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Ferguson arrives just in time

Receiver Robert Ferguson, GB's second pick in the '01 draft, once seemed poised to take the same path traveled by high picks John Michels, Derrick Mayes and maybe even Jamal Reynolds. The depth chart just didn't match the hype or the hopes.<p> This season, Ferguson displayed the weapon needed to fight the "bust" label: patience. Sunday night, he demonstrated other weapons, too, as the second-year man served as Brett Favre's go-to guy and snagged two TDs in the comeback win over the Vikes.<p>

"I just went out there and tried to make plays," Ferguson said. "I'm grateful that I had the opportunity to perform tonight. It was amazing. This was a division game and all of us left ourselves on that field."

With Terry Glenn inactive due to injury, Ferguson stepped up to lead Green Bay's receiving corps. Ferguson made six receptions for 105 yards, including two touchdowns -- all career-highs.

Ferguson's most impressive run came in clutch stretches for the trailing Packers. In the opening drive of the third quarter, with Green Bay behind 19-6, Ferguson made three catches -- a 13-yarder, followed by a leaping 15-yarder on a ball thrown behind him, and then a 21-yard touchdown reception.

In the fourth quarter he came up big again, hooking up with Brett Favre on a 40-yard catch-and-run touchdown. There were numerous big plays that allowed the Packers to rally from a 15-point deficit, but that TD was the biggest. The play occurred early in the fourth quarter with the Packers trailing 22-13 and facing third-and-13 at the Minnesota 40-yard-line. Favre dropped back, eluded one would-be sacker and just did get off a sidearm pass before two more Vikings tracked him down. Ferguson, who had drifted open in the middle of the field, caught Favre's rocket and sprinted to the right sideline before diving into the front right corner of the end zone.

"It has been something I have been concentrating on, to just go out there and make the most of my opportunities - especially tonight," Ferguson said.

"I am a competitor, I want to win and we did that tonight, so it makes it that much more gratifying," Ferguson said. "At the same time, you always feel good when you come out on the field and play your game."

Last season, Ferguson watched from the bench as Bill Schroeder, Antonio Freeman and Corey Bradford struggled with the chance to "be the man." Ferguson, the 41st overall pick in the 2001 draft out of Texas A&M, played in one game, and had zero catches. This season, he's celebrating along with everyone else as Donald Driver took the lead and Terry Glenn stepped up. Ferguson has had his number called more and more, and meanwhile gave his all as a key special teams player.

Quarterback Brett Favre said he was impressed by the young receiver, who is a week shy of his 23rd birthday.

"He just finally got an opportunity tonight, and that is what this league is all about," Favre said. "And when you get that chance, you have to make the most of it...he is a great kid; a hard worker; he never complains - and those type of guys you can't help but pull for."

Ferguson admits he gets frustrated by his slow beginnings with the Packers, but can now see the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.

"It is more a learning situation," said Ferguson. :I just try to make the most of the situation I am in. The more opportunities I get, the more I feel I can make things happen."

Through Dec. 1, Ferguson had 11 catches for 138 yards and one TD.

Said coach Mike Sherman: "He has accepted his role on the team and he has made an impact on special teams. In the last five weeks, he has certainly made the most of his opportunities. I can't say enough about what he did tonight."


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