Ravens' jousts with Favre

OWINGS MILLS -- The Baltimore Ravens experienced the best and the worst of Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre, the golden-armed gunslinger who concluded a legendary career Tuesday by announcing his retirement.

It was vintage Favre when he humbled an intimidating Super Bowl defense with the precision of his rocket throws in an Oct. 14, 2001 victory over the Ravens at Lambeau Field as the three-time NFL Most Valuable Player delivered three touchdown passes and piled up 314 yards on 27 of 34 accuracy.

One season after winning the Super Bowl behind a bullying defense, the Ravens were given an artful taste of their own medicine as Favre shredded an accomplished secondary with a 137.4 quarterback rating.

"Favre was magnificent, and that's the Favre we've seen so many times," former Ravens coach Brian Billick said following the 31-23 loss. "What we just saw was dominant quarterback play, not just good, but dominant. He is an incredible player."

Afterward, Shannon Sharpe referenced a touch of perspective from his older brother, Sterling Sharpe, a former Packers star wide receiver. As far as the Sharpe family is concerned, Favre was a superstar who belonged in the athletic stratosphere.

"My brother played with Brett for four or five years, and he told me about some of the things he could do in practice and you watch him on television and you say, 'OK, he made a play,'" Sharpe told reporters. "But when you see him in person, it's kind of like Michael Jordan. When Brett drops back, you just expect him to complete the pass. And he's as good as I've seen at that position in my years in the league."

Favre engineered drives of 59, 71, 74, 80 and 82 yards, notching three touchdowns as Favre peppered the Ravens with throws to Antonio Freeman and Donald Driver.

"We passed the ball and scored more points than anyone anticipated," Favre said after the game. "It was just our day. Statistically, it was a great game on my part, but I didn't anticipate that going in."

Favre was impressive enough to warrant a little sarcasm mixed with truth from Billick.

"I hope we never play them again," Billick said. "We couldn't beat them."

Although Favre sliced up the Ravens that day, it was in stark contrast to his struggles four years later.

Favre was shockingly outdueled by Ravens quarterback Kyle Boller, who shed his erratic ways for one memorable night as Baltimore routed the Packers, 48-3, in a Dec. 21, 2005 Monday night game at M&T Bank Stadium.

As an oft-criticized Boller completed 70.5 percent of his passes (19 for 27) with a quarterback rating of 136.8 while throwing three touchdowns, Favre played so badly it sparked more speculation that he was going to retire.

The Ravens set franchise records for points scored, touchdowns and margin of victory. It was also the most lopsided victory in "Monday Night Football" history.

Favre was relieved by Aaron Rodgers after completing just 14 of 29 passes for 144 yards, two interceptions with two more dropped by the Ravens and didn't throw a touchdown pass for the third consecutive game.

Favre was so upset with his putrid performance that he didn't speak to reporters after the game.

For Boller, it was a night where he had clearly outplayed his idol, a sure-fire lock for future induction into the Hall of Fame.

"It feels good, just to be out on the field with him," Boller said. "To be able to put on a performance that we did as an offense, it means a lot, especially with what I've been going through."

It turned out to be a mere aberration, though.

Boller was eventually replaced by veteran Steve McNair under center.

And Favre resumed his traditional gold standard at quarterback until he decided to hang up his cleats and walk off into the Mississippi sunset.

Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.


Ravens Insider Top Stories