Packers do it again! GB 28, New England 10

A month ago, names like Aaron Kampman, Matt Bowen and Marques Anderson seemed likely to become preseason memories. As the injury onslaught continues, those unsung heroes stepped forward to hold the beleagured defense together and lead the Packers to an impressive 28-10 shellacking of the defending champion New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium.<P>

The Packers (5-1) won their fourth straight game as Brett Favre threw for three more TDs, surpassing the 300 mark for his career, the defense came up with four takeaways and Ahman Green rushed for 136 yards and scored his first two touchdowns of the season.

More important than the numbers is the fact the injury-induced adversity this team overcame in a short week. No one outside the organization will ever know what happened in those closed practices, but somehow they turned a group of third- and fourth-stringers and newcomers into a dominant force Sunday.

"I can't say enough about how this team has responded to adversity," coach Mike Sherman said. "They didn't make excuses. We got Westbrook off the street and got him ready. Our three backups had picks for us. We generated a pass rush.

"I am proud of this team."

The defense's teammates on the other side of the ball were quick to offer accolades as well."

"The defense with their backs against the wall and under so much scrutiny, they just played so great and I'm so happy for them," Henderson said.

The Patriots were a team in disarray. They lost two of the three replay reviews and committed critical penalties that led to two touchdowns.

Even the return of top receiver Troy Brown, who missed the Patriots' last two games with a knee injury, wasn't enough. The defense made a statement early, holding New England to a field goal after they threatened deep inside the read zone. The Pats led 3-0 on Adam Vinatieri's 32-yard field goal in the second quarter but didn't score again until garbage time when Brady's 4-yard pass to David Givens made it 28-10 with 5:57 left.

Favre's touchdown passes of 3 yards to William Henderson and 8 yards to Green made it 14-3 at halftime.

"It's one of those things, a play we've been running forever," Henderson said of his TD. "I run a decoy route and cause a little bit of interference for the linebacker and they usually follow Bubba and leave me wide open."

Ryan Longwell missed a 42-yard field goal on the first series of the third quarter, but the Packers scored on their next possession on Favre's 2-yard pass to Bubba Franks.

With 12:09 left in the game, Green ran for a 1-yard touchdown. He also became the fourth rusher in as many weeks to rush for more than 100 yards against the Patriots, following Priest Holmes, LaDainian Tomlinson and Ricky Williams.

"We definitely wanted to go out there and run the ball," Henderson said. "Ahman Green is one of the most talented back in the NFL, our line did a great job, and Brett, what can we say about him?"

With third-and-5 at the New England 16 and the Patriots ahead 3-0, Donald Driver caught a pass from Favre, but side judge Tom Hill ruled Driver was juggling the ball as he was pushed out of bounds at the 5. Replay overturned that, then Favre hit Henderson for the touchdown.

Earlier in that series, Ryan Longwell kicked a 43-yard field goal, but the Packers accepted a penalty for illegal hands to the face for a first down at the 21, Brady's first interception, by Bryant Westbrook, ended the opening possession of the game at the Packers 43.

Just before the half, Kevin Faulk dropped Brady's backward pass and Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila recovered on the Patriots 8. That's how it will read in the stats. As the play developed, however, both teams let the ball sit untouched for several seconds as players milled around, reacting as if it were an incomplete pass. Rookie corner Marques Anderson, pressed into the limelight after injuries took out all the starting DBs, alerted his teammates and dove for the ball. Gbaja-Biamila responded as well, and covered the ball for the Packers.

On the next play, Favre rewarded his defense as he threw to Green for a 14-3 lead.

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