Favre masters the Metrodome

The Vikings' dome has gone from a house of horrors to a house of triumph, and a fitting place for Favre to throw his record 421st touchdown pass.

The conventional wisdom out there sees more than a bit of irony that Brett Favre likely will break Dan Marino's record for career touchdown passes at the Metrodome on Sunday.

After all, the Minnesota Vikings' home stadium is a house of horrors for Favre, right? Favre said as much during his conference call this week with reporters who cover the Vikings.

"It's been pretty damn tough against us, pardon my French. It's a tough place for us to play. It is bad memories for me," said Favre, no doubt recalling the nine losses in his first 11 trips to the Metrodome. "They've played tough against me. I consider it one of the greatest challenges I face every year. The year we won the Super Bowl (1996; Favre was sacked seven times), we lost there. Even in good seasons, it has been a bad memory for us, so every time I go there, I can't say I'm overly excited about it, but I consider it a great challenge.

"It's one of those things I think after you retire and you look back, you think a lot of things, but you'll think of that place as much as any other place I've played. That's probably been the toughest place by far in my career to play."

That was then. This is now.

As I alluded to in my piece earlier this week, Favre has been almost perfect lately in Minneapolis. During the last four seasons, Favre has guided the Packers to a 3-1 record at the dome while posting Arena Football-like passing numbers.

Favre's worst game during that span, in terms of quarterback rating, was during last year's 23-17 victory, when Favre completed 24 of 42 passes for 347 yards, with two touchdowns and no interceptions for a rating of 100.0.

In 2005, during a 23-20 loss, Favre had his best game, going 28 of 36 for 315 yards, with two touchdowns, no interceptions and a 121.6 rating.

In 2004, during a 34-31 win, he completed 30 of 43 passes for 365 yards, with three touchdowns, one interception and a 109.2 rating.

In 2003, during a 30-27 victory, he completed 18 of 28 passes for 194 yards, with three touchdowns, one interception and a 105.4 rating.

Add it up, and the last four seasons, Favre has completed 100 of 149 passes (67.1 percent) for 1,221 yards with 10 touchdowns and two interceptions for a rating of 108.9.

"I wouldn't say really good. I would say better than I have in previous years," Favre said during his meeting with local reporters this week. Reminded of how well he'd played at the Metrodome the past four seasons, Favre added, "I'm trying to downplay it. Would you work with me, here?"

Despite his big games, Favre noted that he was helped by a productive running game during the victories in Minnesota. He also knows that likely won't be the case on Sunday.

"In games that we've won over there, we ran the ball better," Favre said. "I think in games that we threw 50 or close to 50 times, we probably didn't have as much success. You're kind of playing into their hands. With that in mind, we may have to do that. If you go off of what we've done the last two weeks, everyone would say, ‘Well, they can handle that.' Well, we did the last two weeks. We're not going to completely abandon the run game, but we're not stupid, either. We're not going to go out there and just pound it. It would be three and out on every drive."

Favre has been incredible the last two weeks, and is the big reason why the Packers are a surprising 3-0. That makes Favre an early candidate to be league MVP, but he knows how quickly things can change and that the pressure to put points on the scoreboard falls squarely on him.

"I realize if I make a lot of mistakes, it puts our team in jeopardy," Favre said. "Coming into this year, I probably felt more pressure than in any other season. It's only been three games, and the first game was about as ugly as it can get and everyone was writing us off. Now, everyone's saying all these great things. It can easily change."

Steve Lawrence is a regular contributor to PackerReport.com. E-mail him at steve_lawrence_packers@yahoo.com

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