Favre's Magic Gets Picked Off

In perhaps his final game at Lambeau Field, Brett Favre almost stole a game he had given away. Instead, after a gimpy Favre had thrown three interceptions with a passer rating of just 50.4, the Vikings are staring at 2-4.

Three Brett Favre interceptions, including a pick-six.

Two apparent touchdown passes — including one to Percy Harvin with less than 1 minute remaining — overruled by instant replay.

And a second-quarter Aaron Rodgers-to-Andrew Quarless touchdown pass that could've been overruled — if Minnesota coach Brad Childress had bothered to challenge it.

Still, in the waning seconds of a game Minnesota trailed 28-24 to Green Bay, Favre was poised to snatch victory from the very jaws of defeat he helped place his team in, just as he had done so many times before.

So, even as Favre slipped to the ground on fourth-and-15 from the Green Bay 20-yard line with 28 seconds remaining, it was no surprise that the 41-year-old with the aching ankle and elbow tendonitis sprung back to his feet and scanned the end zone for an open receiver. In fact, it seemed like things were playing out in the dramatic fashion that they surely were written. But as Favre ran to his right and threw back across his body, he overshot Randy Moss at the back of the end zone.

"Falling down may have actually given me an opportunity," Favre said. "It was a dash left. It was a rollout to the left, and the way (Green Bay) rushed up the field, you couldn't get outside. So, I tried to put the brakes on, slipped and fell, and I'm just glad I gave us an opportunity by being able to throw the ball into the end zone. That's all it was.

"We had those legitimate shots. … I mean, the one to Percy, that could've easily gone our way. That's what you're looking for. It happens every week in the league, you take those shots. You won't make ‘em if you don't take ‘em, so we had an opportunity. We threw it in the end zone. We had a couple opportunities."

But now, all the Vikings have six games into the season is a couple of wins. At 2-4, they trail the Packers and Chicago Bears, who are tied atop the NFC North with 4-3 records. Still, this loss carries no more emotion than any other, according to Favre, who perhaps was playing in his final game at Lambeau Field.

"I can't say that I wanted to win this game any more than any of the other games," Favre said. "That's the way I play. Everyone else can make a big deal about coming back to Green Bay, but it was two teams that desperately needed a win and they won the game. I give them a lot of credit."

Favre bore little resemblance to the player who returned to Lambeau Field last year for the first time in something other than Green and Gold and shredded is former team for 244 yards and four touchdowns in a 38-26 mashing that included a chorus of boos for No. 4.

Through two quarters Sunday evening, Favre had completed just 6-of-11 passes for 70 yards — though none of those completions were made to the defense. In fact, it was Rodgers who had thrown two interceptions by halftime, including one to Vikings defensive end Jared Allen that was right to him. But neither of Rodgers' miscues would lead to Vikings scores.

Favre didn't get off so lightly. On the Vikings' first drive of the third quarter, Packers linebacker Brad Jones got through on a four-man rush and dove at Favre's ankles right as he released the ball. Instead of reaching Favre's intended target, Bernard Berrian, it ended up in the hands of linebacker A.J. Hawk, who returned it 21 yards to the Minnesota 41-yard line. Five plays later, Rodgers found Greg Jennings for a 14-yard score that gave Green Bay a 21-17 lead.

Not even a minute had ticked off the clock when Favre, gimpy after the hit by Jones, would connect with another Packers linebacker. This time, Desmond Bishop intercepted a pass intended for Randy Moss after Favre made an ill-advised toss with rookie defensive lineman C.J. Wilson bearing down on him. Bishop shot up the sideline for a 32-yard touchdown that pushed the lead to 28-17.

"You can't throw it to them," said Childress, who contemplated benching Favre at that point. "You need to play within the confines of our system. Sometimes it's OK to punt the football. You can't give seven points going the other way. Not in a game like this with a high-powered team.

"The one by Bishop, I have to look at that one to see where we were going with the football because I believe it was designed to go to the other side and I think Percy was standing there in big air. So, not sure why we were looking at the left-hand side."

Favre finished the night 16-of-29 for 212 yards with one touchdown to Moss, three interceptions and a passer rating of 50.4. Rodgers had two touchdowns to go with two picks on 21-of-34 passing for 295 yards and a rating of 84.8. The lone sack by either defense was a 6-yard takedown of Favre by Jarius Wynn on the final possession.

The 2010 NFC North title is far from decided, but things just got a little easier for Rodgers and the Packers, and a little harder for Favre and the Vikings.

"We're not out of it by any stretch," Favre said, with a trip to New England looming. "I think everyone in our locker room knows that, but we've got to get it fixed in a hurry. It doesn't get any easier. But once you start playing again, practicing, really, that makes it a little bit easier. Physically, you know, I would doubt seriously next week that I would be completely healthy, but if I can play and help the team win, I'd love to give it a shot."

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W. Keith Roerdink has covered the Packers since 1992. E-mail him at karoer@msn.com.

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