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Moss grabs nine for 150 yards

9/8/2003

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- Randy Moss sure knows how to spoil a
party.

Moss caught nine passes for 150 yards and a touchdown as the
Minnesota Vikings beat the Green Bay Packers 30-25 Sunday before a
record crowd of 70,505 at remodeled Lambeau Field, which was
rededicated at halftime.

Moss is glad the stadium was refurbished and not replaced
because it always brings out the best in him, starting with a
five-catch, 190-yard coming out party in 1998.

"I think since my rookie year, the excitement we had in the
locker room is something I'll never forget," Moss said. "And what
happened on the field I'll never forget. It's what drives me to
come here and do good."

The Packers stormed back from a 27-3 deficit but their comeback
was stifled by injuries to starting receivers Donald Driver (neck
strain) and Robert Ferguson (ankle, knee) and backup Karsten Bailey
(hamstring).

They were hurt one week after the Packers lost No. 4 wideout
Carl Ford (knee) for the season and tight end Wesley Walls to a
pulled hamstring.

In the closing minutes, the Packers were left to line up Arena
League star Antonio Chatman and tight end David Martin at receiver
with Javon Walker.

Driver went up for a high pass from Brett Favre and came down on
his neck with 8:40 remaining in the game. He was wheeled off on a
stretcher and taken to a hospital. Coach Mike Sherman said he had
movement in all his limbs.

X-rays and scans at Bellin Hospital were normal, Packers trainer
Pepper Burruss said. Driver was to be kept overnight for further
evaluation.

Later on the same drive, Ferguson limped off after a hard hit at
the goal line from Ken Irvin. He tore ligaments in his right ankle
and knee.

Walker's 24-yard touchdown catch pulled Green Bay to 30-25 with
1:55 remaining. But Ryan Longwell's onside kick went out of bounds,
and the Vikings took over thanks to a new NFL rule that doesn't
allow a rekick with less than five minutes left.

Minnesota ran out the clock, snapping a 12-game outdoor losing
skid.

Just minutes earlier, Longwell's onside kick was successful
after Ahman Green's 1-yard TD run cut it to 30-18. But Corey
Chavous picked off Favre for the second time.

Favre threw four interceptions, including three in the first
half as the Packers fell behind 20-3.

Without Bennett, will the Vikes get enough balance on offense?
If Randy Moss can continue to dominate like he did this week, the Vikings won't need much balance. Last season, they made the mistake of tipping their hand with the "Randy Ratio." This season, they're just going to do it without the fanfare.

How much will the injuries to Driver and Ferguson impact the Packers?
Losing Driver and Ferguson is a huge blow. Now running back Ahman Green will see more eight-man fronts and Favre won't have the receivers to bail the offense out.

Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders.

In contrast to last December, when the two got into a shouting
match, Favre and Chris Hovan hugged after the game.

"I was upset we lost the game, but I'm not going to a bad
sportsman," Favre said. "It was as ugly as it gets but it wasn't
anything Hovan did or Randy Moss or Daunte Culpepper, Mike Tice.
No.

"There's no sense in being bitter with those guys. It's a great
rivalry. I don't see why that should change. There's no ill
feelings here."

Culpepper threw three touchdown passes and the Vikings forced
four turnovers from the out-of-sync Packers in the first half.

The Packers, the only team in the league to go 8-0 at home
during the regular season last year, got their two injured Pro
Bowlers -- safety Darren Sharper and right guard Marco Rivera -- back
in the lineup, but neither stayed there very long.

Sharper was in for but a handful of plays, and Moss capitalized
on his absence. His 13-yard touchdown reception with Mike McKenzie
defending made it 27-3 in the third quarter and seemingly snuffed
Green Bay's chances of a comeback to cap the celebration of the
$295 million stadium makeover.

Moss had six catches for 87 yards in the first half, including
three receptions for 56 yards on a drive in which Sharper never saw
the field. Moss then served as a decoy on D'Wayne Bates' 2-yard TD
catch that capped the drive and made it 17-3.

Favre hadn't been picked off three times by halftime since Oct.
29, 1995 against Detroit. His third one came on first-and-goal in
the closing seconds of the first half as the Packers were trying to
trim a 17-3 deficit. Brian Williams returned the pick 77 yards,
setting up Eddie Johnson's 46-yard field goal with 4 seconds left
before halftime.

"As upset as I am and as this team is, we can do like we did in
the first half or we can play the rest of the season like we did in
the second half," Favre said.

Game notes
The Packers were outgained 196-2 in the first quarter, when
Favre was 2-for-6 for 1 yard and Green fumbled away his first carry
in 249 rushes. ... John Avery's 11-yard TD reception in the first
quarter was his first TD since 1998. ... Vikings CB Denard Walker
left in the second quarter with a mild concussion.

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