NFL.com wire reports
GREEN BAY, Wis. (Aug. 26, 2005) -- The New England
Patriots heeded their coach's advice to treat their trip to Green Bay as though this were November and not August.
"Every game is a regular-season game, anywhere, anyplace, any time. It
doesn't matter who, when, where, why, what," insisted Asante Samuel, whose early interception set the tone in the Patriots'
27-3 pasting of the Green Bay Packers on Friday night.
The Super Bowl champs sure look like they're in midseason form.
Tom Brady guided the Patriots on five scoring drives and Corey Dillon ran for two touchdowns, pleasing coach Bill Belichick,
who had admonished his players to view their first trip to Lambeau Field
in eight years as more than a mere exhibition.
The Packers, who turned the ball over four times, are just glad this one
"It doesn't matter because in November we're not going to be talking
about this," Green Bay center Mike Flanagan said. "But right now it
matters because there's evaluations to be made, we got progress to make,
we've got to get some continuity, timing, rhythm and all the things that
we need to do.
"So, it does and it doesn't matter."
The Packers had a forgettable first half that included numerous
breakdowns on special teams and eight accepted penalties. Brett Favre threw two interceptions -- a third was wiped out by a
flag -- and he lost receivers Javon Walker
(finger) and Antonio Chatman (neck) on the
Things only got worse when Ahman Green
fumbled the ball on the Packers' first snap after halftime.
Linebacker Chad Brown punched the ball
loose and Willie McGinest recovered
Green's third fumble of the preseason at the Packers 27, setting up
Dillon's second TD run, from 3 yards, to cap the scoring before the
Favre completed 9 of 21 passes for 69 yards and had a paltry passer
rating of 11.9 before giving way to rookie Aaron
Rodgers. The rookie's unimpressive training camp continued with
a showing of 5-for-9 for 52 yards with an interception while playing
with the first string for the first time.
Dillon gained 70 yards on 14 carries and Brady completed 12 of 21 passes
for 127 yards. He capped an impressive 77-yard drive with a 12-yard
touchdown toss to David Givens that made it 17-3 in the second quarter.
Corey Dillon scored on a pair of touchdowns for the Patriots.
Randall Gay intercepted Favre's pass into coverage with 1:21
left in the first half, leading to Adam Vinatieri
's 37-yard field goal that made it 20-3 at halftime. Vinatieri kicked a
44-yarder following Favre's first interception.
The Patriots needed just two minutes to get into the end zone after Ellis Hobbs returned the opening kickoff 43 yards and Earl Little's face-mask penalty tacked on 5 more yards. Dillon
covered the final 28 in three carries, the payoff coming on a 12-yard
cutback behind a key block by rookie lineman Logan Mankins.
The Packers committed three penalties on their first possession, which
ended with Favre throwing an interception on third-and-35 to Samuel, who
returned the pick 29 yards to the Green Bay 32.
"Penalties killed us there," Favre said. "Throwing the ball to the other
team isn't going to get it done either."
Samuel's second interception -- and 41-yard return to the Packers 17 --
was negated by linebacker Don Davis'
holding infraction, but it proved costly nonetheless. Chatman sprained
his neck on the play, and later in the series Walker dislocated the
middle finger on his right hand when he couldn't handle Favre's fastball.
The only points the Packers mustered came on Ryan
Longwell 's 26-yard field goal after a punt bounced off Tyrone Poole and into the arms of Green Bay gunner Chris Johnson inside the Patriots 10.
"It was like a circus because we kept shooting ourselves in the foot,"
Packers offensive lineman Mark Tauscher said. "But at least our wounds
were self-inflicted and we can clean those things up."
Belichick said it was a thrill to play at the Packers' storied stadium,
and keeping Green Bay out of the end zone made it all the sweeter: "I'm
just glad they didn't do the Lambeau leap today."
Notes: Chatman said he blacked out and had tingling in his arms
for several minutes, but insisted he'd be back at practice next week.
... Packers DE Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila
(neck) and S Nick Collins (thigh) also
got hurt. ... The only Patriots injury came when Givens had the wind
knocked out of him on his TD.