The Packers can pack for the offseason.
Green Bay's six-year run in the NFL playoffs ended yesterday, even though the Packers won their regular season finale with their highest scoring output in 16 years. "A lot of what-ifs," Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre said after the Packers defeated the visiting Arizona Cardinals, 49-24. Dorsey Levens ran for four touchdowns.
The Dallas Cowboys' 26-18 victory over the New York Giants gave the Cowboys the NFC's final wild card spot even though they, like the Packers, finished 8-8. Dallas beat Green Bay this season.
The six-year run that began in 1993 under former coach Mike Holmgren included two Super Bowl appearances and a world title.
ESPN and WFRV-TV, the CBS affiliate in Green Bay, reported that Packers Coach Ray Rhodes and his staff were fired last night. Phone calls by the Associated Press to team president Bob Harlan and General Manager Ron Wolf were not returned.
BILLS 31, COLTS 6: Buffalo reserve quarterback Rob Johnson (287 passing yards) gave Doug Flutie a day off and gave Indianapolis a headache in a 31-6 rout in Orchard Park, N.Y.
Johnson cut through the AFC East champion Colts as if they were an expansion team and snapped their 11-game winning streak.
EAGLES 38, RAMS 31: Kurt Warner and Marshall Faulk reached statistical milestones, then watched the Rams close out a remarkable season with a surprising loss.
The Eagles (5-11) forced seven turnovers for the second straight game and ended visiting St. Louis's seven-game winning streak.
Warner joined Dan Marino as the only quarterbacks in NFL history with 40 touchdown passes in a season and Faulk broke Barry Sanders's total yardage record. However, the Rams (13-3) failed to earn the franchise's first 14-win season and go to the playoffs on a flat note.
Faulk came out in the second quarter after rushing for 79 yards and a touchdown and catching three passes for 27 yards and a touchdown. He finished the season with an NFL-record 2,429 yards from scrimmage, passing Sanders's mark of 2,358 set in 1997.
PANTHERS 45, SAINTS 13: A 32-point victory was too little, too late for host Carolina. Steve Beuerlein threw a team-record five touchdown passes and Michael Bates returned a kickoff 95 yards for a score in the easy win.
Carolina (8-8) won six of its last nine games but came short of qualifying for a wild card berth. The Panthers had to win by 18 points more than Green Bay's winning margin over Arizona. The Packers won by 25 points, meaning the Panthers needed to win by 43.
TITANS 47, STEELERS 36: Tennessee scored 17 points in barely a minute of the second quarter with Steve McNair and Eddie George already out, then wrapped up the franchise's best season by routing host Pittsburgh (6-10). Tennessee is the first 13-3 team since divisional play began in 1970 not to win its division.
CHARGERS 12, BRONCOS 6: Even without their starting quarterback and their best defensive player, visiting San Diego was too much for Denver. Chargers rookie Jermaine Fazande ran for 183 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Jim Harbaugh left early in the third quarter with a strained left hip and linebacker Junior Seau did not play because of a strained stomach muscle.