It was boring, but it was a win

While Brett Favre had another rough night, the Packers have won three straight games to stay in the NFC playoff chase. Will the team's late-season turnaround sway Brett Favre as he ponders his future?

It's times like this when you turn to someone like me, a professional sports writer, to sum up a football game.

So — and this is especially true for those of you left out in the cold by the NFL Network and/or your local cable carrier — let me use my abilities as a master wordsmith to succinctly summarize Thursday's knockdown, dragout victory over the Minnesota Vikings.



A real yawn fest.

A snoozer.


Ho hum.



Thursday's game made Sunday's dud against Detroit seem like the most exciting thing since Ben Franklin decided to fly a kite during a thunderstorm. It made televised Scrabble look exciting.

How about some more incompletions and dropped passes? Is that first half over yet?

But a win is a win. That's especially true in the NFC, where being mediocre gets you a first-round playoff game at home and being merely bad, like the Packers, keeps you in the playoff chase while only teams that are really bad, like the Vikings, get to plan their offseason boat parties.

And speaking of boat parties (warning: tasteless joke alert), I don't think the Vikings' offense could have scored if the game were played on the Love Boat.

We are now 15 games through this season, and do we really have the foggiest idea about this team?

The Packers have played lights-out defense the last two games. Is this: A) actual progress by a unit that not long ago ranked 32nd in the 32-team NFL and wasn't playing up to its talent level? Or is it: B) the case of the Packers' stinky defense running up against a couple of rancid offenses?

If you're Brett Favre and you're reading this (and if you are Brett Favre: Hi! Sorry about that retirement column a few days ago. Could you give me the exclusive when you make your decision about 2007 sometime in March or April?), do you think it's A or B?

If you think it's A, then you have to come back for next season, don't you? The Packers are 7-8. They should have won at Buffalo. With even a little defense, they would have beaten New Orleans back in September. All of a sudden, you're 9-6 and have a playoff spot locked up.

Then again, the way Favre is playing, maybe this is his last hurrah. He hasn't thrown a touchdown pass in the last two games while throwing five interceptions. Since torching Minnesota at the Metrodome on Nov. 12, he's had passer ratings of 50.1, 58.3, 53.0, 111.5, 32.9 and 52.5, with a combined four touchdown passes and 10 interceptions.

Not good. If this were anyone other than Favre, the fans would be howling for Ingle Martin.

But at least he was better than Tarvaris Jackson, who couldn't have completed a pass downfield if Ahmad Carroll were still on the roster.

Favre completed one pass downfield, and it turned out to be the big play. By leading the Packers to a last-minute field goal, Favre earned his 36th come-from-behind victory of his career. It seems like eons since his last one, but it was only 53 weeks ago, a 16-13 win against Detroit.

And now, it will be eons before we get a decision from Favre.

He has a lot to wade through.

He's now closer to the interception record (five shy of George Blanda's 277) than the touchdown record (seven shy of Dan Marino's 420). For the second consecutive year, he's finished horribly (he threw one TD pass and 11 INTs in the last five games of last season). There isn't enough money or draft picks to give him a suitable number of weapons next season. An offense is only as good as its offensive line, and based on Thursday's gameplan, coach Mike McCarthy doesn't think his line is too good. When does five equal zero? When you're the Packers' quintet of tight ends. Of the Packers' seven wins, not one has come against even an average team.

Then again, a three-game winning streak — even if those wins are coming against bad NFC teams — has to give Favre hope. So does the defense. And say what you want about McCarthy, but he's nursed three more wins out of this team than Sherman coaxed out of the 2005 squad.

Bottom line: Yes, the Packers have won three straight. Yes, they are 7-8. Yes, they are in the playoff race. But even in victory, Thursday's game showed the Packers' many warts. Favre will have to decide if he can live with those warts, and his own, because while he may not be the problem, he's definitely not the solution.

Lawrence is a regular contributor to Send comments to

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