Team Takeaway takes over

'Team Takeaway' takes it reputation seriously. The Green Bay Packer defense took it upon themselves to seal the victory last weekend after quarterback Brett Favre went down with a knee injury. It wasn't the first time the 'D' has answered the call - and it won't be the last.<p>

"We talk about it every week and how important it is to get your hands on the football and be obsessive about the football," coach Mike Sherman said. "When you're on defense and offense has the ball, it's as much your ball as it is theirs. Just because they have possession doesn't mean you can't take it away from them.

"I think our guys have responded well, they've done the same thing in practice," Sherman said. "What they are doing in the game, they've done in practice. We're in an all-time high - practice-wise - on creating turnovers. I think it becomes kind of a feeding frenzy if you can get it going that way and certainly we've done a good job of getting on the football."

The most recent example of getting that job done happened Sunday when the Pack came up with four more takeaways - this time all fumbles.

The Packers recovered four Redskins fumbles, turning two of them into scores when the Packers needed it most after Favre's injury. Early in the fourth quarter, the Packers took over after Todd Franz recovered a fumble forced by Tod McBride and drove 16 yards to set up a 41-yard Ryan Longwell field goal. Later in the final period, Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila forced a fumble that was recovered by Rod Walker. Three plays later, Ahman Green had his third touchdown of the night.

The last time the Packers recovered four opponent fumbles in a single game was Dec. 12, 1999, vs. Carolina.

"Stripping the ball is something we talk about during training camp and back in the spring," said defensive coordinator Ed Donatell. "We're always looking to improve in that area, but we practiced it extra this week, extra drills for our players, and they responded and got the job done."

The Packers have recovered 11 of their opponents' 18 fumbles, while surrendering 8 or their own 17 fumbles.

"That's something we work hard on in practice every day," linebacker Na'il Diggs said of the forced fumbles. "We really stress the importance of getting our hands on the ball, day in and day out. We don't go nice on the takeaway situation, and I think we all understand what a big equation that is in whether or not we win."

The interception total is where the real discrepancy lies: the Packers have been intercepted three times, while picking off their opponents for a dozen interceptions.

Perhaps the best part of the turnover barrage is the large cast of characters taking part. On the interception list, Darren Sharper leads with a hat trick, rookie Marques Anderson and cornerback Mike McKenzie have two apiece, Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, Nate Wayne, Matt Bowen, Tod McBride and Bryant Westbrook all have one.

It is notable that of those recording picks for the Packers, that all but Bowen and Westbrook have suffered injuries this year and most have spent at least one game out of action, which makes the team totals even more impressive.

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