Packers exorcise ghost of Favre in win over Vikings : Packers Insider

Packers exorcise ghost of Favre in win over Vikings

October 26, 2010 by  
Filed under News

Minnesota Vikings receiver Percy Harvin catches an apparent game-winning touchdown pass late in the game, but the TD ruling was overturned on replay.

Oct 26, 2010 ~ by Bob McGinn of PackerInsider

~Lambeau Field — Brett Favre isn’t invincible after all wearing a Minnesota Vikings uniform at Lambeau Field. The Green Bay Packers aren’t finished, either.

What might have been Favre’s final game in the city he brought so much glory for 16 years turned into a personal nightmare Sunday night when the Packers intercepted him three times in the second half to post a thrilling 28-24 victory over their border rivals.

“Excellent character win,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “Definitely something we needed.”

A week ago, the Packers were 3-3, in second place in the NFC North Division and tied for the ninth best record in the NFC.

Today, they’re 4-3, tied for first in the division and deadlocked with four other teams for the fifth best record in the conference.

“It means the world,” running back John Kuhn said. “It shows we can match adversity and overcome it.

We finished a ball game. It might be the boost we needed.”The Packers snapped a three-game losing streak to the Vikings (2-4), who swept them last season with Favre wearing a purple uniform and performing magnificently in both games.

On this unseasonably warm night, Favre threw two careless interceptions in the third quarter and then was late down the middle on another pick early in the scoreless fourth quarter.

Desmond Bishop’s 32-yard return of an interception midway through the third quarter gave Green Bay a 28-17 lead, and an undermanned but dogged defense made it stand up.

“They fought their (expletive) off,” defensive coordinator Dom Capers said of a unit that was down to merely three linemen after Cullen Jenkins damaged a calf in warm-ups, and Ryan Pickett lasted just two series on a bum ankle.

“Our defense was really put into a tough spot,” McCarthy added. “I can’t say enough about our three young defensive linemen. They played huge.”

The victory ended a string of close losses for the Packers, elevating McCarthy’s record in games decided by four points or fewer to 5-13. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers pushed his mark in those games to 2-11.

“This week ‘coach’ (McCarthy) didn’t even mention it,” Pickett said, referring to Favre’s return to Green Bay. “But Brett beat us twice last year. I’m just happy for ‘A-Rod.’ I know it means a lot to him.”

Coach Brad Childress essentially tried to take the ball out of Favre’s hands, rushing 36 times for 196 yards compared with 30 dropbacks. But the game ultimately fell to the 41-year-old Favre after the running game had carried Minnesota to the Green Bay 48 at the two-minute warning.

A 26-yard pass to Adrian Peterson moved the Vikings to the 15, but then a false-start penalty on Visanthe Shiancoe and a hands-to-the-face penalty on tackle Phil Loadholt (against Clay Matthews) shoved them back to the 35.

On first down, a touchdown pass to Percy Harvin was overturned when a booth review showed that he had just one foot inbounds.

After a 15-yard check-down to Peterson, Favre threw high back across the field to Randy Moss. On fourth down, with the crowd of 71,107 standing and screaming as one, Favre slipped in the pocket, scrambled to his feet and hurled another end-zone pass to Moss that was over his head.

“When Harvin caught that ball my heart fell to my feet,” said Pickett. “We got a win against a team that handled us pretty good last year.”

Favre finished with a passer rating of merely 50.4. After outplaying Rodgers twice last season, Rodgers (84.8 rating) got some revenge.

“It means we’re 2-1 in the division,” said McCarthy. “This will come down to division games. You could see they (the Vikings) were starting to come on. We knew it’d be a grinder. Our guys came up big.”

The Packers played as well on offense in the first quarter as they have all season, piling up 200 yards in 14 plays. Minnesota defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier played almost the entire first half rushing four and keeping safeties Tyrell Johnson and Madieu Williams in a two-deep shell.

Given simple reads and more than ample protection, Rodgers had time to find open receivers and, for the most part, threw with top-notch accuracy.

A seven-play, 54-yard drive early in the first quarter ended when Rodgers tried to throw a screen pass to Dimitri Nance and defensive end Jared Allen leaped to make the interception at the 17.

“It was a good reaction by Allen,” general manager Ted Thompson said. “He’s not just a pass rusher. He’s a legitimate football player.”

The Vikings went three and out on their first two possessions against a Green Bay defense that was missing three starters.

It took the Packers just four plays to cover 76 yards and take a 7-0 lead on Brandon Jackson’s 1-yard run. Rodgers drilled a 24-yard dig route to Greg Jennings, and then James Jones took advantage of a slip by cornerback Chris Cook to turn a short slant into a 45-yard completion.

Harvin broke a kickoff return 48 yards before Tramon Williams, the safety on the coverage unit, got him down. After the Vikings converted a pair of third downs, Harvin took a handoff from Favre and burst up the middle 17 yards for a tying touchdown.

“Brett faked to the outside and put the ball in the guy’s hands that can run with it,” Thompson said. “He’s a dynamic player.”

Rodgers came right back, laying an exquisite touch pass on the fingertips of Jones for 32 and then flipping a screen to Jackson for 36. In the first half, Donald Lee turned two screens into 27 yards as coach Mike McCarthy effectively parried the Vikings’ rush.

Full story HERE

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