Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Green Bay Uses Big Plays to Slap Pats

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Green Bay Uses Big Plays to Slap Pats

Article excerpt

NEW ORLEANS -- The 'Pack, at long, long last, is back.

The Green Bay Packers, one of the most storied teams of the

NFL's past and one of its most popular of the present, won their

first NFL Championship in 29 years last night, rolling over the

New England Patriots 35-21 in Super Bowl XXXI in front of 72,301

at the Louisiana Superdome.

"It's been a long road," said Packers quarterback Brett Favre,

a two-time NFL Most Valuable Player who completed 14-of-27

passes for 246 yards and two touchdowns, and also ran for a

touchdown. "But we're here."

Green Bay, which won Super Bowls I and II under Hall of Fame

coach Vince Lombardi, hadn't returned to the Super Bowl since

that run, in which they won five NFL titles in seven years. Last

night, they became the 13th consecutive NFC team to win the

Super Bowl.

"Coach Lombardi had a wonderful legacy to the rest of us,"

Packers coach Mike Holmgren said. "I hope we did our part, and I

hope we can do it for a long time to come."

A 14-point favorite, the Packers didn't turn it into the game

oddsmakers expected -- and the Packers-partisan,

Cheeseheadwearing crowd wanted -- until late, squandering a 10-0

first-quarter lead. They outscored the Patriots, however, 17-0

in the second quarter, and New England never cut the deficit to

less than six points again.

The Patriots, in perhaps coach Bill Parcells' final game with

the team, in fact played better at times than most expected.

They led 14-10 after quarterback Drew Bledsoe threw touchdown

passes on the final two drives of the first quarter.

Even in the second half, the Patriots stayed close.

Running back Curtis Martin pulled the Patriots to within 27-21

with an 18-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter.

The Packers, though, won 16 games, including the postseason,

because of the big play. Last night, they came in bunches.

"Super Bowls are won on the big play," said Bledsoe, who

completed 25-of-48 passes for 253 yards and two touchdowns, but

also was sacked five times and threw four interceptions. …

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