Packers' big plays down Chiefs, 33-22

The red-hot Green Bay Packers continued their magical ride through the 2007 season by rallying late in the fourth quarter to top the Kansas City Chiefs in a seesaw battle and improve to 7-1.

Brett Favre, six days after heaving an 82-yard bomb to beat the Broncos in overtime on Monday Night Football, was splendid on a sunny, mild day at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. Favre completed 24 of 34 passes for 360 yards, including a 60-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Greg Jennings that gave the Packers a 23-22 lead with 3 minutes, 5 seconds left in the game.

In a thrilling, hard-hitting game filled with big plays, cornerback Charles Woodson stepped up in crunch time with a 27-yard punt return to set up Mason Crosby's fourth field goal of the day – a 45-yarder for a 26-22 lead – then intercepted a pass and returned it 46 yards for a touchdown with 59 seconds left to lift the Packers to their first win at Arrowhead Stadium since Nov. 22, 1987, and first-ever with Favre at quarterback. Favre has now beaten every team in the NFL.

"That's what the National Football League is about – big plays," said coach Mike McCarthy, who improved to 8-3 on the road. "Big plays equals points, and we've been good in that area the last two weeks. We were a little sloppy with the football, and had the turnovers in the first half. We need to clean that up. They had some big plays against our defense. Special teams, Mason made four field goals. What can you say about him. That's a great win. We're very pleased with the outcome."

By beating the Chiefs, the Packers improved to 4-0 on the road, a first since the Vince Lombardi Era, and remained a game ahead of the Detroit Lions in the NFC North Division. The Packers have won 11 of their last 12 games under McCarthy, including impressive, hard-fought victories in two difficult places to win – Denver and Kansas City.

"No doubt about it, this is a tough place to play," McCarthy said on the Packer Radio Network afterward. "When you talk about offense, defense and special teams, all three groups just kept battling. We knew coming in at halftime, when it was 7-6, that we were going to take the tough road. We knew it was going to be a tough road, but I can't give our guys enough credit. To win at Mile High Stadium, then to come here and win at Arrowhead Stadium in five-and-a-half, six days with two wins is very impressive."

As Favre was leading the offense to his 40th career fourth quarter comeback win, Green Bay's defense sacked Chiefs quarterback Damon Huard five times and picked off two of Huard's passes, converting both turnovers into touchdowns.

Linebacker A.J. Hawk notched his first interception of the season, returning it to the Chiefs 30, to set up Favre's 13-yard touchdown pass to Jennings and a 13-7 lead with 11 seconds left in the third quarter. Jennings caught Favre's pass at the 10, then juked his way into the end zone for his team-high fifth touchdown of the season.

Jennings finished with three catches for 85 yards and two touchdowns, raising his team-leading total to six. Veteran receiver Donald Driver led the Packers with five catches for 99 yards. Favre completed passes to seven different receivers. The Chiefs bounced back by driving 74 yards on nine plays, capped by Larry's Johnson's 30-yard touchdown reception with 11:11 left in the fourth quarter for a 14-13 lead. Tight end Tony Gonzalez, who finished with 10 catches for 109 yards, had three catches for 35 yards in the drive, and Johnson rammed his way for two yards for a first down on a third-and-1 prior to catching a screen pass in the left flat for the touchdown.

The Chiefs suffered a blow midway through the fourth quarter when Johnson, who was held to 53 yards on 19 carries, was carted to the locker room with an ankle injury after he was tackled by Hawk.

Favre hit Driver, who split double coverage over the middle and made a one-handed catch for a 44-yard gain to Kansas City's 16, which led to Crosby's 32-yard field goal for a 16-14 Green Bay lead. But the Chiefs, after losing Johnson, went often to Gonzalez before Huard found him open against safety Atari Bigby for a 17-yard touchdown pass and a 20-16 lead. Kansas City benefited from two consecutive Green Bay penalties during the two-point conversion attempt before Priest Holmes scored to make it, 22-16.

The Packers, who committed 13 penalties for 103 yards against the Broncos, were penalized 13 times for 115 yards. Favre also was intercepted twice in the game by the Chiefs.

But he found Jennings, the star of Green Bay's OT win over Denver on Monday night, over the middle past linebacker Donnie Edwards for a 60-yard touchdown with 3:05 left that gave Green Bay the lead for good.

"They did a terrific job, because they matched one of their faster receivers up against a linebacker," said Chiefs cornerback Patrick Surtain, who intercepted Favre earlier in the game. "We were in a coverage where the linebacker was supposed to run down the middle of the field, but what they did was put triple on one side. There were three receivers so they had the advantage with a linebacker on a receiver. They planned for it and hit the play when they needed it."

Favre's second interception of the first half resulted in the Chiefs taking a 7-6 halftime lead. Favre was hit in the hand by defensive tackle Alfonso Boone, who beat guard Daryn Colledge, as he was releasing a pass and nickel back Benny Sapp stepped in front of wide receiver Koren Robinson to make the interception with 48 seconds left in the half. The Chiefs, who struggled throughout the half against Green Bay, took advantage of Bigby's pass interference penalty in the end zone on wide receiver Samie Parker for a first-and-goal at the Packers' 1. On the next play, running back Larry Johnson dived over a pile of blockers and tacklers for his third touchdown of the season.

Crosby gave the Packers a 3-0 lead by making a 48-yard field goal attempt that just cleared the crossbar early in the second quarter. The field goal capped a 15-play, 68-yard drive that began at Green Bay's own 2-yard line. Favre completed passes of 11 yards to Donald Lee and 12 yards to Jennings to convert back-to-back third downs. Running back Ryan Grant had a pair of runs for 13 yards, and his fumble on a handoff exchange was recovered by tackle Mark Tauscher to keep the drive alive. A 15-yard late hit by safety Bernard Pollard on Favre moved the ball across midfield, and a 10-yard pass to Grant got the Packers into field-goal range.

Crosby made a 37-yard attempt with less than two minutes left in the second quarter to put the Packers up 6-0. Favre's 48-yard pass to tight end Donald Lee moved Green Bay to Kansas City's 22. Favre found Robinson, playing in his first game since he was reinstated from his suspension, for a 7-yard gain to the 17 to set up the field goal attempt. It was Robinson's first catch since Oct. 8, 2006.

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