Holliday spirit

Defensive end Vonnie Holliday delivered a gift-wrapped 10-0 victory for the Packers over Buffalo Sunday at Lambeau Field, but Bills quarterback Drew Bledsoe probably doesn't appreciate Holliday's giving spirit.<p> Holliday sacked Bledsoe five times in the shutout, forcing three fumbles including the game-sealing turnover in the final minute. The win kindles Green Bay's (12-3) hopes for the NFC top spot, while the Bills' slim playoff hopes flickered out.<P>

Later, Holliday revealed that he was playing through a haze of grief after learning that his 16-year-old cousin died of congestive heart failure Saturday night during a basketball game.

Holliday's amazing contribution was magnified by Darren Sharper's first quarter knee injury. With yet another starter out, and the offense fighting an uphill battle on due to cold and windy conditions, the defense bore a heavy load.

"Both offenses were struggling and defenses had to step up and our defense rose to the occasion," coach Mike Sherman said. "I don't care what the weather conditions are, when you are able to shut out the Buffalo Bills with Bledsoe, and Henry, and Price, and Moulds and those receivers and tight ends, and Centers at fullback...this was as talented a group as we have faced this year."

The game's only touchdown came as a result of Holliday's efforts. After Holliday sacked Bledsoe, forcing the first fumble, the unheralded Jamal Reynolds recovered for the Packers at the Bills' 39. Brett Favre connected with Donald Driver for an 11-yard TD on third and long with 7:23 to go. The Packers had driven to the 11 thanks to a run by Ahman Green, and the TD helped them avoid making Ryan Longwell kick into the wind.

Holliday completed the forced-fumble hat trick with 1:13 to go, slamming the door on Buffalo, which had driven into the Packer red zone with about a minute to go.

The Packers (12-3) finished with a perfect record at legendary Lambeau Field. They are the only team in the league to win all their home games this season, and that keeps Green Bay in the race for home field advantage throughout the playoffs. That would be a huge advantage for the Packers, who have never lost a playoff game at Lambeau Field, but it won't be easy. Here's the scenario: if Green Bay beats the Jets in the regular-season finale, Tampa loses one of its two remaining games (including their MNF matchup with Pittsburgh tomorrow or at Chicago) and if Philly loses to the Giants in NY next week, Green Bay would get the top spot. Ahman Green got back into the groove with 116 yards on 26 carries as the Packers improved to 14-0 in games in which he tops the century mark.

Besides the Driver TD, the offensive fireworks can be summed up in a sentence: There weren't any. The freezing temperatures (25 at game-time, barely over 10 with the windchill) and swirling, gusting winds kept both teams grounded. The only other scoring was Longwell's 33-yard field goal into the wind with 3:57 left before half time.

Buffalo's Mike Hollis missed a 33-yarder later in the third quarter.

Green Bay's impressive defensive performance included limiting Travis Henry to 46 yards on 20 carries. Drew Bledsoe was barely over 100 yards passing, despite picking on the still-recovering Mike McKenzie all game. For a short span it looked Riemersma and Bledsoe would have a field day with McKenzie, but the cornerback righted himself in time to be a big contributor to the defensive cause.

Dropped passes, which plagued both teams, helped the secondary as well.

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