December 2007 - Green Bay Packers Wiretap
Backups Help Packers Tie Club Record With 13th Win
Packers' Coach Mike McCarthy had been so incensed with his players' poor performance last week he considered making his starters play a full four quarters in an otherwise inconsequential regular-season finale. McCarthy cooled off by Sunday, deciding to rest several top players for the playoffs. It turned out he didn't really have to choose between playing it safe and playing to win in Green Bay's 34-13 victory over Detroit. The Packers (13-3) didn't need their starters to beat the lowly Lions, tie a franchise record for victories in a season and rebound from an ugly loss in windy and cold conditions at Chicago. "I think it punched us right in the mouth, and it was a good wake-up call," McCarthy said of last week's loss to the Bears. "The most important thing about a wake-up call, in my opinion, is how you respond to it."
Favre: Cold Weather Impacted Team's Focus In Loss
Brett Favre said he and his teammates can't brush off the Green Bay Packers' 35-7 loss to the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on Sunday simply because it was played in extreme conditions. Asked on Wednesday if he sensed that some of his teammates lost concentration because of the weather, Favre said yes -- a surprise, given the team's success all season and the potential playoff ramifications of Sunday's game. "I don't know if anyone was really into it," Favre said. The Packers still had a shot at earning home-field advantage throughout the playoffs going into the game, but Favre said the weather might have thrown off the NFL's youngest team. "I'm sure there were some guys on our team who thought, 'What did I get myself into?,'" Favre said. "I don't think anyone knew what we were up against from a weather standpoint. And I think being a real young team, it probably was a little bit of a shock to them."
Packers' Barnett To File Grievance Against Referee
Green Bay Packers' linebacker Nick Barnett will file a grievance against an NFL official for aggressively grabbing him around the neck and pulling him to the ground during Sunday's game against the Bears at Soldier Field, according to his agent. Meanwhile, league sources tell ESPN that the official in question umpire Jim Quirk has been told he went "over the line" in restraining Barnett. A source said that NFL Officiating Director Mike Pereira warned Quirk by telephone that he should refrain from similar techniques when trying to break up a potential skirmish. No disciplinary action will be taken against Quirk, a source said, but that won't appease Barnett. "We're going to put our complaint in writing through a grievance, even if the league has warned the official," said Chuck Price, who represents Barnett. "This guy puts his arm around Nick's throat...he should get more than a warning. If Nick pushes [Quirk] to the ground just as a response, he'd be suspended and fined a couple of hundred grand." Packers' Coach Mike McCarthy was critical of Quirk following the incident. "I'll tell you what, I've never seen anything like that in all my years," McCarthy said. "I didn't see the whole thing, but I thought the official was totally out of line the way he grabbed Nick around the neck and pulled him out of there."
Packers Hand Cowboys NFC's Top Seed
No tears for Brett Favre this time, just frustration. And Green Bay can forget about the No. 1 seed in the NFC. Brian Urlacher returned an interception for a touchdown for the first time in his career; Adrian Peterson ran for 102 yards; and the Bears beat the Packers 35-7 on a frigid Sunday afternoon. The loss wiped out the Packers' shot at home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
RealGM's Week Fifteen Rundown
Houston 31, Denver 13 Despite the absence of quarterback Matt Schaub, the Houston Texans (7-7) kept their AFC playoff hopes alive momentarily with a victory over the Denver Broncos (6-8) on Thursday. However, a win by Cleveland over Buffalo on Sunday eliminated the Texans from contention. Sage Rosenfels led Houston with 200 passing yards, one touchdown and an interception. He added a five-yard touchdown run as well, putting the game out of reach early on Thursday night. Jay Cutler went 27-for-39 with 254 yards and a score, but the Broncos inefficiency on third and fourth down doomed their chances. Houston defensive end Mario Williams pestered Cutler all day with 3.5 sacks in victory. Fantasy Star: Andre Johnson, HOU: 86 receiving yards and one touchdown. San Francisco 20, Cincinnati 13 This was the first game of the 2007 NFL season that had no bearing whatsoever on the postseason race, but both teams fought hard nonetheless. Shaun Hill played well in his first professional start, going 21-for-28 with 197 yards and a touchdown. Frank Gore had his best game of the season, rushing for 138 yards to help the 49ers record their fourth win of the season. Carson Palmer was inconsistent tallying 252 yards and a score on 19-for-31 passing. The Bengals ground game was nonexistent, as Kenny Watson and Rudi Johnson combined for just 