Favre had a much better return than Carter on Monday night, guiding Green Bay to a 24-10 victory over the Miami Dolphins despite a sprained left knee that had threatened to end his decade-long starting streak.
|Cris Carter's comeback starts off shakily as Tyrone Williams forces a fumble on Carter's first catch.(AP)|
"Nothing surprises me with him," Green Bay running back Ahman Green said.
The Packers, who have the NFL's best record at 7-1, also recorded four more takeaways to increase their league-leading total to 27 and held Miami running back Ricky Williams to 47 yards on 14 carries.
Favre was 16-of-25 for 187 yards with one touchdown pass. When he was replaced by backup Doug Pederson in the middle of a series in the fourth quarter, the crowd serenaded him with chants of "MVP! MVP! MVP!"
"It's not too bad," Favre said. "It's a little stiff. I survived. The brace hindered me a little bit. I knew it would, but overall it served its purpose."
Packers coach Mike Sherman said Favre came out of the game fine.
"He was limping right before the half. When you play with a brace, you cramp up a little," Sherman said. "He made the throws he had to make. And I thought he played a heck of a ballgame."
The Dolphins (5-3) had hoped Carter would provide a similar spark as he came out of retirement to shore up a depleted receiving corps and chase a championship.
But Carter fumbled away his first reception, leading to Green Bay's first touchdown, and he was the intended target on an interception by Nate Wayne in the second half. Carter finished with three inconsequential catches for 31 yards.
"There are certain things you can't simulate," Carter said after ending his nine-month layoff. "The game is moving a lot faster. It's just totally different. As a team, we were driving the ball early, moving the ball, but you can't turn it over at Lambeau and win."
Darren Sharper stepped in front of a pass by Ray Lucas and returned it 89 yards for a touchdown as the third quarter expired, giving Green Bay a 24-0 lead.
"When you get beat 4-1 in turnovers on the road you aren't going to win," said Miami coach Dave Wannstedt, who has been on the losing end three of the four times Favre has returned from injury to keep his streak alive.
Olindo Mare kicked a 46-yard field goal in the fourth quarter and Miami finally got into the end zone on Lucas' 1-yard keeper with 1:31 left -- the first TD in eight quarters against Green Bay's defense, which has allowed just two meaningless TDs in its last three games.
"I thought our defense played an outstanding game," Sherman said. "We put pressure on their quarterback. We stifled their running game, and they have a great running game."
So does Green Bay.
Green rushed 19 times for 72 yards and caught six passes for 71 yards against Miami's stout defense. He accounted for all but 18 of the yards in the first half, when his 23-yard TD reception and 1-yard scoring run gave Green Bay a 14-0 halftime lead.
Lucas, starting for the injured Jay Fiedler, was replaced briefly by Sage Rosenfels when he strained his right shoulder on a hard hit by Vonnie Holliday late in the first half.
Favre threw an interception in the end zone on the Packers' first possession and nearly did it again in the second quarter before Green rumbled in from a yard out.
The score was set up by a fumble at midfield by Carter, who was playing for the first time since ending his retirement.
|Green Bay's Donald Driver reaches up to make a catch over Sam Madison.(AP)|
The crowd at Lambeau Field gasped in the second quarter when former Packers special teams star Scott McGarrahan sacked Favre for an 11-yard loss. McGarrahan grabbed Favre by the ankles and twisted him down.
But Favre popped right up and jogged off the field as the punting team came on.
Favre also was sacked on another safety blitz, by Arturo Freeman.
"It didn't bother me. It's OK when the little guys hit you," said Favre, who was hurt two weeks ago when Washington linebacker LaVar Arrington sacked him.
On the first play of the second quarter, Carter caught an 11-yard pass, but as he passed the first-down marker, Wayne stripped the ball and recovered it at the Green Bay 48.
"That's just part of not playing. I didn't see him and I didn't feel him," Carter said.
In the third quarter, Tyrone Williams hit Carter as the ball arrived and Wayne grabbed the interception at midfield.
"I don't know if it hit me or him," Carter said.
Favre improved to 32-0 at home when the temperature at kickoff is 34 or below. It was 30 on Monday night, more than 50 degrees colder than in Miami.
Favre looked impressive on the Packers' first drive, going 5-of-6 as he drove Green Bay to the Miami 4. But he lofted a pass toward Javon Walker that cornerback Patrick Surtain intercepted in the end zone.
- Packers DT Cletidus Hunt injured his right knee with 5:45 left in the game and didn't return.
- The Dolphins are 9-2 against Green Bay, but the Packers are 12-2 against Miami coach Dave Wannstedt.
- The Packers won their league-best 19th straight game when leading at halftime, a streak that dates to their 28-20 loss at Miami on Oct. 29, 2000.
AP NEWS The Associated Press News Service Copyright 2002, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved
The Associated Press News Service
Copyright 2002, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved