PACKERS 34, BEARS 21 - Another Favre Masterpiece

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Just when you thought Brett Favre has done everything he can do, he raised the bar even higher with a virtuoso performance that rocked the Chicago Bears in the Packers' 34-21 win Monday night at Memorial Stadium. Green Bay gains a 2-game lead in the North Division at 4-1 while the Bears fall to 2-3.<p>

"I'm proud of my team," coach Mike Sherman said. "They played together throughout the whole game, they played tough. You have no idea how much adversity we've been through.

"I thought last week was the beginning of that step with their heart and emotion. We saw something last week – I was proud of our effort – and I saw the same thing in practice and the same exact thing out there tonight.

"It'd be hard to top that effort," Sherman said. "They left every bit of sweat and flesh on that football field and they are drained, but they are excited to be on top of the division."

If Favre has done it all against the Bears, he's going back and doing it all again. Now 17-4 in his career against Chicago, threw an 85-yard TD pass to Donald Driver in the first quarter - the second longest of his career – and the Packers (4-1) took a 24-14 halftime lead.

"I never say it's as good as he's been because he's been pretty dang good," Packers coach Mike Sherman said. "But that would be tough to top, the first half. … He was pretty close to playing as well as you can there at one point." Green Bay took control in the third quarter when Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila intercepted Chicago's Jim Miller and lumbered 72 yards for a touchdown as the Bears (2-3) lost their third straight. The rivalry that began in 1921 has turned one-sided in recent years, thanks to the brilliance of Favre, who has directed nine straight road victories over the Bears. The shift to the south – Champaign's Memorial Stadium which serves as the Bears' home while Soldier Field is renovated – didn't make a difference."

"Tonight is a good example of what we're capable of doing," Favre said.

In a move reminiscent of Super Bowl XXXI, Favre opened the game as he rolled to his left, motioned with his hand and then heaved the ball to a streaking Driver, who was behind Bears safety Mike Green and cornerback R.W. McQuarters, for a 7-0 lead.

The 85-yarder was "small potatoes" to Favre vs. the Bears in prime time. His longest TD pass was a 99-yarder to Robert Brooks in a 1995 win at Soldier Field on Monday Night Football.

Favre, who was 22-of-33 for 359 yards, also had TD passes of 19 yards to Tyrone Davis and 5 yards to Bubba Franks in the first half.

"That's just Brett. He's a Monday nighter," Miller said. "He plays well and plays with a passion. You don't want to be on the other end of it, that's for sure."

Favre and Terry Glenn proved an unbeatable combination Monday night. Glenn had 8 catches for 154 yards while Driver had 4 catches for 120 yards. On the ground, Ahman Green had 27 carries for 107 yards.

As the injuries piled up on defense, Green Bay got stellar performances from reserves as well as the walking wounded who recently returned.

Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila slammed the door on a Bears' threat in the third quarter. Joe Johnson hit Miller as he was attempting to pass and the ball popped right to Gbaja-Biamila who ran untouched down the field to give the Packers a 17-point lead.

Miller also threw three TD passes, hitting John Davis with a 21-yard TD pass with 6:50 left to make it 34-21.

Ryan Longwell missed three field goals, which kept the game in the Bears' reach. Chicago made one last bid, hoping to close to within 6 when Miller hit David Terrell with a 52-yard pass to the Pack 7. But Nate Wayne intercepted Miller in the end zone with just more than 2 minutes left.

Chicago prevented the game from getting away in the first half when Driver fumbled after making a catch at the Green Bay 39. Mike Brown continued to make news, picking up the loose ball and running 35 yards to the 4. That set up Miller's 1-yard TD pass to John Davis that cut the lead to 21-14.

The Packers increased their lead when Longwell kicked a 49-yard field goal on the final play of the half. Longwell also kicked a 35-yarder, missed two and had another one from 28 blocked.

Terry Glenn's 26-yard catch to the Bears 6 set up Favre's TD pass to Franks and restored the lead to two touchdowns.

Injuries were again a big storyline. The biggest loss could be Joe Johnson, who just seemed to be rising to meet the high expectations set for him in Green Bay. Johnson injured his triceps, and tests this week will reveal if it is torn. Cornerback Mike McKenzie aggravated a groin injury in pre-game warmups, S Darren Sharper suffered a hamstring pull, tight end Ty Davis has strained muscles in his neck and Bwahoh Jue also injured his hamstring.

Even the ironman Favre got banged up in this one. He was sandwiched between defenders in the second quarter, and reported briefly losing consciousness. Teammates helped him to his feet, and Favre shook off a pinched nerve in his neck, soreness in his left elbow and a numbing sensation in his right arm.

"We have a lot of reasons to fold up our tent with all the injuries out there today, but we kept clawing and scratching," Sherman said.

Chicago has also been hit by injury, although not to the same extent as the Packers. Chicago lost starting left guard Rex Tucker, who dislocated his left ankle and was taken off the field on a cart in the third quarter.

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