GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP)—Green Bay had two 100-yard rushers and Brett Favre did his first “Lambeau Leap” on Sunday. Both were signs that things are perhaps starting to turn around for the Packers.
Or maybe the Arizona Cardinals are just that bad.
Ahman Green and backup running back Vernand Morency combined for 207 yards rushing and Green added two first-half touchdowns as the Packers (3-4) won 31-14 for their first home victory under first-year coach Mike McCarthy. The Packers have won two straight after losing four of their first five, including three at Lambeau.
“It’s just two wins,” Favre said. “It’s our first win at home. But in our situation right now, we’ll take them any way we can get them.”
At this point, so would Arizona.
The Cardinals (1-7) came into this year with playoff expectations, but have lost seven straight since opening the season at their new stadium with a victory over San Francisco—a losing streak that’s likely to stoke speculation that Dennis Green will be fired before the end of the year.
“I’ll be into work tomorrow,” Green said.
Arizona has a bye next weekend.
The Packers sacked rookie quarterback Matt Leinart four times and held him to 61 yards passing in the first half. Leinart, the No. 10 overall pick in the draft, finished with 157 yards passing and a touchdown, but is 0-4 as an NFL starter.
Packers cornerback Charles Woodson intercepted Leinart near the end of the game.
“I think any quarterback gets discouraged if you don’t have protection, if you don’t catch the ball,” Green said.
Leinart said the speculation about Green’s coaching future isn’t affecting the team.
“We come to practice every day,” Leinart said. “We come out here. We play hard. It’s just tough losing like this.”
Safety Robert Griffith said he loves Green “like a father,” but said the losing doesn’t just wear on the coach.
“It’s wearing on everybody,” Griffith said. “He’s not the only guy it’s wearing on. This is my 14th year doing this. You think I want to go 1-7? It’s just frustrating and wearing on everybody.”
The Cardinals continued to give the ball to running back Edgerrin James, with disappointing results. James rushed 24 times for 84 yards as the Cardinals’ offensive line continued to have a hard time opening holes.
“I just don’t have anything to say,” James said.
James had a rushing touchdown near the end of the first half, but the Cardinals went to halftime trailing 21-7.
The Packers’ first possession ended with a botched fake field-goal attempt, but they scored on their next three drives to take a 21-0 lead.
Favre threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end David Martin in the first quarter, and Green added touchdown runs of 4 and 2 yards in the second quarter.
Favre was 17-of-25 for 180 yards, and added a touchdown run on the Packers’ first possession of the third quarter—his first since a Dec. 3, 2001, game at Jacksonville.
Favre froze a defender with a pump fake and dived into the end zone, then did the traditional celebratory jump into the stands. He said it was the first time he’d done a Lambeau Leap, and it probably would be his last.
“I should have found a lower spot,” Favre said. “I’m not real savvy in the stands-jumping department.”
Favre ran back to the Packers bench celebrating with Green, who missed most of last season after rupturing his right quadriceps tendon in a game at Minnesota on Oct. 23.
Green returned to Green Bay on a 1-year contract, but struggled with fumbles early in the year and missed two games with a hamstring injury before returning with a 70-yard touchdown run in a victory at Miami last Sunday.
Green had 106 yards rushing Sunday, and Morency had 101—the first time the Packers have had two 100-yard rushers in a game since a Dec. 1, 1985, victory over Tampa Bay at Lambeau.
“It takes me back to my days when I was playing football at Nebraska, with the Cornhuskers,” Green said. “That’s what we did on a daily basis. To do it here on this level, it’s a real big thing.”
And speaking of leaps, here’s another—this one of faith—from wide receiver Donald Driver.
“It’s not over,” Driver said. “We’re still in the hunt. I think a lot of people kind of ruled us out. But the Pack is back.”
You’ll find no such optimism in Arizona.
“We have guys in here that are great athletes,” wide receiver Anquan Boldin said. “Honestly, this is the most talented team I’ve been on since I’ve been in the NFL. It’s just ridiculous that we’re 1-7.”
McCarthy said the Packers were waiting for X-ray results on Martin, who injured his jaw. McCarthy also didn’t know the severity of an elbow injury to fullback Brandon Miree. … McCarthy blamed himself for the first-quarter fake field goal. “It’s a bad call by me, frankly,” he said. … Green scored his 51st touchdown rushing as a Packer, surpassing Paul Hornung for second in team history. Jim Taylor is the team’s all-time record holder with 81.
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- Carolina's Ron Rivera wins Coach of Year for 2nd time