So much for Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre letting the tragedy of his father being killed in an automobile accident Sunday night in Kiln, MS, negatively effect his play in a 41-7 annihilation over the Oakland Raiders in front of a nationally televised audience.
Favre and the Packer receivers posterized Oakland defenders, notably cornerback Phillip Buchanon in the process. Monday night is normally known as ‘Primetime' but for the Raiders (4-10), it was more like ‘Toast-time.' That idea especially applied to Buchanon, who was a frequent victim of Favre (22-of-30 for 399 yards and four touchdowns) passes in the first half before sitting most of the second half. Favre's status before the game was to be determined on Monday.
Well, he decided to play all right.
"I knew that my dad would have wanted me to play," Favre said. "I love him so much, and I love this game. It's meant a great deal to me, to my dad, to my family, and I didn't expect this kind of performance. But I know he was watching tonight."
Favre connected with 12 different receivers with Javon Walker leading the way in catching four passes for 124 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
"I think they tried to exploit that matchup because Javon Walker is an outstanding deep threat," Raiders head coach Bill Callahan said. "It came as no surprise. We knew we were going to get tested and we didn't pass the test."
In a nutshell, there was simply no way to make this one look good for the Raiders in front of a nationally televised audience.
"His performance was outstanding in every respect," Callahan said of Favre. "As an organization, we'd like to our condolences."
The Packers (9-6) can clinch the NFC North by defeating Denver Sunday. Oakland, meanwhile, finishes its season at San Diego Sunday.
"I have no words to describe him," Green Bay starting right guard Marco Rivera said marveling Favre's performance under adversity. "I had a kind of a weird feeling because the look in his eye before the game was very intense."
Favre showed immediately that he would not let his off-field situation negatively hinder his play. Favre marched the Packers 80 yards in six plays, capped off by a 21-yard touchdown pass in the left corner of the end zone to tight end Wesley Walls despite tight coverage from strong safety Derrick Gibson. Two plays earlier, Favre connected with Robert Ferguson for a 46-yard completion to the Oakland 24.
Favre later connected with Javon Walker for a 23-yard touchdown pass with 5:17 left in the opening quarter. Walker torched Buchanon in the process. That scoring pass was the 343rd of his career, surpassing Minnesota great Fran Tarkenton for No. 2 all-time. The Packers led 14-0.
Oakland, however, answered on its next series when Charlie Garner scored on a 25-yard run with 2:08 left in the first quarter. Garner broke one tackle, spun away from another and used a Tim Brown downfield block on the way to the end zone. Oakland cut the Green Bay lead to 14-7.
The Packers widened their lead to 17-7 at the 11:38 mark of the second quarter on a 31-yard Ryan Longwell field.
The Packers widened the margin to 34-7 on a 27-yard Longwell field goal.
And for good measure, Ahman Green added a 7-yard touchdown run with 4:46 left in the game. Green added 127 yards on 24 carries.
For the Raiders, however, Monday night added another chapter to a painful season.
Vince D'Adamo can be reached at email@example.com