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Punt return keeps Favre's mark intact

11/4/2001

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- On one hand, Brett Favre is really going
to miss the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' annual visit. On the other, he's
glad he won't have to face them so darn much.

Favre is an expert at beating the Bucs in Green Bay. He has a
10-0 home record against the Buccaneers after a 21-20 victory
Sunday.

But Tampa Bay won't visit Lambeau Field again in the regular
season until 2005 because of realignment.

"I'm not going to miss much," said Favre, who was intercepted twice, leading to 10 Tampa Bay points. "As long as those guys --
Warren Sapp, John Lynch and the other guys -- are there, they're
going to be tough to deal with. No team is easy, but they've always
been tough.

"Good riddance to Tampa."

Then Favre wondered, "Do we play them next year?"

Yes, at Tampa.

"Oh," Favre said. "Good luck to them, then."

The Bucs (3-4) turned two interceptions into 10 points and a
fumble by Ahman Green into another seven for a 17-7 lead.

What happened to Tampa Bay's rushing attack today?
The Bucs got down early again, and getting behind makes it tough to
establish the running game.

There are other reasons the Bucs couldn't run the ball effectively. Mike
Alstott didn't look as quick and explosive as he looked last week. Also, the
Bucs' offensive line struggled again, giving up seven sacks and failing to
open significant holes.

Tampa Bay scored 17 points off turnovers, but did nothing on offense. Green
Bay's defense was simply overwhelming. The Packers dominated up front -- in
a nutshell, that's what happened.

ESPN.com's Vinny Cerrato was director of player personnel for the
Redskins and 49ers.


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But Green, who had a career-high 169 yards on 24 carries, scored
on a 63-yard run and Allen Rossum returned a punt 55 yards for the
winning touchdown with three minutes left.

"The hole was so wide, anybody could have run it through
there," Rossum said.

The Buccaneers, who haven't won in Wisconsin since 1989, got one
more chance, but Brad Johnson's desperation pass was knocked down
by Darren Sharper in the end zone.

Johnson had the chance because of an errant whistle on the
previous play, when the quarterback fumbled while trying to spike
the ball. Vonnie Holliday recovered, but the Bucs kept possession.

"I'm sick and tired of inadvertent whistles," Favre said. "I
don't want to get fined ... but it was a fumble. That clock should
have kept running. If we would have lost that game today on that
`Hail Mary' at the end, that would have been terrible."

Martin Gramatica wanted a chance to kick a field goal.

"He wanted to, but it would have been about 68 yards," Bucs
coach Tony Dungy said. "We thought about it, but we were hoping to
get a little closer, maybe around 60, and we thought he could make
it."

Johnson was sacked seven times and the Packers (5-2) outgained
the Bucs 352 yards to 194.

But for a while it looked like the Bucs would finally beat Favre
on the road -- or that Favre would beat himself.

In a 14-10 loss at Tampa last month, Favre was picked off three
times, including one returned 98 yards for a touchdown.

Favre threw a 21-yard TD pass to Antonio Freeman on the opening
drive and the Packers, fresh off a bye, outgained the Bucs 120-7 in
the first quarter.

But Donnie Abraham stepped in front of Freeman on a softly
thrown pass at the Bucs 16 and returned it 46 yards before being
clothes-lined by guard Mike Wahle. Gramatica's 33-yard field goal
made it 7-3.

Green fumbled at his 41 after a 12-yard run on third-and-1 in
which he broke a half-dozen tackles. Dexter Jackson poked the ball
loose and Sapp recovered.

"He had the fumble, but it was because he was scratching and
clawing for every inch," Packers coach Mike Sherman said.

That led to Johnson's 11-yard strike to tight end Dave Moore
that made it 10-7 with 2:02 left before halftime.

The Packers reached the Tampa Bay 8, but an illegal chop block
on center Mike Flanagan put the ball back to the 23. Ryan Longwell
was wide left on a 41-yarder as time expired.

It was Longwell's sixth miss of the season, one more miss than
all of last year.

Favre made another bad throw into coverage to fullback William
Henderson, and Jamie Duncan picked it off at the Green Bay 44.
Johnson hit Mike Alstott for a 19-yard TD to make it 17-7.

After Green's 63-yard score, Gramatica kicked a 49-yard field
goal to make it 20-14.

Despite their lack of success in Green Bay, several Buccaneers
were sad to leave Lambeau Field.

"It's a special place to play football and I'm going to miss
it," Lynch said. "It's tough to say that, because I've never won
up here."

That didn't matter, Sapp said.

"Favre's here," he lamented. "It's Titletown, USA. You want
to come up here."

Game notes
Both teams were without receivers, Jacquez Green
(groin) for the Bucs and Bill Schroeder (ankle) for the Packers.
Green Bay also lost left tackle Chad Clifton (sprained left ankle).
Abraham bruised his back in the fourth quarter and didn't return.
He said he'd play next week. ... Alstott rushed 17 times for 30
yards, 99 fewer than a week ago against Minnesota. His 1.8-yard
average still was better than Warrick Dunn, who gained 5 yards on
three carries (1.7) in his return from a hamstring injury.