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Packers Deal With Agony of Victory

September 15, 1997|From Associated Press

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Even in victory, the Green Bay Packers find themselves dealing with big losses.

With five starters from their Super Bowl championship team already having missed at least one start, the Packers sustained two more injuries Sunday as they struggled to a 23-18 victory over the Miami Dolphins.

Gilbert Brown, the 350-pound defensive lineman who excels against the run, strained his right knee and All-Pro strong safety LeRoy Butler tore his right biceps. It's uncertain how many games they'll miss, if any.

The Packers were without two starters on the offensive line, including center Frank Winters, whose 82-game streak ended.

It has been like that all season for the Packers: struggle and pain.

"Toward the end of the game, I was telling myself that it's going to be this way every week," Packer quarterback Brett Favre said. "People are asking why we're not blowing teams out like we did early last year. But that stuff is over with. Beating the Packers gives you a chance to boast, to stick out your chest."

But the Packers were sloppy once again, losing two fumbles and drawing four penalties in a seven-play span in the fourth quarter.

Favre threw two touchdown passes, including one to fullback William Henderson from 10 yards out with 5:33 left as Green Bay (2-1) bounced back from a loss at Philadelphia.

Ryan Longwell, who missed a chip shot in the final seconds that would have beaten the Eagles, made all three of his field-goal attempts to almost counter four from Miami's Olindo Mare.

Dan Marino connected with former Packer receiver Charles Jordan for a 29-yard touchdown with 1:47 left to pull Miami (2-1) within 23-18. That prevented Marino from going three games without a touchdown pass for the first time in his 15-year career.

His two-point conversion pass failed, however, and Miami's victory hopes ended when an onside kick was recovered by Green Bay's Terry Mickens and Dorsey Levens gained 31 yards on three runs.

Levens finished with a career-high 121 yards in 21 carries.

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