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GREEN BAY 17, CAROLINA 14

Packers Cast Fate to Favre

September 30, 2002|From Associated Press

GREEN BAY, Wis. — No matter how many times Brett Favre's supporting cast changes, he finds a way to get the Green Bay Packers a victory.

With William Henderson out and Terry Glenn in the locker room because of a migraine headache, Favre found little-known Donald Driver for a 22-yard touchdown with 4:10 left Sunday, leading the Packers to a 17-14 victory over the Carolina Panthers.

"It was difficult, but I wasn't really concerned about who was in and who was out. My focus never changes," Favre said. "We had a lot of new faces out there, a lot of young faces. A lot of guys stepped up."

But the Packers still had to sweat it out. Carolina drove to the Green Bay five, only to have Shayne Graham--signed two days ago as its third kicker this season--miss a 24-yard field goal with 13 seconds left.

"That's my job, to go out there and make kicks, and I didn't do that," said Graham, who made six of eight field goals with Buffalo last season. "It's probably the worst second in your life when you pick your head up and you see it sailing wide right."

Favre, who became Green Bay's starting quarterback 10 years ago this week, completed 18 of 32 passes for 200 yards, with one interception. He has 3,414 completions, passing Joe Montana for fifth place on the all-time list.

Driver had the first two-touchdown game of his career--scoring the first one on a pass from tight end Bubba Franks on a trick play in the second quarter.

Steve Smith filled in nicely for Panther leading receiver Muhsin Muhammad, catching five passes for 116 yards, and Lamar Smith rushed for 66 yards and two scores. But it wasn't enough for Carolina (3-1).

"Two turnovers resulted in points off the board or at least opportunities to kick field goals," Panther Coach John Fox said. "You don't make mistakes like that against good teams and expect to win."

The Panthers brought the NFL's No. 2 defense to Lambeau Field, and frustrated the Packers all afternoon. Add in the patchwork lineup, and Green Bay's offense struggled to get into rhythm.

But Favre is a master of fourth-quarter rallies, and he pulled off the 25th of his career. "I'd rather be up, sipping Gatorade on the sidelines," Favre said. "But I think I handle the situation very well. My team trusts I'll get the job done."

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