Bad day on the Bay

Simeon Rice's crushing sack of Brett Favre on the final play put a fitting finish on Green Bay's 21-7 loss at Tampa Bay. The Tampa defense owned Favre and the Pack Sunday, and now the Bucs own the best record in the NFC at 9-2 while the Packers drop their second straight to fall to 8-2.<P>

After getting off to a good start as Favre turned Na'il Diggs interception into a touchdown pass to Donald Driver, things went south quickly. Tampa Bay intercepted Favre four times, and Favre was sacked three times. Brad Johnson returned from being poked in the right eye to throw TD passes of 4 yards to Joe Jurevicius and 3 yards to Ken Dilger. Martin Gramatica kicked field goals of 38 and 51 yards for the Bucs, who trailed 7-3 at the half. Brian Kelly had two interceptions, setting up Tampa Bay's first TD and stopping another drive deep in Bucs territory as the Packers tried to rally in the final minutes.

The game's numbers add up to a more lopsided game than the final score indicates:

Favre, who dropped to 0-5 at Raymond James Stadium, finished 20-of-38 for 196 yards. Johnson was 15-of-25 for 134 yards with no interceptions. The Packer rushing attack, stalled for the second week in a row, produced only 31 yards.

Tampa Bay's defense, which has only allowed five TD passes all season, gave up little after Favre took advantage of the Bucs' only turnover. The Packers were held to 28 yards in the second quarter and went three-and-out on four straight possessions during a stretch of the second and third quarters while Green Bay's lead was being trimmed to 7-6.

The Packers were able to hold Tampa to field goals for the first two scores, but a two-point conversion after the Bucs' first TD made it an even 14-7 and seemed to take the air out of the Pack.

The Bucs' go-ahead score came when coach Jon Gruden successfully challenged a ruling that Jurevicius didn't get both feet down in the end zone on his TD catch. Replays showed that the receiver got his right foot down after catching the ball, then managed to tap his left foot before going out of bounds.

Interceptions were the story of the day.

Linebacker Na'il Diggs set up the score with his 29-yard return of an interception that glanced off Keyshawn Johnson after Tampa Bay had marched from its own 20 to the Green Bay 33.

Ronde Barber stepped in front of a slant pass intended for Terry Glenn to turn back another threat and Dexter Jackson's interception and 58-yard return to the Green Bay 5 led to Johnson's TD pass to Dilger.

The Packers also sacked Rob Johnson twice to stop another promising drive and Brad Johnson re-entered the game after Tampa Bay's backup was unable to move the ball on the Bucs' first possession in the second quarter.

Favre is 14-6 with 34 touchdown passes during his career against Tampa Bay. But he's also thrown 19 interceptions against the Bucs, who lead the NFL this season with 25.


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