Final

Vikings 13

(5-10, 0-7 away)

Packers 24

(11-4, 7-1 home)

Coverage: FOX

1:00 PM ET, December 30, 2001

 

1 2 3 4 T
MIN 0 3 3 713
GB 0 7 0 1724

Pack still has faint pulse in NFC Central race

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- Brett Favre warmed up just in time.

Donald Driver

Green Bay's Bubba Franks (88) and Corey Bradford (85) congratulate Donald Driver after scoring a TD on a 31-yard reverse.

Trailing late in the fourth quarter, Favre completed five passes on a 79-yard touchdown drive to help the Green Bay Packers beat the Minnesota Vikings 24-13 on Sunday and stay alive in the race for the division title.

Favre completed 18 of 29 passes for 169 yards, struggling to throw for much of a game that started in 19-degree cold, with a wind chill of 5. He improved to 30-0 at home in temperatures of 34 or below.

"I knew the conditions would be tough," Favre said. "It was difficult to throw, but they pay me a lot of money to handle these conditions."

Favre also threw a devastating block to clear the way for Donald Driver on a 31-yard touchdown run that gave the Packers a 7-3 lead in the second quarter.

Driver's 31 yards equaled those of running back Ahman Green, who averaged just 1.9 yards on 16 carries.

Did the Packers prove today that they can win with defense too?
I don't think so -- I don't think the Packers played very well at all.

They were facing Spergon Wynn, the Vikings' third-team quarterback, and it looked like the Packers may have relaxed some. The D gave up some easy yards rushing. The Packers didn't come ready to play. They just played well enough to win.

The Packers will have to play much better than this (on defense and offense) if they want to get very far in the playoffs.

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

The Packers' victory prevented the Chicago Bears from wrapping up the NFC Central title. The Packers (11-4) can still win the division if they beat the New York Giants next week and the Bears lose to Jacksonville.

Spergon Wynn, who had just one completion in the first half, gave Minnesota a 13-10 lead in the fourth quarter on a 47-yard scoring pass to tight end Byron Chamberlain on third-and-10.

"It kind of energized our team," Chamberlain said. "But unfortunately they came back down and put it in the end zone. That's what championship-caliber teams do. They answer a score with a score."

Before that play, Wynn had just 16 yards passing. He finished 11-of-30 for 114 yards, with three interceptions.

Favre threw for 72 yards on the 79-yard drive, which was capped by Green's 4-yard run to give Green Bay a 17-13 lead with 6:28 remaining.

"I think they put together the best drive of the day," Vikings coach Dennis Green said. "They hit some passes and made a lot of plays and that's what Brett Favre does so extremely well. That was probably our worst defensive series of the day. The guys played a little too soft, weren't aggressive. But every pass Favre threw was on the money."

Bill Schroeder had receptions of 12 and 14 yards and Antonio Freeman caught passes of 7 and 19 yards. After a 3-yard run by Green, tight end Bubba Franks pulled down a 20-yard pass inside the 5-yard line, setting up the touchdown.

Favre said the only thing he changed on the drive was his luck.

"The one to Free, I thought I was throwing the ball out of bounds. It must have been a wonderful catch," Favre said. "The one I threw to Bubba, they had a great pass rush. I was on my back and didn't know he caught the ball."

Mike McKenzie sealed the victory when he stepped in front of Cris Carter and returned an interception 38 yards for his first career touchdown with 5:25 left.

Both offenses struggled in the cold on a clear day with winds of 15 mph.

Wynn's only completion in the first half was a 3-yarder to Randy Moss just before the two-minute warning.

The Packers gained just 16 yards on their first four possessions before putting together a seven-play, 70-yard touchdown drive aided by three Minnesota penalties to take the 7-3 halftime lead.

Driver scored on a 31-yard reverse after Favre leveled safety Orlando Thomas at the 25.

"That's the only way I know how to play," Favre said. "Give it up for the team."

The Vikings (5-10) made seven lineup changes, including four on defense, and they held Green to 31 yards rushing on 16 carries.

Michael Bennett ran 25 times for 104 yards for Minnesota, which gained 199 yards on the ground.

"Let them do that all they want," Packers safety Bhawoh Jue said. "Just keep Randy Moss out of the end zone. The more they run, the fewer times Moss gets his hands on the ball."

The Vikings won the toss and started the game with 11 straight hand-offs, something that apparently didn't sit well with Moss, who said something on the sideline to Green, who brushed him off and turned away.

Game notes
Moss and Carter combined for three catches for 21 yards. ... Green's long gain was 6 yards. ... Vikings CB Dale Carter left in the first half after pulling a hamstring. Also, FB Jim Kleinsasser (ankle) and wide receiver Chris Walsh (groin) got hurt.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Scoring Summary

FOURTH QUARTERMINGB
gbTD5:47Touchdown
Drive info: 1 plays, 29 yds, 0:00
1323
gb5:47
Drive info: 1 plays, 29 yds, 0:00
1324
THIRD QUARTERMINGB
minFG5:28Gary Anderson 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 4 plays, 32 yds, 1:54
67
FOURTH QUARTERMINGB
minTD10:34Touchdown
Drive info: 5 plays, 59 yds, 0:30
1210
SECOND QUARTERMINGB
minFG8:21Gary Anderson 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 5 plays, 43 yds, 1:42
30
FOURTH QUARTERMINGB
min10:34
Drive info: 5 plays, 59 yds, 0:30
1310
gbFG12:11Ryan Longwell 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 6 plays, 19 yds, 3:21
610
gbTD6:48Ahman Green, 4 yd run
Drive info: 7 plays, 79 yds, 3:45
1316
gb6:48
Drive info: 7 plays, 79 yds, 3:45
1317
SECOND QUARTERMINGB
gbTD3:47Donald Driver, 31 yd run
Drive info: 7 plays, 70 yds, 4:17
36
gb3:47
Drive info: 7 plays, 70 yds, 4:17
37