2003 IN REVIEW
With Lambeau Field's new renovation, the Packers celebrated their historic season in the first week of the season. However, the rededication was spoiled as the Packers
were beaten by the Minnesota Vikings 30-25. After rebounding with a big win over the Detroit Lions the following week, the Packers wilted in the desert heat losing to the
Arizona Cardinals 20-13, as the Packers struggled to a 3-4 start. Things could have gotten bleaker as Brett Favre suffered a broken thumb on his throwing hand. Ignoring the
pain, Favre continued to play and carried the Pack on his shoulders with a 30-27 win on the road over the Vikings. After a loss in the rain on Monday Night to the Philadelphia
Eagles, Favre led the Packers to a key win on the road against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, keeping their playoff hopes alive at 5-5. After splitting the next two games the
Packers were faced with winning the rest of the way or missing the playoffs. After winning the next two, Favre was dealt more pain as his father died of a sudden heart attack
the day before a key Monday Night road game against the Oakland Raiders. Not deterred by pain or heartache, Favre had one of the best games of his career, passing for 399
yards in an impressive 41-7 win. However, heading into the final game of the season the Packers needed to win and get some help to make the playoffs as NFC North
Champs after their Wild Card hopes were erased when the Cowboys lost to the New Orleans Saints. The Packers did their part easily beating the Denver Broncos 31-3, but
had to look on helplessly as the Vikings were beating the hapless Cardinals 17-6 late in the fourth Quarter. However, the fates smiled down upon Green Bay as the Cardinals
made a stirring comeback winning the game 18-17 on a miracle touchdown on the game's final play. The play was shown on the videoboard and Lambeau Field went nuts as
the Packers won the division with a 10-6 record. In the playoffs the Packers found themselves locked in a tight game with the Seattle Seahawks as the game went back and
forth and was tied 27-27 at the end of regulation. In overtime, Al Harris would be the hero, intercepting a pass from Matt Hasselbeck and returning in 52 yards for the game
winner. In the Divisional Round, the Packers got off to a fast start leading the Philadelphia Eagles 14-0 at the end of the first quarter. However, the Packer offense stalled as
the Eagles clawed their way back into the game tying it at 14 in the final Quarter. Green Bay responded and took the lead 17-14 on Ryan Longwell field goal with 4:38 left. The
Packers defense would have the Eagles in a hole needing just one more stop on a 4th and 26. The defense softened up for a moment allowing a miracle first down as the
Eagles tied the game and forced overtime. In overtime, Favre made an ill-advised pass which set up the Eagles for a chip shot game winning field goal as the Super Bowl
dreams ended with a heartbreaking 20-17 loss.
As long as Packers fans get together, the statement "Fourth-and-26" will mean only one thing. On January 11, 2004, the Packers appeared
poised to return to the Glory Days of the late 1990s when they traveled to Philadelphia. Leading 17-14 with 2:21 to play, the Packers had the
Eagles pinned back deep, but, in the end, Philadelphia would rally to tie the game, thanks, in large part, to one heave down the middle of the
Philadelphia at 2:21 GNB PHI
1st and 10 at PHI 20 - Duce Staley rushed for 22 yards.
1st and 10 at PHI 42 - 2 minute warning.
1st and 10 at PHI 42 - Donovan McNabb pass incomplete
2nd and 10 at PHI 42 - Donovan McNabb sacked for a loss of 16 yards.
3rd and 26 at PHI 26 - Donovan McNabb pass incomplete
4th and 26 at PHI 26 - Donovan McNabb pass complete to Freddie Mitchell for 28 yards.
1st and 10 at GNB 46 - 5 yard penalty on Green Bay.
1st and 5 at GNB 41 - Donovan McNabb pass complete to Freddie Mitchell for 9 yards.
1st and 10 at GNB 32 - Donovan McNabb pass incomplete
2nd and 10 at GNB 32 - Donovan McNabb rushed for 3 yards.
3rd and 7 at GNB 29 - Philly timeout; 00:25 remaining 4th quarter
3rd and 7 at GNB 29 - Donovan McNabb pass complete to Todd Pinkston for 10 yards.
1st and 10 at GNB 19 - Donovan McNabb pass incomplete
2nd and 10 at GNB 19 - Donovan McNabb pass incomplete
3rd and 10 at GNB 19 - Green Bay timeout; 00:10 remaining 4th quarter
3rd and 10 at GNB 19 - 37 yard field goal by David Akers is good.
DRIVE TOTALS: PHI 12 plays, 61 yards, 2:11 drive
The game went into overtime, where Eagles star safety Brian Dawkins was able to intercept a Packers pass and return it 35 yards, setting up
another Akers field goal try. The 31-yard kick was good, giving the Eagles a dramatic 20-17 victory in sudden death overtime. The play helped send the Eagles to their third straight NFC Championship Game. Packers defensive coordinator Ed Donatell was fired by the end of the week. Donatell had decided to play a four-across zone after three straight blitzes, but head coach Mike Sherman said that call was not the reason for the team's coaching changes. He said the changes stemmed from a season-long evaluation. Donatell said "as a football coach, I should win that situation every, single time. I learned something from it. He added: "I will adjust to this and maybe good things will happen. I think there is going to be an opportunity to coach some more guys. I am up for the next shot." Assistant Bob Slowik was named the new defensive coordinator, but he left for Denver after one season.