Breaking down incredible game-winning play

Instead of calling audible at line for different play, Favre 'let it ride' to beat Broncos

Had Brett Favre stuck to what was called, there's no telling how the Packers would have fared in overtime Monday night at Denver.

Instead, the 38-year-old quarterback, who had a couple ready answers for his critics of late, needed only one play and 12 seconds in the extra session to push the Packers to 6-1.

"We wanted to just methodically move the ball," receiver Greg Jennings shared afterward. "But, one play and we're done -- we take it however we can get it."

A sprinting Jennings, just moments after calling heads to win the coin toss for Green Bay, was on the receiving end of an 82-yard dart from Favre to decide a 19-13 victory over the Broncos.

The incredible play is the second-longest touchdown pass to end an overtime game in NFL history. The Philadelphia tandem of Ron Jaworski and Mike Quick have the unbreakable record of 99 yards.

"I felt it was worth taking a shot," Favre said of unloading on the first play from scrimmage, after Denver had seemingly seized the momentum by driving down the field and getting off a Jason Elam field goal as time expired in regulation.

Head coach Mike McCarthy relayed the called play of double-go to Favre on the sideline. Tight end Donald Lee was to be the primary receiver running a route up the seam.

The play, though, was designed for a Cover-2 scheme. The Broncos instead went with a single-safety look, which normally is a prompt for Favre to check out of the play call. In this instance, however, Favre had McCarthy's blessing to "let it ride" by taking a downfield shot on the outside with Lee drawing inside coverage from the deep safety.

An intuitive Favre took a deep drop running play-action, rolled out of the pocket slightly and flung the ball 52 yards in the air to Jennings, who had gotten behind Dre' Bly and caught the ball in stride at the Broncos' 37 en route to the end zone.

"It seemed like it was 80 yards in the air, more than you typically would throw," Favre said. "Usually, it's five steps (on the drop) and let it go. (It) was play-action, roll and just give a guy a chance."

"Anytime you're going for a vertical route, you're going for broke," McCarthy said. "Excellent read by Brett, excellent throw and excellent catch. Greg did a great job by finishing it."

Favre had been taken to task while the Packers were coming off their bye week because of supposedly not having the strength anymore to throw the deep ball. He badly underthrew two long passes in the previous game against Washington, which resulted in interceptions by Sean Taylor.

Long before his latest late-game heroics Monday, Favre put a pass that traveled 45 yards on the money to rookie James Jones, who beat Champ Bailey for the catch and proceeded to cut across the field to complete a 79-yard touchdown in the first quarter.

"That's why we waited for national TV, just so he could show everybody," McCarthy quipped in his postgame interview with the Packers' radio network.

The 82-yard strike to Jennings ties for the fifth-longest completion in Favre's 17-year career. The 79-yard connection with Jones is tied for 10th best.

"The one play we haven't been productive (with) this year -- down the field -- and we hit it in the first play and we end the game," said Favre, somewhat incredulously.

He told receiver Ruvell Martin after the game that he ranks his big-play performance in the "top two" of his illustrious pro tenure.

"That was the two best throws I've ever made in my life," Favre said. "Next week (at Kansas City), I hope I say the same thing, about two more in that game."

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