49 yards on the ground. Fantasy Star: Vernon Davis, SF: 46 receiving yards and one touchdown. Carolina 13, Seattle 10 The Carolina Panthers, on the cusp of being eliminated from the NFC Wild Card race, stunned the surging Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, winning 13-10. Both teams failed to score a point through the first three quarters, with Carolina taking a 3-0 lead on 53-yard John Kasay field goal in the fourth quarter. DeAngelo Williams sealed the victory for the Panthers with 1:21 remaining in the game with a 35-yard touchdown run. Matt Hasselbeck marched the Seahawks down the field for a touchdown efficiently on the team?s final drive, but time ran out on Seattle?s comeback. The Seahawks, who had won five straight, already had the NFC West wrapped up. Fantasy Star: Deion Brach, SEA: 79 receiving yards and one touchdown. Tampa Bay 37, Atlanta 3 Tampa Bay?s offense was effective against the Bobby Petrino-less Falcons, but it was their defense that got the ball rolling early and often against Atlanta. The Buccaneers defense/special teams scored two first-quarter touchdowns, a 29-yard Ronde Barber interception return and a 90-yard kickoff return by Micheal Spurlock ? the first in franchise history. The win allowed Tampa Bay to clinch the NFC South division title, earning a playoff berth in the process. Jeff Garcia returned from a back injury, going 15-for-25 with just 109 passing yards, one touchdown and an interception. Chris Redman, making his second start as the Falcons? starting quarterback, struggled going 4-for-15 with 34 yards and two interceptions. Fantasy Star: Earnest Graham, TB: 79 rushing yards and one touchdown. Cleveland 8, Buffalo 0 The Cleveland Browns did their part to clinch a playoff berth in Week Fifteen, but the Tennessee Titans? victory over the Kansas City Chiefs will force the Browns to wait another week. Derek Anderson didn?t overwhelm, going 9-for-24 with 137 passing yards, but he managed a good enough game for Cleveland to win. Jamal Lewis rushed for 163 yards, putting him over 1,000 on the season. Blizzard-like conditions made for a messy afternoon as Trent Edwards posted a 13-for-33 performance with just 124 passing yards on the day. Bills? rookie Marshawn Lynch tallied 82 rushing yards in defeat. Fantasy Star: Jamal Lewis, CLE: 163 rushing yards. Tennessee 26, Kansas City 17 The Tennessee Titans kept their playoff hopes alive with a win over the reeling Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Vince Young went 16-for-26 with 191 passing yards and two touchdowns, one of his best performances of the season. LenDale White added 93 yards on the ground, outgaining the Chiefs? Kolby Smith, who rushed for 82 yards. Brodie Croyle was hounded by the Titans? defense all day, finishing 25-for-43 with 217 yards, two touchdowns and a pair of interceptions. The Titans will host the New York Jets in Week Sixteen in hopes of keeping pace in the AFC Wild Card race. Fantasy Star: Roydell Williams, TEN: 94 receiving yards and two touchdowns. New England 20, N.Y. Jets 10 The New England Patriots remained perfect, but they didn?t beat up on the rival Jets as badly as expected. Tom Brady was held without a touchdown pass for the first time all season, finishing the day 14-for-27 with 140 yards and an interception. Bill Belichick leaned heavily on Laurence Maroney, who tallied 104 rushing yards and a score. Kellen Clemens was injured on just his second offensive snap and did not return. Chad Pennington played well in relief, but couldn?t overcome New England?s airtight defense. The high-intensity game was delayed a few minutes in the fourth quarter as Patriots? fans pelted officials and the field with snowballs. Fantasy Star: Laurence Maroney, NE: 104 rushing yards and one touchdown. Green Bay 33, St. Louis 14 Brett Favre continues to break records at an impressive pace, as he surpassed Dolphins? legend Dan Marino for the most passing yards in NFL history on Sunday. Favre went 19-for-30 with 227 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Ryan Grant added 55 rushing yards and a touchdown, helping the Packers clinch a first-round bye with two weeks to go. Marc Bulger returned to the field for the Rams, going 20-for-39 with 219 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions, in the loss. Steven Jackson accumulated 143 yards and a touchdown on the ground for St. Louis, but the Rams couldn?t keep up with the Packers? efficient offensive attack and swarming defense. Fantasy Star: Steven Jackson, STL: 143 rushing yards and one touchdown. Jacksonville 29, Pittsburgh 22 The Pittsburgh Steelers are no longer a lock to win the AFC North, as they fell into a tie with the Cleveland Browns for the division lead after Week Fifteen (Pittsburgh owns the tie-breaker). David Garrard led the Jaguars to victory over the Steelers at Heinz Field, ruining Pittsburgh?s bid to go 8-0 at home this season. Garrard finished with 197 yards, three touchdowns and an interception, and was aided by the spectacular running of Fred Taylor, who tallied 147 yards and a score of his