Packers game notes

Barnett spearheads defense; fans flock to dome; K-Rob thrives

If Nick Barnett was on the bubble for his first Pro Bowl, he shouldn't be anymore. The Packers middle linebacker put an exclamation point on his season Sunday against the St. Louis Rams.

Barnett was unofficially credited with 13 tackles, to boost his team-leading total to 148. He also had two sacks of quarterback Marc Bulger and two other quarterback hits.

Though Rams Pro Bowl running back Steven Jackson rushed for 143 yards, Barnett and the Packers held him to 40 yards in the final two quarters in Green Bay's 33-14 victory.

"He made some great plays in that first half and was able to cutback," Barnett said of Jackson. "We were out of position a little and had two guys in one gap and he was able to continue bouncing that ball. We missed a couple of tackles as well, but he is a great back and he is going to make plays. I think he is one of the best backs in the NFL by far. We came out in the second half and were able to fix some things."

Defensive end Aaron Kampman and Barnett are the top Packers candidates on defense to make the NFC Pro Bowl squad. Cornerback Charles Woodson also is under consideration, but Barnett probably sealed the deal with his performance against the Rams.

"It will be announced Tuesday and it would be nice to go, but if not, I'll keep working and try to get there next year," Barnett said. "We're not worried about that. We have a first round bye and have a long way to go with playoffs. I don't even know who we play next week. I never know, but it's going to be fun."

Packers fans flock to dome
Much of the capacity crowd at the Edward Jones Dome on Sunday clearly rooted for the visiting team. Cheeseheads were everywhere and perhaps half of the stadium was dressed in Packers' green and yellow, helping the visitors feel right at home in a 33-14 victory.

"It's a joke," running back Steven Jackson told the Associated Press. "The whole first level is Green Bay Packers' fans. It's a joke. We were at Lambeau Field."

It likely felt that way to the Rams, who have had four games blacked out on local television because they did not sell out. St. Louis is 1-6 at home and 3-11 overall with two games to go, challenging a 4-12 record in 1998 for the worst season since the franchise moved to the Midwest in 1995.

The Rams play their home finale on Thursday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers. They anticipate another divided house.

"We know how loyal the Green Bay fans are and I'm sure on Thursday there are going to be a ton of Pittsburgh fans," quarterback Marc Bulger said. "You know, this year we just haven't been playing well at home."

Bulger also recognizes the Packers are having a banner season. "Their fans are excited," Bulger said. "You can hear them in the pre-game, all the chatter. It looks like an exciting environment to play for that team, it reminds you of college a lot."

Robinson shines as kickoff returner
Koren Robinson showed why he was named to the Pro Bowl a couple of seasons ago as a kickoff returner with his runbacks against the Rams.

Robinson averaged 43.3 yards on three returns, by far his best single game average of the season. He entered the game averaging 23.6 yards per return on 16 kickoff returns in six games.

Robinson opened the game with a 43-yard return to the Packers' 48. That runback set up a Green Bay touchdown.

After the Rams tied the game at 7-7, Robinson returned the ensuing kickoff 88 yards before stumbling and falling on the Rams' 13. If Robinson hadn't stumbled on the FieldTurf at about the 20, he would have scored a touchdown. Nevertheless, a holding penalty on Green Bay's Tramon Williams reduced Robinson's return to 46 yards as the Packers started the series on the Rams' 45.


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