Report card vs. Broncos

Favre enjoys one of his finest games; rush offense gets into gear; secondary struggles

PASSING OFFENSE: A-plus -- From a statistical standpoint, Brett Favre last had such an extraordinarily efficient game Dec. 22, 2003, when he pitched a near-perfect game with a passer rating of 154.9 playing with a heavy heart at Oakland in the aftermath of his father's death. This Monday night showing might have been more impressive, however.

As it turns out, the deep ball hasn't escaped the 38-year-old's right arm, striking not once (on a 79-yard touchdown to James Jones) but twice (on the decisive 82-yard scoring heave to Greg Jennings on the first play of overtime). The game-winner capped an almost flawless final 30-plus minutes for Favre, who was 13-of-14 for 184 yards. His lone incompletion in that span was on a deflected pass, a fortuitous one at that because Champ Bailey had inside leverage on intended target Jones for what could have been a game-turning interception return for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter.

A mistake-free Favre finished 21-of-27 for 331 yards and a 142.4 rating. Jennings (six catches for 141 yards) and Jones (three for 107) were big time after the catch. Jennings recovered from two early drops. Donald Lee (three catches for 34) continued to be a prolific safety valve as the only tight end of note in the game.

RUSHING OFFENSE: A -- DeShawn Wynn's latest medical setback was Ryan Grant's gain for the present and the foreseeable future. Grant ripped off a 7-yard gain two plays after rookie Wynn was felled by a shoulder injury early in the second quarter, and the former New York Giant was off and running. Grant had seven carries for 53 yards in that drive, which consumed 98 yards and led to a field goal. Grant's 81 yards at halftime, in 14 carries, topped the season high in a game for the league's worst-ranked rushing offense.

Grant ran with excellent vision, acceleration and power in straight-line fashion, finishing with 104 yards and a per-carry average of 4.7. A makeshift line, still without center Scott Wells, more often than not controlled the line of scrimmage in creating holes for Grant.

PASS DEFENSE: D -- The fourth-quarter-ending series, which culminated with a score-tying field goal, was emblematic of a horrendous performance by the secondary. Al Harris couldn't stay with Brandon Stokley on a short out that picked up seven yards on fourth-and-2. Two plays later, Harris resorted to his familiar non-tackling abilities by failing to wrap up Brandon Marshall on a short pass that turned into a 35-yard gain and didn't necessitate a holding call on Charles Woodson, the 14th penalty by Green Bay and the eighth by the defense.

Strong safety Atari Bigby was 180 degrees separated from his strong start to the season. He committed four infractions, including two senseless ones for a hit out of bounds and kicking the football after a defensive stop. Bigby also was beat for Denver's lone touchdown.

Jay Cutler had the Packers' number on play-action throws, totaling 264 passing yards. Aaron Kampman stood out up front among the mediocrity on the back end, registering four quarterback hits and three sacks, including a takedown of Marshall on a designed option pass when he relentlessly chased the receiver out near the sideline and then back to the inside.

RUSH DEFENSE: B-minus -- The defense didn't have to contend with an injured Travis Henry, but rookie Selvin Young caused fits from time to time. The slippery Young churned out a hard-earned 71 yards in 18 carries and even led Denver with six catches for 49 yards as an underneath extension of the run game. Young's rushing total doesn't include a 48-yard chunk wiped out by a questionable holding penalty by Marshall on Harris down field in the fourth quarter.

Still, Green Bay had its moments of putting up resistance. Denver's touchdown drive in the first quarter included stops by linebacker Nick Barnett (game-high nine tackles) and end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, as well as a takedown of Young by end Cullen Jenkins four yards behind the line of scrimmage on first-and-goal at the 1.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C -- Aside from former Colorado standout Mason Crosby's driving all four kickoffs in the thin air to the end zone, resulting in two touchbacks, the collective performance by the special-teams units was nothing better than ordinary.

Woodson on punt returns and the kickoff-return duo of Tramon Williams and Shaun Bodiford were nonfactors.

Jon Ryan put too much into his punts, averaging 52.3 yards gross but putting two of his three punts inside the 20 in the end zone for a meager net of 35.8. The punt coverage gave up a 26-yard return to Glenn Martinez.

COACHING: A-minus -- Mike McCarthy had one of his finest games as a play caller pay off in two ways. He reached the conclusion in the self-scouting during the bye week that he had to be committed to his anemic running game and did so right away, cutting Grant loose after the Wynn injury. As such, the offense couldn't have been more balanced, with 28 pass plays and 27 run plays. McCarthy also exploited the tendencies of the talented corner duo of Bailey and Dre' Bly to jump routes by putting it on Favre's arm to go over the top with the big touchdown throws.

The coaching staff, though, has to restore discipline with a young team officially assessed a season-high 13 penalties for 103 yards. It had 12 penalties two games earlier in the loss to Chicago.


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