Packer Report mid-season MVP awards

You thanked your lucky stars when Green Bay beat Atlanta in overtime. You began to worry when they lost at New Orleans. Allowing Detroit to nearly come back from a 34-17 deficit did nothing to ease your mind. And you're fairly sure that you could've nailed the 24-yarder that Shayne Graham missed, giving the Packers a 17-14 victory over the Panthers.<p>

But then came the Monday Night mauling of the Bears that had you in awe at No. 4 once more. And with six starters missing against the defending Super Bowl champions just six days later, your mouth hung open while the Packers out-played, out-hustled and out-muscled the Patriots 28-10. And when Brett Favre went down with a knee injury in a win over the Redskins, Packers fans everywhere held their collective breath, before a sigh of relief came in the form of test results of an MRI earlier this week that revealed Favre will be ready to go in time for the Miami Dolphins.

Suddenly, the team you thought was a few bad bounces away from 0-4 has you thinking about San Diego in January. Sitting comfortably atop the NFC North and with the midway point of the season with a 6-1 record it seems as good a time as any to hand out some awards to a team that seems to be getting better with each game.

So without further adieu, we hand out our Packer Report Not Quite Mid-Season MVP Awards... hit the music.


Ahman Green's played great, Donald Driver has amazed everyone, but no star shines brighter than Favre. Since his debacle in the TWA Dome last January, Favre has been as close to perfect as any quarterback could be. His 102.5 passer rating leads the league after six games, he's tied for second with 14 touchdowns and has just three interceptions. In Detroit, he completed 31 passes to 10 different receivers for 357 yards and three touchdowns. Against Chicago, he had 287 yards passing and three touchdowns in the FIRST HALF!

Less than a week later, he whistled three touchdowns through New England drizzle to beat the Patriots. And each time Favre flings the ball, he sidles up to another historic passer. He joined a magnificent seven in the 40,000 passing yards club this season and sits in third place all-time for touchdown passes. At 33, Favre still draws gasps from the crowd, teammates and opponents with his Houdini-esque moves in the pocket, and ability to thread a ball with digit-breaking velocity into coverage or flick a pass 40 yards downfield with a surgeon's precision. Keep your Donovans, your Peytons, your Warners and Vicks. Favre is not only the best quarterback playing today, he's one of the best that's ever played.

DEFENSIVE MVP: S Marques Anderson

That's right, a rookie! Despite being inactive for the first two games of the year (Hey, who wasn't inactive on that defense, they gave up over 700 yards to Atlanta and New Orleans) Anderson has made as much of an impact as anyone. In his first game as a pro, he took a Joey Harrington pass the other way for six points and had a fumble recovery. He notched 12 tackles and an interception in his first start in place of the injured Darren Sharper at New England.

But Anderson could really win this award on just one play: When Patriot quarterback Tom Brady threw a lateral pass to Kevin Faulk, 21 players on the field watched the ball bounce and then come to a comfortable resting spot on the new Gillette Stadium grass. But one lone rookie figured it might just be a fumble and came sprinting out of the defensive secondary, went diving in and nearly recovered it. While defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila would come up with the ball, it was Anderson's hustle that helped the Packers regain possession and turn that into a 14-3 on the very next play.

SPECIAL TEAMS MVP: LB/FB Torrance Marshall

While the Packers debate if he looks better wearing No. 51 or No. 41, Marshall has strived to be No. 1 on special teams. His strength and 4.4 speed make him a natural on the teams' coverage units where he ranks among the leaders in tackles. Marshall forced a fumble in a loss at New Orleans and made a key play in the win over New England, pulling the ball of linebacker Larry Izzo's chest after Izzo seemingly recovered the fumble following Tebucky Jones' hit on Packer's punt returner Darrien Gordon.

Editor's note: More awards appear in the Nov. 4 issue of Packer Report.

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