Packers Are Good Surprise While Other Teams Disappoint

Monday, October 1st 2007, 7:11 am
By: News On 6

While Brett Favre sets records and stunningly has the Green Bay Packers at the top of their conference, a bunch of other NFL teams are surprisingly heading the other way.

Take the 2006 NFC champion Chicago Bears, whom Detroit beat 37-27 on Sunday. Or the supposedly powerful San Diego Chargers, who fell into the AFC West cellar with a 30-16 home less to Kansas City.

Other playoff teams from last season also are struggling. The New York Jets and Philadelphia Eagles are 1-3 and the Saints are 0-3. At least New Orleans was off this weekend, when the Jets were falling 17-14 against previously winless Buffalo, and the undermanned Eagles fell at the Giants 16-3.

The Packers, who beat Minnesota 23-16, have company atop the NFC: Dallas also is 4-0 after routing St. Louis 35-7. And Super Bowl champion Indianapolis also remained spotless with a 38-20 victory over Denver.

Also Sunday, it was Arizona handing Pittsburgh its first defeat after three wins, 21-14; Tampa Bay over Carolina 20-7; Seattle 23, San Francisco 3; Cleveland 27, Baltimore 13; Oakland 35, Miami 17; and Atlanta 26, Houston 16.

Along with New Orleans, Tennessee, Washington and Jacksonville were off.

On Monday night, Cincinnati hosts New England.

Packers 23, Vikings 16

With yet another vintage performance, Favre surpassed Dan Marino's career record for touchdown passes and led Green Bay (4-0) over the host Vikings (1-3).

Favre threw TD pass No. 421 in the first quarter, a 16-yarder to Greg Jennings, and No. 422 in the fourth quarter to James Jones. He went interception-free against a defense determined to make him the league's career leader in that category, too. Favre remained three picked-off passes away from passing George Blanda.

Favre went 32-for-45 for 344 yards and his 241st consecutive start lifted him passed Mick Tingelhoff into second for all players.

``I'm so glad we won the game. There was so much emphasis on this record and not the game itself,'' he said. ``Everyone's like, 'What are you going to do? Are you going to have a big celebration?' Put yourself in my shoes. I want to help this team win. I do not want us to get blindsided by this record and what we're actually here for.''

Lions 37, Bears 27

The Bears (1-3) kept reeling at Detroit. Jon Kitna threw two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter, when the Lions (3-1) scored a league-record 34 points. Detroit's Casey FitzSimmons returned an onside kick for a TD in the period.

``Our season is not over,'' Bears star linebacker Brian Urlacher said. ``But we have to get better. We stink right now.''

Brian Griese had two TDs and three interceptions as a starter in place of the benched Rex Grossman, but Devin Hester returned a kickoff 97 yards, his seventh kick or punt return for a score since entering the league last season.

Chiefs 30, Chargers 16

At San Diego, the Chiefs (2-2) scored 24 straight points in the second half. Rookie receiver Dwayne Bowe, the Chiefs' first-round draft pick, caught a go-ahead, 51-yard touchdown pass from Damon Huard. Cornerback Tyron Brackenridge, a rookie free agent, raced 50 yards for a score after Rivers was sacked and fumbled.

It was the third straight loss for the Chargers (1-3), who were an NFL-best 14-2 in 2006. QB Philip Rivers had two interceptions and one fumble, which led to 17 points.

Larry Johnson gained 123 yards on 25 carries for the Chiefs (2-2). LaDainian Tomlinson finally cracked triple digits for the Chargers, gaining 132 yards on 20 carries, surpassing his season total of 130.

Bills 17, Jets 14

Depleted Buffalo got its first victory after three defeats. In his first career start in place of injured J.P. Losman, Trent Edwards went 22-of-28 for 234 yards. The Bills produced their most points, total yards (304), yards passing and first downs (19) of the season.

Jabari Greer's interception of Chad Pennington's pass at the Jets 25 set up one TD, and Terrence McGee's interception at the Bills 31 ended the Jets' last-gasp drive with 6 seconds remaining.

Pennington finished 32-of-39 for 290 yards.

Giants 16, Eagles 3

New York (2-2) took full advantage of injuries to the visiting Eagles, who were without stars Brian Dawkins and Brian Westbrook, but seemed to miss tackle William Thomas the most. The Giants tied an NFL mark with 12 sacks, six by end Osi Umenyiora.

Mathias Kiwanuka added three sacks, Justin Tuck two and Michael Strahan one in an awesome display by a defense that was ranked worst in the league after giving up 80 points in its first two games.

