Originally created 01/05/03

Tundra thumping



GREEN BAY, Wis. - Michael Vick and the Atlanta Falcons were supposed to be frozen solid by the time they boarded their charter flight back home.

Instead, they defied the odds as no visiting team had done in the long and illustrious history of the Green Bay Packers.

The Falcons, who entered with three losses in their past four games, earned a trip to Philadelphia with a 27-7 NFC wild card victory Saturday night, but they were too busy playing in the snow at Lambeau Field to be thinking about anything beyond this glorious moment.

Here's what melted away in front of a national television audience and 65,358 fans, the largest crowd ever to attend a game Lambeau Field:

  • Green Bay was 11-0 at Lambeau - 13-0 overall - in home playoff games.
  • Packers quarterback Brett Favre, who one day will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, was 15-0 at Lambeau with temperatures 34 degrees and under.
  • Atlanta, which entered with a 12-25 record in games shown on prime time TV, became the first team since the 2001 Falcons, who left town with a 23-20 victory, to win in Green Bay.
  • More importantly, though, Atlanta (10-6-1) crushed the NFC North champions at their own game. The Packers led the NFL in turnovers, but the Falcons, who entered with 39 takeaways, forced and recovered three Green Bay turnovers and picked off Favre twice.

    So many teammates made contributions that Vick, Atlanta's 22-year-old quarterback, hardly had to carry the Falcons by himself.

    Mark Simoneau blocked a Green Bay punt that Artie Ulmer recovered in the end zone for his first career touchdown and a 14-0 first-quarter lead.

    George Layne recovered Eric Metcalf's muffed fair catch on a second-quarter punt return at the Packers' 21. Falcons rookie running back T.J. Duckett, nearly forgotten in the past month, ran for a 6-yard touchdown four plays later. Duckett had 43 of his 45 rushing yards in the first half.

    Shawn Jefferson gave the Falcons a 7-0 lead with a 10-yard touchdown catch on the opening drive. Atlanta had scored just once this season on its first possession, and that effort came on a Jay Feely field goal against Cincinnati.

    Keion Carpenter had two interceptions. Patrick Kerney and John Thierry each recovered fourth-quarter fumbles. Kerney and fellow defensive end Brady Smith each sacked Favre.

    Jay Feely kicked a 22-yard field goal at the end of the second quarter and added a 23-yarder in the third on the possession that followed Favre and Donald Driver accounting for Green Bay's only score, a 14-yard touchdown pass.

    As for Vick, whose 64 yards rushing shared the team lead with Warrick Dunn, he rediscovered his uncanny knack for making defenders miss. The NFL's No. 1 overall draft pick of 2001 was not sacked for the first time in five games, completed 13 of 25 passes for 117 yards.

    Vick also was not intercepted after throwing a total of six in the past five games. He completed a combined eight passes for 75 yards to Dunn and Brian Finneran.