Favre's last stand? QB fuels Pack rout of No. 1 Bears
CHICAGO (AP) -- If, indeed, this was his last game, Brett Favre
went out in style.
Sadly, judging by his tears and postgame actions, it sure looks and sounds like Brett Favre -- the most durable, most compelling, most watchable quarterback of our NFL generation -- is going to call it quits. And he wasn't the only one getting all misty-eyed on Sunday.
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The rocket-like passes that defined his career were on full
display, zooming between helpless defenders and into receivers'
hands. And when it was over, his voice cracked. Tears flowed.
Is this really it, though?
"If this is the last game, I couldn't be more pleased with the
outcome," Favre said after the Green Bay Packers closed out the
season with a 26-7 victory over the Chicago Bears on Sunday night.
Favre had his way, Rex Grossman looked lost, and the Bears bore
little resemblance to a No. 1 playoff seed.
Favre showed he still has some plenty left in that powerful
right arm, passing for 285 yards to lead the Packers (8-8).
But he tearfully hinted that he's seriously considering
retirement, as he did in the last offseason.
The stage is set. The Chiefs-Colts game in Indianapolis will kick off wild-card weekend on Saturday, with three games to follow. First-round byes go to the Chargers (No. 1 seed) and Ravens in the AFC, and the Bears (No. 1) and Saints in the NFC. This weekend's lineup:
AFC: Chiefs at Colts, 4:30 ET (NBC)
NFC: Cowboys at Seahawks, 8 ET (NBC)
AFC: Jets at Patriots, 1 ET (CBS)
NFC: Giants at Eagles, 4:30 ET (FOX)
• For the complete playoff schedule, click here.
"If this is my last game, I want to remember it," Favre said,
his voice cracking and tears streaming from his eyes. "It's tough.
I love these guys. I love this game. What a great way to go out
against a great football team. I couldn't ask for a better way to
Favre said he would discuss retirement with his family and make
his announcement soon -- "probably within the next couple of
weeks." For now, the only certainty is he's scheduled for ankle
surgery Monday in Green Bay.
The three-time MVP completed 21 of 42 passes with a touchdown
and interception. He had 209 yards in the first half alone as the
Packers grabbed a 23-0 lead, and he moved into a tie with Dan
Marino for second place on the victories list with 147. Favre needs
one more to tie John Elway.
While Favre's emotions flowed after the game, receiver Donald
Driver said he kept them in check before and during it.
"I'm glad I'm going to be a part of that legacy," Driver said.
"If this is the last one, I wish the best for him, but we pray to
God that it's not."
Favre was in vintage form, but the inconsistent Grossman showed
his bad side.
He was 2-of-12 with three interceptions -- two of which were
returned for touchdowns -- and a zero passer rating in the first
half and did not come out for the second.
"I've been in this position before," Grossman said. "I hate
this. I hate it."
It was the first time a quarterback threw three interceptions
and two completions since New Orleans' Richard Todd in 1984. And
the debate over whether he or Brian Griese should start for the
Bears (13-3) is back on, even if coach Lovie Smith said he won't
make a change.
Griese started the third quarter and was 5-of-15 for 124 yards
with two interceptions. He also threw a 75-yard touchdown pass to
Mark Bradley with 34 seconds left in the third. The Bears' best
passer may have been punter Brad Maynard, who connected with Adrian
Peterson for 37 yards on a fake early in the third quarter.
Smith said the plan entering the game was to have Grossman play
into the third quarter, but "I didn't see there was any need in
putting him back in after an effort like that."
Favre, by contrast, led the Packers on a 75-yard touchdown drive
to start the game, and Nick Collins returned an interception 55
yards late in the first quarter to give the Packers a 13-0 lead.
Dave Rayner kicked a 25-yard field goal with 49 seconds left in the
first half, and Grossman immediately struck again.
This time, Patrick Dendy returned an interception 30 yards to
make it 23-0, and the Packers never looked back.
The Packers were all but eliminated from the postseason when the
New York Giants beat Washington on Saturday. And their final hopes
were dashed before Sunday's kickoff.
Still, they took it to a Chicago team that has home-field
advantage throughout the playoffs and was trying to become just the
fourth team to go undefeated in conference play since the AFL and
NFL merged in 1970.
Favre immediately served notice that this would be a vintage
The opening drive ended with a 9-yard strike to Donald Driver.
Favre waited until late April before announcing he would play
this year, and he was noncommittal about his future this week. He
seemed rejuvenated after enduring his worst season in 2005, when he
threw 20 touchdowns and 29 interceptions as the Packers went 4-12.
He became the NFL's career leader in completions, passing Dan
Marino, and finished the season with 3,885 yards and 18 touchdowns
to go with 18 interceptions.
"At some point, guys have to face the end of their career,"
said Favre, who led the 1996 Packers to a championship and a Super
Bowl appearance the following year. "Of course, I'd love to go out
winning a championship. I would love to win another one, but it's
hard to do. I realize that now."
A Bears team with Super Bowl aspirations looked nothing like a
contender -- especially with Grossman reverting to his midseason
form, when he threw 14 interceptions in seven games.
"I'm trying to figure that out myself," Grossman said, when
asked what happened. "It's my job to figure out why I had games
like this and fix it."
Nathan Vasher intercepted Favre, but five plays later, Collins
picked off a screen intended Desmond Clark and returned it 55 yards
to make it 13-0 with 50 seconds left in the first quarter. The
Bears' next possession ended when Grossman fumbled away the snap.
The Chicago defense wasn't any better.
It had allowed at least 327 yards in the previous five games --
thanks to injuries, general sloppiness and defensive tackle Tank
Johnson's suspension after his arrest on weapons charges and then
shooting death of his friend at a nightclub less than 48 hours
Johnson did not start but entered the game on the opening
possession, after being inactive against Tampa Bay on Dec. 17 and
serving a one-game suspension the following week against Detroit.
Green Bay's Ahman Green ran for 71 yards and became the
first Packer to rush for at least 1,000 six times. ... Chicago's
Cedric Benson rushed for 109 -- his first 100-yard game. ... Bears
returner Devin Hester left in the third quarter with a strained
calf. ... Chicago CB Charles Tillman missed his second straight
game because of a sore back, while Packers WR Greg Jennings was out
with an ankle injury.
- Bill Vinovich