Originally created 11/05/02

Monday Night Football: Packers top Dolphins



GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Brett Favre had a much better return than Cris Carter.

Favre didn't seem bothered much by his sprained left knee as he guided Green Bay to a 24-10 victory over the Miami Dolphins on Monday night.

Favre, who was knocked out of his last start, extended his NFL record for consecutive regular season starts by a quarterback to 165. He overcame an early interception in the end zone to lead the Packers to their sixth straight victory.

The Packers, who have the NFL's best record at 7-1, also recorded four more takeaways to increase their league-leading total to 27 and held Miami running back Ricky Williams to 47 yards on 14 carries.

Favre was 16-of-25 for 187 yards with one touchdown pass. When he was replaced by backup Doug Pederson in the middle of a series in the fourth quarter, the crowd serenaded him with chants of "MVP! MVP! MVP!"

The Dolphins (5-3) had hoped Carter would provide a similar spark as he came out of retirement in hopes of helping them to a championship.

But Carter fumbled away his first reception, leading to Green Bay's first touchdown, and he was the intended target on an interception by Nate Wayne in the second half. He finished with three inconsequential catches for 31 yards.

Darren Sharper stepped in front of a pass by Ray Lucas and returned it 89 yards for a touchdown as the third quarter expired, giving Green Bay a 24-0 lead.

Olindo Mare kicked a 46-yard field goal in the fourth quarter and Miami finally got into the end zone on Lucas' 1-yard keeper with 1:31 left - the first TD in eight quarters against Green Bay's defense.

Ahman Green rushed 19 times for 72 yards and caught six passes for 71 yards. He accounted for all but 18 of the yards in the first half, when his 23-yard TD reception and 1-yard scoring run gave Green Bay a 14-0 halftime lead.

Lucas, starting for the injured Jay Fiedler, was replaced briefly by Sage Rosenfels when he sustained what was described as a "burner" on a hard hit by Vonnie Holliday late in the first half.

Favre threw an interception in the end zone on the Packers' first possession and nearly did it again in the second quarter before Green rumbled in from a yard out.

Favre rolled right and tried to force a fastball in traffic into Bubba Franks' hands, but Morlon Greenwood broke it up.

The score was set up by a fumble at midfield by Carter, who was playing for the first time since ending his retirement.

Favre sprained his left knee in the Packers' last game, Oct. 20 against Washington. Green Bay was idle last week and Favre returned to practice Wednesday, progressively increasing his workload all week.

The crowd at Lambeau Field gasped in the second quarter when former Packers special teams star Scott McGarrahan sacked Favre for an 11-yard loss. McGarrahan grabbed Favre by the ankles and twisted him down.

But Favre popped right up and jogged off the field as the punting team came on.

Favre's streak, which is 181 counting playoff games, is the longest by any active player at any position.

Ryan Longwell kicked a 27-yard field goal in the third quarter for a 17-0 lead following Donald Driver's 30-yard reception and Patrick Surtain's 15-yard face-mask foul on the play that put the Packers on the Dolphins 17.

Carter, who spent most of his 15 pro seasons in Minnesota, was working as an analyst for HBO's "Inside the NFL" when the Dolphins lured him back following a season-ending injury to starter Oronde Gadsden.

Entering the game, Carter trailed only Jerry Rice in career receptions (1,093) and touchdown catches (129).

Carter started after just two weeks of practice following his nine-month layoff and was clearly rusty.

On the first play of the second quarter, Carter caught an 11-yard pass but as he passed the first-down marker, Wayne stripped the ball and recovered it at the Green Bay 48.

Carter was the intended target in the third quarter when Tyrone Williams hit him as the ball arrived and Wayne grabbed the interception at midfield.

Favre improved to 32-0 at home when the temperature at kickoff is 34 or below. It was 30 on Monday night, more than 50 degrees colder than in Miami.

Favre looked impressive on the Packers' first drive, going 5-of-6 as he drove Green Bay to the Miami 4. He lofted a pass toward Javon Walker that cornerback Patrick Surtain intercepted in the end zone.

The ball went through Surtain's hands but bounced off his shoes and back to him for Favre's first interception in 87 attempts.

Both teams were coming off bye weeks, which helped them shore up injury-rattled rosters.

The Packers, who have been down as many as seven starters during their five-game winning streak, had everybody back, including Chad Clifton, Mike McKenzie, Sharper and Holliday.

Miami's Chris Chambers returned from a concussion he received on Oct. 13, but he was shut out until 2:23 remained.

Notes: Packers DT Cletidus Hunt injured his right knee with 5:45 left in the game and didn't return. ... The Dolphins are 9-2 against Green Bay, but the Packers are 12-2 against Miami coach Dave Wannstedt. ... The Packers won their league-best 19th straight game when leading at halftime, a streak that dates to their 28-20 loss at Miami on Oct. 29, 2000.