Favre shakes off boos, Vikings beat Packers 38-26
For the second time in less than a month, Brett Favre sliced up his former team and stuck it to the franchise that cast him aside as the Minnesota Vikings beat the Green Bay Packers 38-26 at Lambeau Field on Sunday.
If walking out to waves of loud jeers from his former fans threw Favre off his game, it didn't last long. Despite being jeered repeatedly by Packers fans who once cheered his every move, Favre completed 17 of 28 passes for 244 yards and four touchdowns. The Vikings (7-1) took a firm hold on the NFC North standings.
Rookie receiver Percy Harvin caught five passes for 84 yards and a touchdown and had five returns for 175 yards.
The Vikings' defense roughed up Favre's successor, Aaron Rodgers, sacking him six times. But with the Packers (4-3) on the verge of getting routed, Rodgers rebounded with three second-half touchdowns.
Already leading 17-3 at halftime, Favre temporarily reverted from game manager to gunslinger on the Vikings' first possession of the second half — and even that worked. Favre threw into triple coverage under pressure and Harvin came down with the ball while Charles Woodson, Atari Bigby and Nick Collins tumbled to the ground like extras in a slapstick comedy as the Vikings took a 24-3 lead.
Rodgers answered by driving the Packers for a field goal, then Green Bay turned a fumbled kickoff into a 16-yard touchdown pass from Rodgers to tight end Spencer Havner to cut Minnesota's lead to 24-13.
Green Bay forced a three-and-out, and Rodgers hit James Jones for a 42-yard gain to put the Packers in scoring position again. Facing third-and-4 at the Vikings 5, Rodgers rolled right and threw another touchdown to Havner — a converted linebacker who made the transition to tight end in training camp.
Harvin answered with a 44-yard kickoff return to the Green Bay 38, Favre hit Harvin for a third-down conversion, and a face mask penalty on Green Bay's B.J. Raji gave the Vikings first-and-goal at the 9. Later facing third down at the 2, Favre rolled right and threw to wide open tight end Jeff Dugan to put the Vikings up 31-20 early in the fourth quarter.
But Rodgers wasn't finished, scrambling for 35 yards to set up a 10-yard touchdown pass to Greg Jennings. After a failed 2-point conversion attempt, the Packers trailed 31-26 with 10:26 remaining.
Green Bay's defense finally put some pressure on Favre to force a punt, giving the ball back to the Packers with 8:13 remaining. After a 13-yard catch and run by fullback John Kuhn, Rodgers picked up a botched snap, threw complete to Donald Driver and picked up a roughing penalty on Ray Edwards to advance the ball to the Vikings 35.
But the drive stalled, and Mason Crosby missed a 51-yard field goal attempt.
Favre threw a screen pass to Peterson, who took it 44 yards down the left sideline to the Green Bay 15. With the Vikings facing third-and-11, Favre threaded a ball through the Green Bay secondary for a touchdown to Bernard Berrian — his fourth touchdown pass of the game.
Favre left the field surrounded by cameras, pumping his fist to a mix of cheers and boos as he jogged down the tunnel. He hugged cornerback Al Harris, Driver and Jennings.
Despite the final score, it was an awkward homecoming for Favre, whose high-profile standoff with the front office split the loyalties of Packers fans last summer.
There weren't many signs of a split on Sunday.
Fans booed Favre loudly — first when he walked out of the tunnel for pregame warmups, then again when he ran out of the tunnel for the game, and on every snap during the Vikings' first few offensive possessions.
"Welcome back to Lambeau Field, Brent," one fan's sign read.
And Favre got off to a shaky start, though it didn't cost the Vikings as dearly as it could have.
After the Vikings punted, Favre began his second series by stepping up to the line to call an audible — then unexpectedly taking the snap from center off his leg for a fumble.
The Packers recovered at the Minnesota 21, but had to settle for a 37-yard field goal by Crosby and a 3-0 lead.
Harvin responded with a 77-yard kickoff return, but the Packers appeared to stop the Vikings at the 9 — until Green Bay defensive lineman Johnny Jolly was called for a head-butt, the latest silly mistake in a season's worth of breakdowns for the penalty-plagued Packers.
Facing fourth-and-goal at the 1, Peterson went over the top for a 7-3 lead. After a stop by the Minnesota defense, the Vikings got a long punt return by Jaymar Johnson — then Favre went back to work.
Favre went 5-for-5 on a seven-play scoring drive, capping it with a 12-yard touchdown to tight end Visanthe Shiancoe. Ryan Longwell added a 41-yard field goal for a 17-3 halftime lead.
The Packers' offense had only 47 net yards of offense in the first half as Rodgers was sacked four times.