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SUNDAY BILLBOARD

Big Picture: - Mercifully, the Bills' season is over. We don't have to watch any more turnovers, penalties, overthrows, underthrows, missed blocks, blown assignments, and everything else that helped assure the team would be home for the holidays for the second time in four seasons ... at least not until their first exhibition game next summer. The Packers had nothing to play for, either. But they managed to extend their Lambeau Field winning streak to 23 games, the second-longest home winning streak in NFL history, and have a couple of weeks to rest up for a run at back-to-back Super Bowl championships. Play of the Game: - It wasn't going to take much for the Packers to seize control of the game early. And they were able to do exactly that when a 47-yard Craig Hentrich punt bounced off of Ray Jackson's back and was recovered by Tyrone Davis in the end zone for a touchdown with only 1:37 expired. Player of the Game: - Brett Favre, shooting for his third consecutive NFL Most Valuable Player award, completed 12 of 18 passes for 156 yards and two touchdowns before letting Steve Bono take the second half. Hit of the Season: - On a fake punt, Chris Mohr completed a 29-yard pass to Lonnie Johnson. For some reason, Johnson was looking back and never saw Darren Sharper come flying in to absolutely lambaste him head-on. Johnson fumbled, but Marlo Perry recovered at the Green Bay 25 and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the Packers moved the ball to the 12, helping to set up a Bills touchdown. Johnson was down for a while, but was OK. Hit of the Day: - Phil Hansen nailed Favre on the second play from scrimmage to force an incomplete pass. Favre was down for 30 seconds. Unfortunately for the Bills, he remained in the game for the rest of the half. Miss of the Day: - Three Bills had Brett Favre dead in their sights on a rollout play in the second quarter. Hansen got a hand on him, but Favre ducked away. Then, Sean Moran and Marcellus Wiley came flying in. Favre did his matador impersonation, they both missed, and he threw an 8-yard pass to Mark Chmura. Welcome Home: - At Marv Levy's request, ex- Packer Bryce Paup was the last Bill introduced over the public address system before the game. He received a nice ovation. Fans even hung a large "Welcome Home Bryce" sign on the wall surrounding the field. Considering that Paup becomes an unrestricted free agent in February and the Packers will have a need at outside linebacker, that sign could be prophetic. Unsung Hero: - At least Quinn Early came to play, catching seven passes for a season-high 120 yards. Grass stains: - The Bills have lost 11 games in a row on grass. The Packers have won 16 straight on the real stuff, including playoffs. Quote of the Day: - "I guess the offense and the special teams can take the blame for the entire season, the way we played." -- running back Thurman Thomas. Best sign: - "another oNe Bites the Cheese." Keystone Kops Award: - There were plenty that could have been handed out, but the most deserving recipients were Johnson and Darick Holmes. On third-and-20 late in the fourth quarter, Johnson ran a 4-yard in pattern and Holmes ran a 4-yard out pattern ... and they collided. Maybe Johnson was still a little groggy from the Sharper blast. Game Balls: - The Packers don't routinely give them out, so we'll do it for them. Favre, Reggie White and Gabe Wilkins for getting great pressure, and Sharper for his hit on Johnson and 20-yard interception return for a touchdown. Reggie vs. Bruce: - White helped put a little more distance into his lead over Bruce Smith on the NFL's all-time sack list with one Saturday to boost his career total to 176 1/2 . Smith was shut out against the Pack, leaving him a distant second at 154. Smith had no sacks in the final three games. Zebra Report: - There were numerous questionable calls both ways. The NFL clearly assigned one of its lower-rated crews to what it accurately anticipated would be a dog of a game. Coming Attractions: - Owner Ralph Wilson and general manager John Butler have promised aggressive changes in the offseason, especially on offense. Stay tuned!

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