Pack wins in new-look Lambeau

GREEN BAY – The renovations were only part of the big things going on inside Lambeau Field in the Packers' 27-20 victory over the Cleveland Browns on Monday Night Football.<P>

"I don't care if it's preseason, any time you win a game at Lambeau Field it is an extremely important thing to do," Packer coach Mike Sherman said. "It's very important to set a standard.

"We did some good things, some not so good," Sherman said. "We started 3-and-out and we're not a 3-and-out team. That was precipitated by penalties, and poor judgement, but we'll get better at that. I saw some good things, saw some individual efforts that were outstanding."

The game opened with a bang, if not a celebration. Browns' Andre Davis returned the opening kickoff 93 yards for a Cleveland touchdown. That set the tone for the game which featured a slew of big plays including a virtual highlight tape by safety Darren Sharper. One thing Monday's game didn't include: receiver Terry Glenn's debut. The game-time decision was to keep him on ice until Friday.

"Everybody including Terry wanted to see him play and were politicking for him," Sherman said. "But we waited this long might as well wait one more. He participated in warm ups and (his knee) stiffened up on the sidelines so I wanted to hold him back. He's not a rookie, he knows how to play this game."

Instead, it was Cleveland's receivers in the spotlight. Quincy Dawson's 33-yard TD reception put the Browns up 14-0 as Cleveland quarterback Tim Couch took advantage of the Packers' missing starting cornerbacks and well-executed screens. Coach completed 14 of 18 passes for 112 yards and a touchdown before leaving with a mild strain of his right elbow. He is scheduled to undergo an MRI Tuesday.

After that the Packers' fortunes changed.

Cletidus Hunt blocked Phil Dawson's 51-yard field goal attempt, and after Erwin Swiney pushed the ball forward, Darren Sharper scooped it up and ran the final 35 yards for a touchdown 19 seconds before halftime that brought the Packers to 14-10.

"We were in a situation where we really needed to turn the momentum around,'' Hunt said. "So, when I went out on the field, I had my mind set on getting to the kicker. I went in and told the guys I was going to get it.''

Bwahoh Jue completed the turnaround by tackling a Browns receiver in bounds in the final seconds of the half to prevent a Cleveland field goal attempt.

The Packers pulled to 14-13 on Ryan Longwell's second field goal, a 33-yarder after Favre's pass to top draft pick Javon Walker in the back of the end zone sailed high and Walker couldn't quite come down inbounds. Favre finished 10-of-14 for 63 yards and an interception.

The record crowd of 62,688 was treated to a parade of Lambeau Leaps in the reconfigured north end zone. Green Bay took its first lead when fullback Chris Gall hauled in a short pass from Doug Pederson and rumbled 35 yards for the score that put the Packers ahead 20-17 late in the third quarter.

On the first play of the fourth quarter, Todd Franz intercepted a pass from Josh Booty and returned it 42 yards for a touchdown and gave Green Bay a 27-17 lead.

Jay Taylor's 35-yard field goal with 7:13 left capped the scoring.

Rookie Craig Nall didn't get as much prime time PT as had been advertised, but he managed to make himself heard in a brief but important appearance. Nall was 2-of-2 for 22 yards. Simply put, Nall moved the chains and the clock.

"I almost didn't put him in, but I'm glad I did," Sherman said. "I almost left Doug in, being concerned about winning in Lambeau and so forth, but the smart thing was to put (Nall) in and I'm glad he did because he iced the game for us."

Doug Pederson came in for Favre in the third quarter and was 5-of-7 for 63 yards, 1 TDs and 0 interceptions.

The starting offense couldn't get much going. Ahman Green led rushing with 30 yards on 10 carries.

"We're limited because of preseason," Green said. "You play a little and then you're out, so it's hard to get into a rhythm for any position."

Emphasizing the lack of rhythm is Chris Gall's team-leading receiving performance: 1 receptions for 32 yards and a touchdown. Bubba Franks had three receptions for 28 yards while Robert Ferguson finally made the radar screen with 3 receptions for 23 yards.

The defense didn't show the dominance they displayed in the previous preseason games. The unlikely duo of Rob Holmberg and Swiney provided a pair of sacks for Green Bay, down remarkably from their tally of seven last week.

Sherman reported that there were no notable injuries in the game. Punter Josh Bidwell got stepped on after tackling Northcutt on a 56-yard punt return that was negated by a block in the back and didn't return, but was not among this list of minor injuries cited by Sherman. Javon Walker got poked in the eye and long snapper Rob Davis suffered a minor shin problem, Sherman said.

Note: The victory was the Packers' 12th straight in Bishop's Charities Games at Lambeau.


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