Favre sends Atlanta packing

American football
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The Independent Online
American football

Brett Favre threw for 199 yards and three touchdowns and Edgar Bennett ran for a Green Bay playoff record to lead the Packers to a 37-20 victory over the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC wild card game yesterday.

Bennett rushed for 108 yards on 24 carries, bettering by three yards the old record shared by the Packer legends Jim Taylor and Paul Hornung.

"We usually win when Brett plays well but today Bennett rushed the ball and made it a lot easier for Brett," the Green Bay coach, Paul Holmgren, said.

The Packers will face the defending Super Bowl champion, the 49ers, on Saturday in San Francisco. "Playing the Niners puts a gleam in my eye," said Holmgren, a former San Francisco assistant coach. "It's the first time I'll go back against them."

With the win, Green Bay remained undefeated in the seven playoff games they have played at Lambeau Field. The Packers have won 17 of their last 18 games at Lambeau.

The Miami Dolphins failed to stop the Buffalo Bills' running game in Saturday's AFC wild-card game, losing 37-22. The Detroit Lions failed to stop anything the Philadelphia Eagles did in the NFC's equivalent and were humiliated 58-37.

At a cold Rich Stadium, the Bills quickly established their ground game and jumped to a 24-0 lead before half-time. Thurman Thomas led a punishing Buffalo ground attack with 158 yards and a touchdown as Buffalo rushed for an AFC play-off record 341 yards.

Thomas opened the scoring after five minutes and had his second most productive play-off game ever. Darick Holmes also joined in the punishment of the slack defense with a touchdown of 21 yards in the second quarter to put Buffalo 17-0 up, Steve Tasker made it 24-0 when he hauled in a 37-yard strike from Jim Kelly.

The Bills meet the Steelers in an AFC divisional play-off game in Pittsburgh on Sunday.

Also at home, the Eagles ran riot in the second quarter with 31 unanswered points to end that contest early as well. It brought a sudden end to the Lions' seven-match unbeaten run in the highest scoring game in play-off history.

Detroit's Scott Mitchell threw four interceptions (his replacement, Don Majkowski, threw a couple more) as the high-powered offense that was ranked No 1 in the regular season, self-imploded. Two interceptions were returned for touchdowns, one by Barry Wilburn off Mitchell, the other by William Thomas off Majkowski.