American Football: Packers claim NFL divisional crown
MINNEAPOLIS (Minnesota): Ryan Longwell kicked a 29-yard field goal as time expired here Friday to give Green Bay a 34-31 National Football League victory over Minnesota and a third consecutive division title.
The Packers, who had already clinched an American football playoff berth, improved to 9-6 to clinch the NFC North division crown. The Vikings fell to 8-7 but still have the inside track for a wild-card playoff spot. Brett Favre completed 30-of-43 passes for 365 yards and three touchdowns to spark the Packers. The Christmas Eve game turned out to be almost an instant replay of last month’s meeting at Lambeau Field, when Longwell booted a 33-yard field goal on the last play to give the Packers a triumph by the identical final score.
“Ryan is our Mr. Dependable,” Packers coach Mike Sherman said. The total combined yardage for both clubs, 868 yards, was only 10 more than they produced a month ago, although the game was played inside the cozy confines of the Metrodome rather than the chilly climate of Green Bay. Favre has sparked Green Bay to the playoffs for the 10th time in his 13-year career after the Packers began the season a miserable 1-4. “At 1-4 I don’t think anybody thought we would make the playoffs, much less win the division,” Favre said. afp