8:00 PM ET, December 21, 2006
Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- It might have been Brett Favre's final fling at Lambeau Field, and it wasn't pretty.
But after nearly throwing the game away, Favre helped the Green Bay Packers pull out yet another come-from-behind victory.
Favre became the first NFL player to throw 5,000 completions -- and number 5,000 came on his final pass of the night. It came on third-and-17 from the Vikings' 34-yard line with two minutes left in the fourth quarter, and while it was a long-gainer to Ahman Green that was shortened due to a holding penalty, it was enough to move the Packers into field-goal range. Two plays later, Dave Rayner's 44-yard field goal provided the winning points in Green Bay's 9-7 victory.That marked the 33rd time that Favre has led a game-winning drive in the fourth quarter or overtime, the highest total among active players. The breakdown: 25 of them have come in Wisconsin, 21 at Lambeau Field, and 11 in the month of December.
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Packers kicker Dave Rayner, who had missed two field goals earlier in the game, hit a 44-yarder with 1:34 remaining. "It was probably the most nervous I had ever been in my entire life, but it worked out," Rayner said.
It was the 36th game-winning comeback for Favre, who has not yet announced whether he will play next season and did not speak with reporters following the game.He held the ball aloft after the final gun, and hugged a couple of former teammates now with the Vikings, safety Darren Sharper and kicker Ryan Longwell. He also saluted his family in a Lambeau skybox, along with the fans surrounding the tunnel to the locker room.
"I'm hoping he comes back and I get more opportunities [for interceptions]," said Sharper, who picked off Favre's next pass after the TD return. "Talking to him after the game, he looked like he didn't know either."
Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy said he talked with the three-time MVP before the game -- and as far as McCarthy is concerned, Favre is still under contract. "We're going to take the time and talk about it after the season," he said.
For now, the quarterback helped the Packers (7-8) keep their faint playoff hopes alive.
"I'm trying to stay away from that 'p-word,"' McCarthy said.
The Vikings (6-9) managed only three first downs all game, the lowest total in a game in team history.
"You can't have 9 out of 13 series go three and out and beat anybody," Vikings coach Brad Childress said.
But it didn't seem to matter after cornerback Fred Smoot returned Favre's pass 47 yards for a touchdown late in the third quarter, giving Minnesota a 7-6 lead.
Favre looked down the left sideline for rookie receiver Greg Jennings, but threw the ball directly into Smoot's hands as Jennings continued running down the field. Smoot tried to celebrate by doing a "Lambeau Leap" into the stands but was pushed back onto the field by fans.
"When Smoot took his TD back to score, I thought we had the game right there," Sharper said.
|Most Wins as a Starting QB|
Favre rallied the Packers for a potential go-ahead drive early in the fourth, but tight end Bubba Franks fumbled near the goal line -- the third time in the game the Packers drove deep into Vikings territory but came away empty-handed.Favre drove the Packers right back into Vikings territory in the final three minutes with a 36-yard pass to wide receiver Ruvell Martin. The drive stalled on Packers penalties on back-to-back plays before Rayner delivered the winning kick.
"I just think it shows [Rayner's] resiliency," McCarthy said. "I had full confidence he would make that kick."
Favre finished the game 26-for-50 for 285 yards with the two interceptions. He didn't throw a touchdown for the second straight game, meaning he still needs eight more TD passes to break Dan Marino's career record of 420.
Favre won ugly for the second week in a row -- he threw three interceptions in a victory over Detroit on Sunday -- but he certainly outperformed Vikings rookie Tarvaris Jackson, who was making the first start of his career.
|Most Career TD Passes Against One Opponent|
Childress said he would stick with Jackson, even though "the numbers aren't going to bear out that he did anything of merit."
Despite the Vikings' shoddy offensive performance, it seemed like Green Bay might make enough mistakes to lose.
"When you have as many opportunities as we did in the red zone and only come away with three points, it's only a matter of time that momentum may go against you," McCarthy said.
But Green Bay did win, and Favre could wind up playing for more than another week this season.
"I'm hoping that he comes back, but you never know," Packers' wide receiver Donald Driver said. "We're all going to sit back and wait."
Mark Tauscher started at right tackle for Green Bay after missing five straight games with a groin injury. ... Driver briefly went to the locker room with a shoulder injury, but returned. ... Vikings punter Chris Kluwe sustained a hamstring injury.
Team Stat Comparison
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
|Yards per play||2.3||4.2|
Yards per pass
Yards per rush
|FG||5:51||Dave Rayner 38 Yd |
Drive: 9 plays, 44 yds, 3:42
|FG||15:00||Dave Rayner 44 Yd |
Drive: 5 plays, 19 yds, 1:14
|TD||9:50||Fred Smoot 47 Yd Interception Return (Ryan Longwell Kick)||7||6|
|FG||13:26||Dave Rayner 44 Yd |
Drive: 7 plays, 41 yds, 3:13