Packers-Patriots

History is usually on Green Bay's side - that's why they call it Titletown. When the Packers travel to Foxboro, Mass. to take on the New England Patriots Sunday, they'll be embarking on a quest that, historically, has not been kind. The Packers are just 4-12 against defending Super Bowl champions.<p>

In regular-season play against NFL champions before the merger, the Packers fared worse: 14-31-1. Overall, against title holders, Green Bay is a miserable 18-43-1.

History does hold some hope, however. The Packers come in riding a win in their last try vs. a Super Bowl champion, and in those instances when they have deposed the champ, it was usually one heck of a game.

Last year's 31-23 win over the Baltimore Ravens at Lambeau Field was arguably the team's finest performance of the season. Facing the league's No. 1-ranked defense, the Packers rolled up 391 yards in total offense. Brett Favre turned in his 30th career 300-yard game. He spread the wealth among nine different receivers. Bubba Franks caught two of Favre's three TD passes as Favre finished an awesome 27-of-34 for 347 yards without an interception.

The win over Baltimore in 2001 snapped a five-game losing streak to defending champs. The skein dates back to Nov. 4, 1990, when the Packers lost a close one to San Francisco 24-20.

The previous year brought another memorable upset of a champion. It came during the exciting (if anti-climatic) 1989 season. Green Bay traveled to San Francisco and toppled the 49ers in Candlestick Park. Don Majkowski scored a touchdown on an eight-yard quarterback draw to give the Packers all they needed. Majkowski had an earlier rushing touchdown and Sterling Sharpe accounted for the other touchdown with a four-yard reception in the second quarter. Defensive standouts included Mark Murphy and Robert Brown. Murphy made a diving deflection of a pass intended for Jerry Rice on the Niners' last-gasp fourth-down play. Brown chipped in a monster sack of Joe Montana. The loss was just the second - and last - for the Niners that season. San Francisco cruised to a second-consecutive Super Bowl win.

Another losing streak preceded that win, this time a four-game string including the Bears' painful regular-season sweep in 1986.

One of the most memorable games in Packer and Monday Night Football history featured a Packer win over the defending Super Bowl Champion. The Packers beat the Washington Redskins 48-47 on Oct. 17, 1983, in what remains the highest-scoring game in MNF history. The contsest featured 11 touchdowns, 11 extra points and six field goals. Jan Stenerud's 20-yard field goal with 54 seconds left was the game-winner. Mark Moseley missed a 39-yarder for the Redskins as time expired. The game is also the highest scoring game in Packer annals.

The Packers also beat a Super Bowl champion in their first try. Thirty years ago, the Packers turned away the Dallas Cowboys 16-13 (Oct. 1, 1972) at County Stadium. Green Bay accomplished that on the ground, needing only 44 yards passing (on four Scott Hunter completions) to get the job done. Chester Marcol hit field goals from 26 and 37 yards in the win.


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