own. Ben Roethlisberger had a nice day as well, with 146 passing yards and three touchdowns, but the Steelers were severely outgained by the Jaguars (421 to 217 total yards). Jacksonville is one step closer to clinching a Wild Card berth, while a Steelers? win and a Browns? loss in Week Sixteen would lock up the division for Pittsburgh. Fantasy Star: Fred Taylor, JAX: 147 rushing yards and one touchdown. New Orleans 31, Arizona 24 Drew Brees and Kurt Warner aired it out at the Superdome on Sunday, with Warner posting better stats, but Brees leaving with the win. Brees went 26-for-30 with 315 yards and two touchdowns, while Warner tallied 233 yards and three scores. Aaron Stecker helped the Saints put together a balanced offensive attack with 95 rushing yards and two trips to the end zone. The victory allowed the Saints to stay alive in the NFC Wild Card hunt, while it may have doomed the Cardinals chances of qualifying for the postseason. Fantasy Star: Aaron Stecker, NO: 95 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Miami 22, Baltimore 16 The Miami Dolphins earned their first win of the season on Sunday, preventing themselves from the humiliation of finishing 2007 with a 0-16 record. Miami led Baltimore 16-13 in the final minutes on Sunday, but Matt Stover hit an 18-yard field goal to force overtime with just eight seconds left on the clock. Stover then missed a potential game-winning field goal in overtime, the first miscue of his career with the game on the line. Cleo Lemon connected with Greg Camarillo on 3-and-8 for a 64-yard touchdown pass, giving the Miami the win. Dolphins? fans can rest assure that in the mist of New England?s race at an undefeated record, their team won?t finish without a victory. Fantasy Star: Willis McGahee, BAL: 104 rushing yards. Indianapolis 21, Oakland 14 The Indianapolis Colts, who clinched a first-round bye in victory, were put to the test by the feisty Oakland Raiders on Sunday, Oakland held Indianapolis to their third-lowest point total of the season, limiting Colts? running back Joseph Addai in the process. Addai rushed for just 44 yards, and zero touchdowns against the Raiders? defense, as the Colts? offense managed just one touchdown. Josh McCown went 13-for-24 with 94 yards and a touchdown, before sitting in favor of JaMarcus Russell. Russell managed just 10 yards on five passing attempts. Justin Fargas was the star for the Raiders; he rushed for 89 yards and a touchdown on 24 attempts. Fantasy Star: Anthony Gonzalez, IND: 86 receiving yards and one touchdown. San Diego 51, Detroit 14 The San Diego Chargers lit up the scoreboard against the Detroit Lions, clinching the AFC West title in the process. Philip Rivers went 14-for-21 with 142 passing yards and a touchdown, while LaDainian Tomlinson added 116 rushing yards and two scores of his own. Jon Kitna was 26-for-46 with 302 yards and two touchdowns, but his five interceptions doomed the Lions. Leading comfortably in the second half, San Diego marched Billy Volek and Darren Sproles out in relief. The Chargers? running game didn?t miss a beat, as Sproles tallied 122 yards and two touchdowns. The Lions? running game managed just 26 yards total, the Chargers had two single rushes longer than 34 yards. Fantasy Star: LaDainian Tomlinson, SD: 116 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Philadelphia 10, Dallas 6 The Philadelphia Eagles proved that they are a much better football team than their record indicates on Sunday. They handed the Dallas Cowboys just their second loss of the season, while holding Tony Romo to the lowest quarterback rating of his NFL career. Donovan McNabb went 23-for-41 with 208 yards and a touchdown, while Tony Romo struggled through a 13-for-36 performance with 214 yards and three interceptions. Brian Westbrook accumulated over 140 total yards, including a huge burst in the final minutes that he ended prematurely with a kneel at the one-yard line. Westbrook?s move proved savvy as the Eagles were able to run out the clock, keeping the Cowboys from getting the ball back. Fantasy Star: Jason Witten, DAL: 113 receiving yards. Washington 22, N.Y. Giants 10 Eli Manning set a record against the Redskins on Sunday night, but it?s one that he?d like to erase from the NFL record books. His 34 incompletions were the most the league has seen in forty years, due to part to the fierce wind and the futility of his receivers. The Giants failed to clinch a playoff berth, but a win in either of their remaining two games would lock up one of the NFC?s Wild Card spots. The victory vaulted the Redskins (7-7) into the thick of the playoff picture. Manning was 18-for-52 with 184 yards and one touchdown. His counterpart, Todd Collins, went 8-for-25 with 166 passing yards. The running backs starred because of the windy conditions, with Brandon Jacobs rushing for 130 yards and Clinton Portis adding 126 yards and a score. New York didn?t just lose the game, they lost tight end Jeremy Shockey for the season with a broken leg as well. Fantasy Star: Clinton Portis, WSH: 126 rushing yards and one touchdown.
