Report card vs. Chargers

Rush defense, passing offense get highest marks for Packers in victory

PASSING OFFENSE: A -- Brett Favre wasn't as precise as he was the previous Sunday at the Giants, but the latest installment of the short passing game was more productive thanks to having a full complement of receivers for the first time this season.

Donald Driver, James Jones and Greg Jennings, who overcame a nagging hamstring injury to make his belated season debut, were exceptional with their breaks off the line and more often than not getting separation from the Chargers' blanket coverage to rip off big gains after the catch on slant and crossing routes. The trio accounted for 16 of Favre's 28 completions, none bigger than Jennings beating nickel back Antonio Cromartie to the inside on a back-side slant past the midfield stripe and sprinting by his lonesome for the go-ahead, 57-yard touchdown with two minutes left.

The electric play pulled Favre, who threw for 369 yards and three touchdowns, into a tie with Dan Marino for the league record with 420 touchdown passes. Although Favre was sacked two times, the pass blocking was superb, particularly left tackle Chad Clifton, who won his matchup with Shawne Merriman.

RUSHING OFFENSE: D -- Brandon Jackson assured the victory with a one-yard touchdown in the final minute after a Chargers turnover, but it could be argued that Green Bay's most impressive run on another repulsive day was a two-yard keeper by Favre on a draw out of shotgun formation to pick up a first down on third-and-one in the first half.

In fairness, the Packers had only 12 running plays in the game, not including a Favre kneel-down to end the game. Yet, they mustered all of 41 yards in those limited opportunities. Jackson isn't lead-back material, with only 22 yards in six carries. In fact, Ryan Grant was the featured back in some early sets. The run blocking also has to be held accountable because the holes aren't being carved out in the zone scheme.

PASS DEFENSE: C-minus -- The coaching staff picked its poison in keying in on stopping the run, so Philip Rivers had a field day in flinging the football, completing his first 15 passes to match Dan Fouts' franchise record.

Tight end Antonio Gates (11 catches for 113 yards) was next to unstoppable for a multitude of defenders, especially nickel back Jarrett Bush.

Rivers and previously quiet Vincent Jackson exploited a hurting Al Harris, who gave up a rare touchdown on a go route early in the game. However, Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila (two sacks), Aaron Kampman and Johnny Jolly generated pressure with the game on the line in the fourth quarter.

Rivers ultimately caved in the face of the constant harassment, throwing off the mark to LaDainian Tomlinson over the middle for an easy pick and long return by linebacker Nick Barnett to set up Jackson's clinching touchdown.

RUSH DEFENSE: A-minus -- The Packers' crowding of the box kept Tomlinson in his early-season funk. He had little wiggle room to maneuver between the tackles and had marginal gains on the perimeter, finishing with 62 yards in 22 carries (2.8 avg.). Fourteen of Tomlinson's runs were for no more than three yards, and he had five carries for zero or negative yardage.

Barnett penetrated freely up the middle. Linebacker A.J. Hawk (game-high 11 tackles) and strong safety Atari Bigby (10 tackles) also were active in pursuit. Michael Turner didn't pose any threat either in limited touches.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B -- Green Bay's streak of producing a special-teams turnover ended at two games, but most of the units were solid.

Jon Ryan bounced back from two sub-par performances to place all three of his punts inside the 20 and post a powerful net average of 43 yards, preventing speedy Darren Sproles from getting loose.

Mason Crosby had three touchbacks on his booming kicks into the end zone. When he wasn't being cut off by a teammate (Bigby), Charles Woodson churned out some chunks of yardage on punt returns, averaging 10.3 yards. Tramon Williams, though, averaged but 14.8 yards on kickoff returns.

COACHING: B -- Mike McCarthy swears he hasn't lost faith in his running game, but he leaned on the pass nearly 80 percent of the time in the contest. He was rewarded for a spread-'em-out approach against San Diego's porous secondary with Favre's efficient management of the slant-and-go scheme, the receivers' holding up to their busy end of the bargain and a previously maligned line handling the Chargers' stout 3-4 front.

Still, McCarthy caused many a head to be scratched when he went with an empty backfield on fourth-and-goal from the 6-inch line. The incomplete pass would have cost the Packers, who trailed 21-17 and had only one timeout left, the game had the Chargers picked up one more first down close to the two-minute warning. McCarthy owned up that he had a sideline blunder earlier in the goal-line sequence when he didn't bother challenging Jones' third-down catch that was ruled to be just short of the end zone.

The defense sacrificed a lot through the air, but the decision to play more base than nickel until late in the game paid off with a swarming attack to contain Tomlinson.

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