Tennessee at Green Bay

Titans rock Packers in game delayed over two hours by lightning

SportsLine.com wire reports

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Tennessee Titans couldn't wait to get out of town -- and they won the game by 24 points.

"I understand the league's position and the necessity to finish the ballgame, but I think a delay that lasted 2½ hours is just too long," Titans coach Jeff Fisher said.

Steve McNair took just three snaps Thursday night in the Titans' 27-3 victory over the Green Bay Packers that included a 2-hour, 33-minute lightning delay and didn't end until early Friday morning.

Torrential rains made for a messy first half and maybe a fourth of the 69,126 fans -- who got a double dose of disappointment when Brett Favre and Ahman Green sat out altogether -- stuck around to watch play resume at 11:01 p.m.

Players fighting to make the team had to deal with a slippery field and cold muscles.

"I think it was a character test for all the guys who had to come out after the delay," Fisher said. "It was really unfair to them because what we really wanted was to get the game over."

The fans got a hearty laugh when the two-minute warning was announced one play after the game resumed, and let out a huge cheer when it was announced that the usual 12-minute halftime would last only one minute.

But few of the players were laughing.

Titans linebacker Rocky Calmus felt a hamstring pop like a cold rubber band on the soaked field on his first play after the delay.

"It's frustrating, but I'm glad it didn't happen to a bigger name guy," Calmus said. "Luckily no one else got hurt."

Packers safety Marques Anderson said the delay -- which lasted as long as most games take -- was hard on everybody.

"Some guys were playing some games during the delay, some guys got on the Internet. Some were watching TV," Anderson said.

And almost none of them thought play would resume, Packers fullback Nick Luchey said.

He said most of his teammates thought it was a joke when they were told to get warmed up to go back out but quickly realized coaches were serious.

"I don't think it was in the best interest of the players," Luchey said. "Everybody's body had shut down."

But Anderson said he understood: "I don't want to say it's a bad decision. Guys needed to be evaluated."

Teams have until Sunday to trim rosters to 53.

The fourth quarter didn't start until after midnight and the game ended at 12:46 a.m., five hours, 41 minutes after it started.

The teams cleared the field with 2:05 left in the first half when thunder shook the stadium with Tennessee leading 14-0 and Green Bay facing third-and-10 at midfield.

Most fans immediately began clearing out of the aluminum bleacher seats and heading for the parking lots or the concourses that were widened during the recent $295 million renovation of Lambeau Field.

"The main reason the league wanted the game to be completed is because of the integrity of the preseason," Packers president Bob Harlan said. "The fans have paid to see it. The commissioner felt it was important that we make every attempt, as long as we didn't affect the safety of the fans or the players, to complete the game."

After play resumed, Ryan Longwell kicked a 40-yard field goal. The press box announcer cracked that the eight-play, 31-yard drive took 1 minute, 24 seconds "although it may have seemed like longer."

Packers' longtime spokesman Lee Remmell, for whom the press box is named, said he believed it was the first time a game had ever been suspended at Lambeau Field, which opened in 1957.

Doug Pederson started at quarterback and Luchey at halfback for the Packers (2-3), who had a losing preseason mark for the first time under coach Mike Sherman.

The Titans (4-0) had little trouble completing their first perfect preseason under Fisher even though McNair played so little.

McNair came out after his 35-yard pass to Justin McCareins at the Green Bay 3 was negated when tackle Brad Hopkins held Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, who still managed a vicious hit on the Titans' quarterback.

McNair was replaced by Neil O'Donnell, who gave Tennessee a 7-0 lead by hitting Drew Bennett for 17 yards, Derrick Mason for 24 and McCareins for the final 16 yards at the height of the downpour.

Billy Volek threw touchdown passes of 46 yards to Tyrone Calico just before the delay and 41 yards to Shad Meier that made it 24-3 with 4:04 left in the third quarter.

Injured Packers included WR Carl Ford (twisted right knee) and LB Paris Lenon (strained neck). Ford will have an MRI Friday. Titans RB Robert Holcombe (strained neck) and LB Keith Bulluck (sprained right knee) were hurt.

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2003, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved

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Brett Favre is content to watch from the sidelines on a night lengthened by a lightning delay.
Brett Favre is content to watch from the sidelines on a night lengthened by a lightning delay.(AP)


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Scoring Summary
TDJustin McCareins, 16 Yd pass from Neil O'Donnell (Joe Nedney kick is good), 6:28. Drive: 6 plays, 59 yards in 2:55.
TDTyrone Calico, 42 Yd pass from Billy Volek (Joe Nedney kick is good), 2:22. Drive: 1 play, 42 yards in 0:06.
FGRyan Longwell 40 Yd, 0:58. Drive: 9 plays, 31 yards in 1:24.
FGJoe Nedney 33 Yd, 0:05. Drive: 5 plays, 53 yards in 0:53.
TDShad Meier, 41 Yd pass from Billy Volek (Joe Nedney kick is good), 8:09. Drive: 7 plays, 51 yards in 4:04.
FGJoe Nedney 45 Yd, 6:18. Drive: 11 plays, 52 yards in 5:33.
B. Volek5/1519821
N. O'Donnell7/109510
J. Gesser4/64600
S. McNair1/1800
J. Simon2042011
E. George4705
D. Bennett1606
R. Holcombe1303
J. Gesser2-30-1
J. Simon477068
S. Meier354141
E. Berlin145045
T. Calico142142
E. Kinney233024
C. Hayes229019
D. Mason124024
D. Bennett117017
J. McCareins116116
J. Schifino110010
Green Bay
C. Nall12/2415500
D. Pederson9/2212100
N. Luchey71305
H. Goodman6805
L. Smith2404
T. Fisher3202
D. Pederson2000
T. Fisher664016
J. Walker264057
A. Chatman245027
K. Bailey239024
L. Smith121021
D. Martin21608
M. Horacek113013
H. Goodman31109
B. Franks1202
N. Luchey1101
Complete Player Stats