Brett Favre ties Marino with 3 TD passes, Packers stay unbeaten with win over Chargers 31-24
Published 7:53 am Monday, September 24, 2007
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Brett Favre tied Dan Marino, rallied the Green Bay Packers to another victory and reminded anyone who would listen that he saw this coming.
Remember last year, when Favre was ridiculed after saying in training camp that this was the most talented group of young players he’d ever been around?
It doesn’t sound so flaky now.
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After Sunday’s 31-24 win over San Diego, the Packers are 3-0, and it’s the first time in franchise history all the wins came against playoff teams from the prior year.
“I try to tell people I’m always right, and no one wants to listen,” said Favre, who started his 240th consecutive game. “You know, I believe in this team, I do. I mean, every one of you guys looked at me like I was crazy.”
Favre equaled Marino’s NFL record for touchdown passes with No. 420. He went 28-of-35 for 369 yards and three touchdowns, recording his 49th 300-yard passing day and leading the Packers to victory after being tied or down in the fourth quarter for the 38th time.
“I believe I recognized the odds — you’re not always going to have success in that situation,” Favre said. “But I do know this, you can’t play scared, and you’ve got to be willing to take risks, you’ve got to be willing to roll the dice and I know that I’m willing to do that, and it works sometimes. Today it worked.”
Favre found Greg Jennings on a 57-yard TD pass with 2:03 to play to match Marino and give Green Bay a 24-21 lead. It came one series after the three-time MVP fired incomplete on a baffling fourth-and-goal pass from inside the 1.
The Chargers (1-2) couldn’t run out the clock when they took possession up 21-17. On third-and-3, the Chargers didn’t hand off to reigning MVP LaDainian Tomlinson, who finished with 62 yards rushing on 22 carries. Instead, Philip Rivers overthrew an open receiver and San Diego punted to set up Favre’s go-ahead drive.
“You’ve got be able to finish in the crucial situations and we didn’t do that,” Rivers said. “You convert that and they may not get it back, and if they do, they have one timeout and a long way to go.”
Tomlinson, Rivers and Antonio Gates, who finished with 11 catches for 113 yards, got into an animated discussion on the sidelines in the third quarter that they dismissed as competitive talk. But the frustration is building in San Diego, which at 1-2 has already lost as many games as it did all of last season.
“This isn’t where we expected to be. We expected to be 3-0 right now,” linebacker Shawne Merriman said. “There’s no way they should be scoring that many points against us. There’s no excuse for that.”
Favre spoiled what had been what may have been the best performance of Rivers’ young career. Rivers was 27-of-36 for 306 yards and three touchdown passes, but he threw an interception on the possession after the Packers took the lead.
“Philip did an awful lot of good things,” Chargers coach Norv Turner said. “I thought he played well.”
Green Bay scored moments after Nick Barnett’s interception, with Brandon Jackson going in from the 1 to make it 31-21 with 59 seconds left.
Last week, Favre led the Packers to a road victory over the New York Giants for his 149th win as a starter, passing John Elway’s career record. Favre started his quarterback-record 240th consecutive game on Sunday, tying him for second on the overall list with former Minnesota center Mick Tingelhoff.
“Every time he takes the field he’s adding another log on the fire on such a brilliant career that’ll continue to burn, hopefully for a while, but he’s a remarkable individual,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “He plays the game of football with such a passion. It’s no surprise that he’s breaking records and will continue to break them.”
Favre’s first two TD passes went to Donald Driver and Bubba Franks and gave Green Bay a 17-14 halftime lead.
Driver said he hopes he’ll catch the next scoring pass from Favre on Sunday in Minnesota, and that the Packers have proven they belong in the NFL’s elite with seven straight wins, including victories over Philadelphia, the Giants and San Diego.
“The Pack is back. Believe it or not,” Driver said.
Favre would prefer to hold off just a little bit.
“I think this team is capable of some great things, we’ve seen that up to this point, but it’s hard to maintain this level of play and the right attitude,” he said. “That’s what we have to be focused on.”