Final

Falcons 23

(5-4, 3-1 away)

Packers 20

(6-3, 4-1 home)

Coverage: FOX

1:00 PM ET, November 18, 2001

 

1 2 3 4 T
ATL 6 10 0 723
GB 3 7 3 720

Favre throws three INTs, Pack's home streak ends

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- On an unseasonably warm day at Lambeau Field, the Green Bay Packers lost their cool.

Chris Chandler

Falcons quarterback Chris Chandler celebrates with Ray Buchanan after shocking the Packers.

Backup safety Chris Akins was benched by coach Mike Sherman for a sideline blowup Sunday after committing a costly penalty that led to the decisive touchdown. And Brett Favre was intercepted three times in a 23-20 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

Ashley Ambrose cradled Favre's final pass at the Atlanta 2 with just over a minute left.

"Brett's so good. When he makes mistakes, he always comes back. That's the type of player I am," said Ambrose, who was burned for a deep pass that set up a first-half touchdown. "That's the way I feel when I step on the field."

Needing only about 10 yards to get in field-goal range, Favre instead went deep, but overthrew Bill Schroeder.

Are the Falcons a legitimate playoff contender?
The Falcons are 5-4 now, but they're still behind St. Louis (8-1) and San Francisco (7-2) in the NFC West -- and they're tied with New Orleans (5-4). Making the playoffs will be tough for Atlanta. The two overtime losses to the 49ers have hurt the Falcons big-time.

But today the Falcons went into an extremely difficult road environment and performed well on both offense and defense. And this time they held onto a fourth-quarter lead (rather than giving up a game-tying score and going into OT and losing the game, as they have twice to the Niners).

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

"I don't second-guess anything I've ever done. I feel like I'm the best in the business -- I still do," Favre said. "Even though we're behind, you've got to feel like that defense is sweating. And I'm sure they were today. They may say different, but I guarantee you they were worried."

Falcons coach Dan Reeves can attest to that.

"That's what quarterbacks like Favre and John Elway thrive on," Reeves said. "Therefore, when you're on the other side, it gets worrisome."

To detractors who argue all the Packers needed was a field goal, Favre retorted: "Suit up. Come take my spot."

Ambrose also picked off Favre's first pass on a day in which the temperature at kickoff was a 59 degrees -- about twice as high as usual for mid-November.

The Falcons (5-4) were double-digit underdogs to the Packers (6-3), who had won nine straight at Lambeau Field.

"You can't overlook anybody," Reeves said. "I know they were thinking they were facing a 4-4 team, but you just can't do that. Anybody can beat anybody right now."

Favre, who lost for just the 12th time in 75 home games, also fumbled twice, losing one of them.

The Packers also lost safety LeRoy Butler, who was making his 128th consecutive start, to a broken shoulder blade in the first half. He's out indefinitely and his season might be over.

His replacement, Akins, was benched after his 15-yard personal foul kept alive the Falcons' final TD drive. Akins was replaced by rookie Bhawoh Jue.

"We had people acting stupid and not knowing how to control their emotions," Darren Sharper said.

Akins was whistled for shoving tackle Ephraim Salaam, who had taken exception to Tod McBride's jumping over the line to smother Chandler on a play in which he jumped offside.

"I wanted Chris out of the game immediately," Sherman said.

But he couldn't get Akins' attention in the huddle, and after another play in which Akins was part of a gang-tackle on the Packers' sideline, Sherman yanked him from the game.

"He ripped his helmet off his head. When I approached him, I did touch his arm. There was no physical confrontation between me and him, as far as I'm concerned," Sherman said.

Akins was contrite after the game.

"I won't make those mistakes again, because I see how bad they hurt the team," he said. "We kept that drive alive. They end up scoring on it and it turned the whole outcome of this game completely around."

After Akins' personal foul, with the Falcons facing third-and-12 from their 20 and clinging to a 16-13 lead, Chris Chandler drove the Falcons downfield for a 12-yard touchdown toss to Brian Finneran with 8:49 left.

The Packers responded with a 39-yard TD pass from Favre to Antonio Freeman that capped a four-play, 75-yard drive and made it 23-20.

Green Bay got the ball back after a punt with 1:52 left and moved to the Falcons 45 after consecutive 18-yard completions to Schroeder. But on second-and-10, Favre went for it all, and was intercepted.

Favre lost a fumble and had two interceptions in the Packers' first six possessions. He also fumbled a pitch near the goal line that teammate Marco Rivera recovered.

Atlanta led 16-10 at halftime and reached the Packers 12 on the opening drive of the second half. But Nate Wayne's interception led to Ryan Longwell's 45-yard field goal that made it 16-13.

Game notes
In his first game back from bruised ribs, Chandler completed a season-high 29 passes in 50 attempts for 352 yards. ... The Falcons won their third straight on the road. ... Christian had five catches for 62 yards and four runs for 40 more. ... Favre passed Joe Montana for sixth with 274 touchdown passes.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERATLGB
atlFG6:23Jay Feely 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 4 plays, 5 yds, 0:57
60
FOURTH QUARTERATLGB
gbTD6:53Touchdown
Drive info: 4 plays, 75 yds, 1:47
2319
gb6:53
Drive info: 4 plays, 75 yds, 1:47
2320
FIRST QUARTERATLGB
atlFG8:21Jay Feely 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 7 plays, 38 yds, 3:38
30
gbFG3:39Ryan Longwell 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 7 plays, 59 yds, 2:34
63
SECOND QUARTERATLGB
gbTD1:58Touchdown
Drive info: 7 plays, 76 yds, 3:21
169
FOURTH QUARTERATLGB
atlTD9:13Touchdown
Drive info: 7 plays, 78 yds, 4:04
2213
SECOND QUARTERATLGB
atlFG5:43Jay Feely 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 8 plays, 40 yds, 3:55
163
gb1:58
Drive info: 7 plays, 76 yds, 3:21
1610
FOURTH QUARTERATLGB
atl9:13
Drive info: 7 plays, 78 yds, 4:04
2313
THIRD QUARTERATLGB
gbFG2:47Ryan Longwell 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 12 plays, 62 yds, 5:22
1613
SECOND QUARTERATLGB
atlTD12:59Touchdown
Drive info: 11 plays, 79 yds, 13:50
123
atl12:59
Drive info: 11 plays, 79 yds, 13:50
133