Originally created 01/14/02

Packers top 49ers, 25-15



GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Lambeau mystique lives on.

Brett Favre threw two touchdown passes as the Green Bay Packers stayed perfect at home in the playoffs with a 25-15 victory over San Francisco on Sunday.

The Packers (13-5), who advanced to face the St. Louis Rams next week, improved to 13-0 at home in playoff games. Favre improved to 31-0 in starts at Lambeau Field with the temperature 34 degrees or colder.

It was 28 degrees at kickoff Sunday, and Favre was 22-of-29 for 269 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.

Favre guided Green Bay on a 93-yard touchdown drive after Tyrone Williams' interception of a deflection by Mike McKenzie with five minutes left and the Packers clinging to an 18-15 lead.

Ahman Green capped the TD drive with a 9-yard run.

Corey Bradford stripped Paul Smith of the ball and recovered on the ensuing kickoff, and the Packers ran out the clock for their first playoff victory since the 1997 NFC championship at San Francisco.

The 49ers, who also returned to the playoffs after a two-year hiatus, finished 12-5.

For a time, the Niners made Packers coach Mike Sherman pay for his questionable decision to go for a 2-point conversion that failed with Green Bay ahead 15-7.

The Niners tied it at 15 on Tai Streets' 14-yard touchdown and his wide-open catch on the two-point conversion with 12 minutes left.

But Ryan Longwell, who had his first extra point blocked in the first quarter, kicked a 45-yard field goal with 7:02 left for an 18-15 lead.

On their next possession, the Niners drove from their 28 to the Green Bay 41.

Terrell Owens beat McKenzie off the line and was wide open down the sideline, but McKenzie closed in and knocked the ball away just as Owens was about to haul it in.

The ball caromed into Williams' hands at the 7.

The Packers, who surrendered an average of 170 yards rushing the last four weeks - all to nonplayoff teams - shored up their run defense with linebacker Nate Wayne (back) and nose tackle Gilbert Brown (foot) returning to health.

The 49ers ran for just 71 yards, and comeback player of the year Garrison Hearst finished with just 42 yards on 13 carries.

Favre hit fellow Pro Bowl selection Bubba Franks with a 19-yard touchdown pass with 3:26 left in the third quarter, one play after Bradford's 51-yard catch.

That made it 15-7, but instead of sending out Longwell, Sherman went for 2, and it failed when Donald Driver was tackled shy of the end zone after a reception.

That made it a one-possession game, and the 49ers quickly made Sherman pay for his questionable call when Jeff Garcia (22-of-32 for 233 yards) drove San Francisco 61 yards in six plays for the tying touchdown and two-point conversion.

Longwell kicked a 26-yard field goal for a 9-7 lead when Green Bay's opening drive of the second half stalled at the 8.

The 49ers took a 7-6 halftime lead when Hearst scored from the 2 with 11 seconds left in the half, capping a 15-play, 86-yard drive.

The drive was the 49ers' longest in the postseason since a 17-play drive against Dallas in the NFC championship game on Jan. 23, 1994.

In his first game since undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery after Thanksgiving, Allen Rossum returned a punt 35 yards, setting up Green Bay's 40-yard touchdown drive that Favre capped with a 5-yard toss to Antonio Freeman.

But Dana Stubblefield beat Chad Clifton to block Longwell's extra point.

The Packers returned the favor in the second quarter when Cletidus Hunt blocked a 34-yard field-goal attempt by Jose Cortez after Darren Sharper dumped Garcia for a 10-yard loss on a third-down safety blitz.

The Niners got the ball at the Green Bay 44 after Favre floated a pass to Tyrone Davis that was intercepted by Amhed Plummer, Favre's first pickoff in 115 passes.

Green finished with 86 yards on 21 rushes. Freeman caught six passes for 84 yards.