For better or worse

The good news is that Brett Favre's touchdown pass to Bubba Franks gave the quarterback 16 consecutive post-season games with a scoring strike, which is an NFL record.<P> The bad news is that Favre's lone TD pass was cancelled out by four interceptions.<p>

Favre's quartet of interceptions broke his streak of three playoff games without a multiple picks. The veteran quarterback did not throw an interception in either playoff vs. Seattle in the first-round last year, but had a costly pick in the overtime loss to Philadelphia in the second round. The previous season, he threw a lone pick that wasn't a major fact in a 27-7 loss to Atlanta at Lambeau on Jan. 4, 2003.

Sunday's troublesome triple isn't a record for Favre - in fact it accounts for only two-thirds of Favre's worst pick performance ever. In his last multi-pick game before the Vikings game, Favre suffered six interceptions in a 45-17 loss to St. Louis on Jan. 20, 2002.

The picks had a variety of causes. One was the result of a route not completed by an injured receiver. Another looked like a miscommunication. Two were passes that went awry, one due to pressure, the other underthrown.

"I like to think I'm a great quarterback, but even great quarterbacks have a bad day," Favre said. "I've had a lot of great games, but this wasn't one of them."

Coach Mike Sherman declined comment until he has a chance to review the tape, but acknowledged that the interceptions were part of the Packers' proclivity for undermining their own cause in the 31-17 loss Sunday.

"We just didn't give ourselves a chance," Sherman said. "Right from the beginning we made mistake after mistake. It was a bad day at the office." As painful as the picks were, the Packers probably could have benefited from another one. While a Vikings interception is never a good thing, the Packers actually suffered at the hands of the referees who took one away that would have ultimately resulted in a Green Bay first down in the red zone.

Late in the Viking-dominated first quarter, the Packers faced a third-and-long. Favre threw a pass intended for Javon Walker, but it was deflected by a Minnesota defender. The ball bounced off the defender's shoulder pads, then he alertly secured it and ran several steps before being tackled. He coughed up the ball when he was hit, and Marco Rivera recovered it. Officials judged the play an incomplete pass, and made coach Mike Sherman pick up his red replay flag, ruling the play unreviewable.

Favre's cross-field counterpart, Daunte Culpepper, enjoyed a better day and was gracious about the contrast.

"Well, I won't say I'm surprised," Culpepper said when asked about Favre's four-INT performance. "I guess I'm happy that our defense was able to step up and make a lot of plays against him.

"Brett Favre is a tremendous competitor. He's one of the biggest competitor in all of athletics," Culpepper said. "He gets the job done week in and week out. Luckily for us, we were able to do some things to stop him today."

Culpepper didn't mention it, but he continued his domination of the Packers - no matter what the outcome. He was the team's leading rusher, killed the Packers on third down, especially during the game-killing 8-minute drive, and opened the game with a 68-yard touchdown pass on the first possession is his post-season career high.

"He's a heck of a player, I've said that since the beginning of the year," Sherman said of the opposing QB. "He makes plays with his feet and his arm, and he did today."

Culpepper played a practically perfect game vs. the Pack for the fifth-consecutive time. He has gone five games without an interception, and has tallied 14 touchdowns in the streak which includes four regular-season and this post-season game.

On the ground, Culpepper was the Vikings leading rusher with 54 yards on six carries. No other Viking had more than 38 yards.


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