A first for Favre

NEW ORLEANS — Consider the streak over.<p> No, not Brett Favre's NFL record of consecutive starts, which is 159 and going strong. Instead, Favre exited his friendly home away from his nearby Mississippi hometown with a previously unaccustomed loss.<p>

The Green Bay Packers' 35-20 setback to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday marked the first time a Favre-led team hasn't won in eight games at the Louisiana Superdome. He had been 5-0 with the Packers — four wins against the Saints, including two in the preseason, and the distinguishing victory over New England in Super Bowl XXXI on Jan. 26, 1997.

Before his NFL days, Favre was 2-for-2 in college games he started for Southern Mississippi.

On this latest visit to the Superdome, however, the script followed the pattern of his ghastly performances in other indoor stadiums. Favre and the Packers lost for the 19th time in 31 games, including the playoffs, since the inception of his starting streak in 1992.

Speaking from experience, Favre said it isn't too earth-shattering the Packers lost amid the racket caused by the majority of a capacity crowd of 67,958.

"You can't turn the ball over; you can't allow the home team in a hostile environment to have the edge by you giving it to them," Favre said. "You have to make them work for it."

Favre acknowledged he was as culpable as any of his teammates in a defeat that had the undertones of previous dome defeats at Minnesota and Detroit, not to mention the 45-17 debacle at St. Louis in an NFC divisional playoff game eight months ago. Favre threw a career-high six interceptions in that one, three of which were returned for touchdowns.

Favre had only one pass intercepted Sunday, by linebacker Darrin Smith on a deflection off the right shoulder of cornerback Keyuo Craver in the Packers' first offensive series. Although the Saints didn't capitalize on Smith's 17-yard return to the Green Bay 30-yard line, the turnover was an ominous sign of another train wreck by the Packers' offense under a roof.

The Packers fumbled the ball away three times, leading to 14 Saints points.

Favre said the high decibels emanating from the stands forced him to run the offense with a silent count for most of the snaps.

One of the few times he used a verbal snap count ironically silenced a Packers drive early in the fourth quarter.

An unsuspecting Favre, working out of the shotgun, bungled a snap from center Frank Winters on a fourth-and-2 play from the Saints' 47-yard line. The fumble ended the drive and kept the Saints in control with a 28-17 lead.

Favre said Winters snapped the ball prematurely, thus catching Favre off-guard, because the center insisted a couple Saints defenders were goading him into hurrying the play.

"He heard, ‘Set, hut,' or something like that, which is illegal," said Favre, claiming he never barked out that command for Winters to snap the ball.

Favre voiced his displeasure with umpire Carl Paganelli after the play. The umpire is positioned behind the line of scrimmage on the defensive side.

"He said he didn't see (the Saints' actions), and he had the best seat in the house," Favre said in disbelief. "I don't want to sit here and make excuses, but, hey, rules are rules. When I watch it on film (today), if I'm wrong, I'm wrong. But, I don't think I am."

Nevertheless, Favre praised the Saints for their aggressive approach on defense. A week after pressuring Tampa Bay's Brad Johnson into what he estimated was "a record" 20 throwaways, the Saints were unrelenting against Favre.

Though he technically had only four throwaways, two resulting in intentional-grounding penalties, Favre wore the look afterward of a quarterback who had met his match.

"Did I get hit much today?" Favre asked.

When told it seemed like he did, he responded knowingly, "I thought so, too."

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