Favre vs. Manning: Believe the hype

Even in a loss, Brett Favre added to his legend.<p> The Favre-Peyton Manning matchup was hyped as a shootout between the elder statesmen and the younger gun. Sunday afternoon's clash lived up to that billing and then some. Favre, two weeks away from his 35th birthday matched Manning stride for stride. On the road. In a dome. On ancient Astroturf.<p>

Favre not only put up the numbers, he also provided the intangibles that we've come to accept as an ordinary day's work from this extraordinary player. He played his final series hurt because the Packers were still in it, down by just a TD. He put them there, rallying the team from an a seemingly insurmountable 35-17 halftime deficit.

"It was a real shoot-out between both teams," said Favre, meeting the press despite the hamstring injury suffered late in the game. "We knew it was going to be that way and it was on our minds on practice all week, especially playing in their place. "In the second half, in the huddle, I tried to tell our guys not to get down and that we had nothing to lose, so lets have fun," Favre said. And I told our receivers you're going to have plenty of balls thrown your way. I have to give them (Colts) credit, they played a heck of a game." Favre's first completion of the game, a 6-yard pass to Javon Walker, marked his 4,000th career completion. Only two other QBs, Dan Marino and John Elway, have reached that milestone. That was the first of 30 completions in 44 attempts Sunday with four touchdowns and no interceptions. His 358 passing yards gave him an even 50 career 300-yard games.

Over the years Favre has taken the rap for his dome performances. Sunday's air attack gave him 7 career TDs in just two games in the RCA Dome. That puts the Indianapolis site in a tie for No. 6 on the list of Favre's most prolific road venues.

The Canton-bound Favre is certainly no stranger to the spotlight, but this weekend the hype was taken up a few notches by the co-billing with Manning. The pair are the league's most durable quarterbacks, although to rank them No. 1 and 2 is somewhat of a disservice to Favre's ironman mark. Sunday marked Favre's 192nd consecutive start. Manning holds the second-longest current streak with 99.

"There's not much more you can say other than he has developed into a great player and he had a great game," Favre said of Manning.

Manning stayed a game ahead of Favre in the consecutive-TD race. Favre moved into a third-place tie with Dave Krieg with 28 consecutive games with a TD pass. Manning stayed a game ahead in second place.

Neither one wasted any time getting there. Within the first quarter, Favre threw two TDs to Javon Walker, one for 36 yards and another for 79 yards. Meanwhile, Manning threw 36, 34 and 28-yard TDs. When it was over, Favre had two more completions and owned the game's longest pass. Manning had 45 more yards, a fifth TD and, most importantly, the W.

"We just couldn't match them in the scoring category," Favre said.

Favre's impressive performance plus a missed field goal and fumbled reception say that didn't necessarily have to be the case.

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