The pressure's on Favre

The more things change, the more they stay the same. With his 38th birthday approaching, the fate of the team, as always, lies in the hands of Brett Favre,'s Steve Lawrence says.

Brett Favre wasn't perfect against the New York Giants, it just seemed that way.

And that's what the Packers will need from the NFL's all-time winningest quarterback for the rest of the season.

Unbelievably, despite the inevitable slippage in play that comes with age, Favre is as important to the offense today as he was when he was winning league MVP awards every year.

Perhaps even more important.

Not to reopen the debate on Ted Thompson — it's water over the dam at this point — but the Packers' general manager didn't exactly give his almost-38-year-old quarterback a bunch of help during the offseason. The offensive line, which was supposed to relieve the pressure on Favre by giving him a running game, seemingly has regressed since last season. His group of backs is the youngest in the league, and a far cry from the days of Dorsey Levens, Edgar Bennett and William Henderson. So, it's all on Favre. Again.

He was up to the task against the Giants, a team with a poor secondary and a linebacking corps better suited to stopping the run then posing even a nuisance in the passing game.

Still, it's not easy to make play after play when everyone in the building knows what's coming. Favre was close to impeccable against the Giants anyway, completing 29 of 38 passes for 286 yards and three touchdowns. Even the one flaw on his statistical line, a first-half interception, should have been a completion to reliable Donald Driver.

At one point during the second half, Favre completed 14 consecutive passes. The streak was interrupted by a dropped pass by Brandon Jackson. Favre promptly completed his next two passes before a throwaway. His next pass was a trademark bullet to Driver for the clinching touchdown.

That adds up to 18 consecutive passes in which Favre put the ball right where he wanted it. That's a recipe for success, no matter how inept the Packers' running game has been the first two games.

"I said, ‘Keep calling them. Let's keep firing at them,'" Favre said after the game. "That's the approach we have to take, and I think we did that."

The Packers will have to maintain that approach, but can Favre be so perfect again? He'll have to, because the Packers' 2-0 record could quickly become 2-3. Green Bay is about to tangle with three of the best run defenses in the NFL — San Diego, Minnesota and Chicago — so the pressure will be on Favre to move the ball.

"Whether the Green Bay Packers win or lose, it's on him," former Packers receiver-turned-commentator Sterling Sharpe said in a conference call on Tuesday. "I love that about him. I don't think you can teach that. I don't think you can teach a guy to be that way. I think you either get out of bed with it, come from home with it, or you don't have it. And Brett has that."

The question is, can Favre keep it up for the next 14 games?

Having the weight of the offense resting solely on his shoulders is a lot of pressure. The schedule is about to get tougher. Opponents will get wise to what the Packers are trying to do, and adapt accordingly. Having a good defense will take off some of the pressure, but it will be up to Favre to put those 20 points per game on the scoreboard.

"I'm sure people are saying, ‘I don't know about them,'" Favre said of the Packers, who have the league's longest winning streak. "And I don't know, either."

There is one thing Favre knows, though.

"As young as we are or as young as they are," Favre said, "there may not be an understanding of what's ahead.

"But I know what's ahead of us."

Steve Lawrence is a regular contributor to E-mail him at

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