight minutes, 32 seconds left in the third quarter to a Bronx cheer by Packers fans.
Green Bay committed two turnovers and the Jets scored on all five possessions of the first half and piled up 340 yards of offense, roaring to a 31-0 lead. Pennington dissected the Packers' defense, completing 22 of 29 passes for 241 yards and two touchdowns, as the Packers put up no resistance in front of their home fans, who began booing their team late in the second quarter.
"Hell, I would have been booing, too," said Packers coach Mike McCarthy. "I mean, shoot, they should boo us.
"I'm very disappointed and take full responsibility because that's my football team out there," said Packers coach Mike McCarthy. "You cannot perform like that. To play like that at home infuriates everyone involved and it's unacceptable."
The Jets' 31 first-half points are the most they have scored since Nov. 3, 2002 when they led the San Diego Chargers 31-7 at halftime and won 44-13. Running back Cedric Houston rushed for 55 of the Jets' 99 yards rushing in the first two quarters and scored on two 1-yard touchdown runs to cap drives of 83 and 70 yards, respectively, as the Jets took a 24-0 lead midway through the second quarter. The Jets stretched their lead to 31-0 on Pennington's play-action pass to tight end Chris Baker with 9 seconds left in the second quarter.
The Jets finished the game with 441 total yards, including a whopping 178 on the ground. On Monday night, the Packers surrendered more than 200 yards rushing in their 34-24 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Houston finished the game with 105 yards on 22 attempts for a 4.8 per carry avg. Rookie Leon Washington rushed for another 40 yards on 7 carries.
"I can't really figure it out," said defensive end Aaron Kampman. "It's hard to make any intelligent comments until we see what, where and why. We try to look at the (sideline) pictures and things like that. Early on, they didn't really try to run the ball that much on us. Once the game opened up for them, they tried to go to a ‘shorten the game' mentality and run the ball.
"What we'll see, as far as from the defensive line's standpoint, is us not staying square, or getting pushed out of gaps, or something like that. For linebackers, it's going to be getting off of a spot quick, and the secondary it's going to be filling (gaps). Collectively, we've got to get better."
When the Jets weren't running, Pennington exploited the middle of the Packers secondary throughout the game. He took advantage of middle linebacker Nick Barnett, playing with a cast on his right hand after breaking it in last Monday's loss to Seattle, and safety Nick Collins, who injured his hamstring in the loss to the Seahawks but started against the Jets.
Cornerbacks Charles Woodson and Patrick Dendy each intercepted passes off Pennington in the second half, but the game was in hand for the Jets.
"It's never a good feeling losing at all," Woodson said. "It's a tough situation. You work hard to make it better, and when it doesn't go your way, it's tough."
Green Bay committed its first turnover of the game when Brett Favre was sacked by defensive end Bryan Thomas, who hit the quarterback's sore right elbow and jarred the ball loose. Defensive tackle Dewayne Robertson recovered on the Jets' 49. Pennington then sliced apart the Packers, completing a 25-yard pass to wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery to the Packers' 26. On third and 10, the Packers blitzed Pennington, but he found Washington against a slower Kampman and made an easy 13-yard completion for a first down at the Packers' 13. Three plays later, Pennington hooked up with Cotchery again for a 12-yard touchdown pass as Cotchery got open against safety Nick Collins, who missed practices this week with a sore hamstring.
Cotchery caught eight passes for 93 yards in the first half and finished the game with 9 catches for 99 yards.
Pennington hit six different receivers as the Jets moved 63 yards on 11 plays on the opening drive of the game, and took a 3-0 lead on kicker Mike Nugent's 24-yard field goal.
Favre threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Donald Driver late in the third quarter for the Packers' first touchdown of the game and Driver's 32nd of his career with Favre on the other end.
Favre finished with 214 yards passing and was intercepted twice, once in each half, for a passer rating of 53.0.
Running back Ahman Green provided one of the few highlights for the Packers, rushing for 102 yards on 14 attempts. It was Green's fourth 100-yard rushing game of the season.
"I've been very pleased with him," said McCarthy of Green. "He's clearly part of the solution around here. That man just needs more opportunities."
The Packers rushed the ball 23 times, including three on scrambles by Favre, who had 33 of the Packers' 149 yards on the ground.