Kawika Mitchell returned a fumble 17 yards for a touchdown and Eli Manning threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Plaxico Burress, a score that, of course, was set up by a sack.

Cowboys 35, Rams 7

Tony Romo had a 15-yard touchdown run and threw TD passes of 59, 37 and 17 yards. Patrick Crayton scored the first two touchdowns and had seven receptions for a career-high 184 yards.

The Cowboys are 4-0 for the first time since 1995, the year of their last Super Bowl title.

The injury-ravaged Rams are 0-4 for the first time since 2002, when they opened with five straight defeats coming off a Super Bowl loss.

Colts 38, Broncos 20

At Indianapolis, the Colts scored on six of their last eight possessions. Peyton Manning finished 20-of-27 for 193 yards and three touchdowns, while Joseph Addai ran 19 times for 136 yards and one score. But Addai (shoulder) and wide receiver Marvin Harrison (knee) were injured.

The Colts have won five of seven in the series since Tony Dungy took over as coach and extended their league-best winning streak to nine, counting last year's playoff games.

Denver (2-2) ran for 160 yards in the first half, the best in the NFL this season, and Travis Henry did most of the damage, carrying 26 times for 131 yards.

Cardinals 21, Steelers 14

Rookie Steve Breaston returned a punt 73 yards for a touchdown and the Cardinals (2-2) shut down Pittsburgh's high-scoring offense. Host Arizona ended Willie Parker's string of four consecutive 100-yard rushing games, limiting him to 37 yards on 18 carries.

Arizona first-year coach Ken Whisenhunt and top assistant Russ Grimm both were leading contenders to replace Bill Cowher in Pittsburgh after last season. Whisenhunt was the Steelers' offensive coordinator and Grimm was the assistant head coach and offensive line coach at the time. Instead, the job went to outsider Mike Tomlin.

Buccaneers 20, Panthers 7

Jeff Garcia didn't throw an interception for the fourth straight game and ran for a touchdown as visiting Tampa Bay (3-1) moved atop the NFC South.

Ike Hilliard caught seven passes for 114 yards, Michael Pittman rushed for 90 yards and the Buccaneers overcame the loss of running back Carnell ``Cadillac'' Williams to a right knee injury to beat the Panthers (2-2) for only the second time in nine meetings.

Starting in place of Jake Delhomme (strained right elbow), David Carr completed just 19 of 41 passes for 155 yards.

Seahawks 23, 49ers 3

At San Francisco, Matt Hasselbeck passed for 281 yards and two touchdowns, Rocky Bernard's hit separated Alex Smith's right shoulder, and the Seahawks (3-1) took the lead in the NFC West. Deion Branch had seven catches for 130 yards against the Niners (2-2).

Hasselbeck hit Bobby Engram and Marcus Pollard with TD passes, while Josh Brown kicked three field goals.

Browns 27, Ravens 13

At Cleveland, Derek Anderson threw two touchdown passes and Jamal Lewis ran for one against his former team, as the Browns improved to 2-2.

Lewis, released by Baltimore coach Brian Billick in March, got some satisfaction against his former coach and the team he played with for seven seasons. He finished with 64 yards and scored on a disputed 1-yard dive in the second quarter, the first TD rushing given up by the NFL's top run defense this season.

Steve McNair threw a career-high 53 passes for the Ravens (2-2).

Raiders 35, Dolphins 17

At Miami, Daunte Culpepper ran for three touchdowns and threw for two to win the grudge game against his former team. Culpepper threw only 12 times and completed five for 75 yards, but hit Jerry Porter for scores of 7 and 27 yards. Justin Fargas replaced an injured LaMont Jordan shortly before halftime and ran for a career-high 179 yards on 22 carries for Oakland (2-2).

The Raiders' 299-yard rushing total was their fourth highest since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970 and their highest since Nov. 30, 1987, against Seattle, when they had 356.

For the second time in four years, the Dolphins are 0-4. But Ronnie Brown ran for 134 yards and caught six passes for 73.

Falcons 26, Texans 16

At Atlanta, Joey Harrington threw a pair of touchdown passes to Michael Jenkins, 47-year-old Morten Andersen kicked four field goals and the Falcons (1-3) defeated their former QB, Matt Schaub.

Jenkins hauled in scoring passes of 5 and 7 yards, the first two-touchdown game of his up-and-down career. Harrington, who took over as starter after Schaub was traded and Michael Vick became embroiled in a dogfighting case, was 23-of-29 for 223 yards.

Schaub was 28-of-40 for 317 yards, including a 35-yard touchdown pass to Andre' Davis for Houston (2-2).