Packers Clinch First-Round Bye With Win
A simple slant pattern to his favorite receiver gave Brett Favre yet another record in a milestone season. It's been a pretty big year for the Green Bay Packers, too, who clinched a first-round playoff bye. Green Bay, which earned the first-round bye for the first time since 1997, also kept pace with the Cowboys for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Packers (12-2) are 6-1 on the road and prevailed in a sold-out Edward Jones Dome that appeared to be half-filled with Cheeseheads who filled the downtown streets in the hours before kickoff.
Farve Overtakes Marino
Brett Favre became the NFL career leader in yards passing Sunday, overtaking Dan Marino for his latest achievement in a milestone season. The three-time NFL MVP pulled 1 yard behind Marino with a 44-yard touchdown pass to Greg Jennings, catching Rams in a blitz. That put the Packers ahead 27-14 with 5:58 to go in the third quarter. He passed Marino on the Packers' next series on the first play, a 7-yard slant pattern to Donald Driver with 23 seconds gone in the fourth quarter.
Favre Leads Fan Voting For Pro Bowl
The fans have spoken, and they say Brett Favre should go to the Pro Bowl. The NFL announced today that Favre led fan voting for the NFL's annual all-star game with 1,140,863 votes -- more than New England quarterback Tom Brady or Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning. Packers' cornerbacks Al Harris and Charles Woodson and linebacker A.J. Hawk ranked among the fans' top 10 defensive players. Fan votes, which were collected through the NFL's Web site and through Sprint wireless phones, count one-third toward determining the 43-man rosters that represent each conference in the Feb. 10 game in Honolulu, Hawaii. Players and coaches also will vote for Pro Bowl representatives this week, and the teams will be announced next Tuesday.
McCarthy Says Burgess Hit On Favre Was 'Unnecessary'
Packers' Coach Mike McCarthy called a hit that Raiders' defensive end Derrick Burgess made on Brett Favre low and unnecessary. Favre, making his 250th consecutive start, got hit twice by Burgess, once on a play before the 2-minute warning that left Favre limping in Green Bay's 38-7 victory over Oakland on Sunday. "It was one of those 'Ooooh' [hits]," Favre said after the game. "It didn't particularly feel good, and it was an awkward way to fall for me." Favre fell from the contact, which caused his legs to stiffen from the shot to the shin. McCarthy wasn't as upset on that play as the one later in the second half, when Burgess caught Favre around the lower part of the knee. "The [first] he was in contact with the tackle and then was pushed a little, but the other one he went low on him," McCarthy said Monday. "It was clearly evident. It was unnecessary."
Favre Expects To Start; Backup QB Rodgers Hurt
Brett Favre was back at practice on Wednesday, but he wasn't quite ready to put his bruised elbow, tingling throwing hand and tender shoulder to the test. Meanwhile, it was learned Green Bay Packers' backup quarterback Aaron Rodgers could be unavailable for Sunday's game with the Oakland Raiders and, perhaps, beyond. Favre mostly handed off and threw a few short passes during the portion of Packers' practice that was open to the media. Apparently, he didn't do much more afterward. "It's about where I thought it would be, I guess," Favre said. "Still sore, but I was encouraged today even though I didn't do a great deal." Favre bruised his right elbow and separated his non-throwing left shoulder in the second quarter of the Packers' loss at Dallas last Thursday and didn't return.