Favre’s streak of precision a first for McCarthy

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Associated Press
November 24, 2007
— Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy couldn’t say Friday whether watching Brett Favre’s record-setting streak of completions was as good on videotape as it was seeing it unfold in person.

“I didn’t even think about it when I was watching the (game) film,” McCarthy said. “I was excited for Brett after the game, more excited for your offense because it shows the type of rhythm that you’re in. We talked about it in our overview of the film. But, when I was in it, I didn’t think anything of it.”

Favre completed 20 straight passes from the end of the second quarter to the beginning of the fourth quarter Thursday at Detroit.

He broke the team record of 18, accomplished by Lynn Dickey in 1983 and Don Majkowski six years later.

Favre’s 20-for-20 effort in a span of four Packers possessions amounted to 233 passing yards, to seven different receivers, and led to 20 points in Green Bay’s 37-26 win.

Favre threw for a season-high 381 yards and three touchdowns in the game, continuing a recent string of high efficiency by completing 31 of 41 passes.

In the Packers’ last five games, Favre has connected on 131 of 178 passes for a completion percentage of 73.6, with 1,641 yards, 13 touchdowns and only two interceptions. His completion percentage has been in the 70s each of those games.

“I don’t recall coaching a quarterback that’s had a run like Brett’s had in all my years,” said McCarthy, in his 15th year of coaching in the NFL. “He’s really in tune with the offense, as far as getting out of the different personnel groups, formations and has been very consistent of taking what the defense gives you. His decision-making has been outstanding. His ball accuracy has always been a strength of his. But, this is as good of run of a quarterback that I’ve been a part of.”

McCarthy has been on quite a roll as the play caller for the offense in the same five-game stretch.

The Packers produced 481 yards Thursday, second best to the 488 they accumulated Nov. 11 against Minnesota.

Green Bay is averaging 429.6 yards per game in the last five outings and scored 15 touchdowns on offense. The Packers have outscored the opposition 154-78.

“I feel good about it,” McCarthy said of his play calling. “I’m still critical week in and week out of a few things you always think you can do a better job of. The biggest thing with play calling is being on the same page as the quarterback and the rest of the offense. We’re hitting our stride, our rhythm for a large part of the games.

“The bottom line is the players are executing. You can talk about all the great plays you called, but it’s not about plays, it’s about players making plays.”

ROUSE A SAFETY NET: McCarthy said safety Nick Collins is close to getting back on the field after missing the last three games because of a sprained knee.

Once Collins is cleared to play again, which might happen as early as next Thursday for the battle of 10-1 NFC leaders at Dallas, the Packers could have a decision to make on who starts at the two safety positions.

Rookie Aaron Rouse has been a capable replacement for Collins at free safety. Rouse has an interception in each of the last two games.

He broke in front of Detroit rookie Calvin Johnson to pick off a pass at the start of the second quarter Thursday and returned it 34 yards to the Lions’ 11-yard line. That allowed a previously ineffective Packers offense to get on track with a Favre touchdown pass to Greg Jennings for a 7-6 lead that Green Bay didn’t relinquish.

“I think Aaron is clearly instinctive. There was a big play, in my view maybe the biggest play in the game because it gave the offense a chance to go down there and score,” McCarthy said. “We’re winning 7-6 and really didn’t do anything on offense to that point. I think that play there really turned things around.”

Rouse suffered a sprained knee later in the first half, however, and didn’t play for the majority of the second half.

McCarthy said a healthy Collins would regain his starting job. The starter at strong safety is Atari Bigby, who has been productive in run support but has been inconsistent in pass coverage.

“That’s something that we’ll take the week in practice,” McCarthy said of the starting assignments. “Those decisions, the baseline will be more medical than anything. For a production standpoint, Nick Collins is our starting safety and will be so as we move on. But, I’m very pleased with the way Aaron’s played.”

WILLIAMS GIVES CHASE: The Packers aren’t sure whether cornerback Charles Woodson will be able to play next week after he suffered a toe injury in the first quarter Thursday.

First-year player Tramon Williams could help fill the void as both a situational defensive back and on punt returns, which Woodson has handled most of the season.

Williams received high marks from the coaches Friday after he broke up two passes and had a touchdown-saving tackle from behind on a kickoff return by the Lions’ Aveion Cason.

“I thought he played very well. I thought he was competitive,” McCarthy said. “The kickoff-coverage play that he makes to save the touchdown is probably about as an impressive of a play that I’ve seen on special teams.”

Special teams coordinator Mike Stock couldn’t recall having a player chase down a kick returner in the manner Williams did Thursday. Williams sprinted to catch Cason along the sideline at the Packers’ 24-yard line.

“That was pretty impressive,” Stock said.

The Green Bay defense then held the Lions to a field goal.

Williams also was a special-teams standout in the previous game. He returned a pooch punt 94 yards for a touchdown in the Packers’ 31-17 win over Carolina on Sunday.

NOTES: The players were given Friday and Saturday off. The coaches will use Saturday to plan for the matchup against the Cowboys on Thursday. The team will return to practice Sunday morning. ... LB Tracy White aggravated a sprained ankle in the last game. ... DT Justin Harrell, the team’s first-round draft pick this year, likely will be activated next week for only the third game. The Packers will be without tackles Johnny Jolly (shoulder) and Colin Cole (fractured forearm) for at least a game. ... McCarthy said TE Bubba Franks and CB Will Blackmon are close to returning after being out for an extended period.

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