GREEN BAY – As he stepped onto Lambeau Field wearing white horns on a purple helmet for the first time, Brett Favre was booed with such anger that it was as if he had red horns popping out of his head instead.
From there, the jeers only intensified each time he walked onto the field. About the only thing louder than the reaction Favre elicited was the boom of the F-16 fighter planes that flew over during the national anthem.
Favre knew what was in store for him as the Vikings‘ team bus approached Lambeau yesterday morning.
“All the Packer fans were there and there was some purple and I saw a mixture of everything, cheers, a couple of fingers,” Favre said with a smile.
In his much-hyped and much-anticipated return to Green Bay, Favre was greeted like the most hated man in the state of Wisconsin, but he won at Lambeau Field for the 97th time in his career, and first as a visitor, leading the Vikings to a 38-26 triumph and a season sweep of his old team.
If this is why Favre came back – again – to gain revenge against GM Ted Thompson, he got it. Favre completed 17 of 28 passes for 244 yards and four touchdowns and now has thrown for a total of 525 yards and seven touchdowns in two emotional victories over Green Bay (4-3).
Aaron Rodgers, his Packers successor, overcame a shaky start and nearly erased a 24-3 third-quarter deficit by throwing for 287 yards and three touchdowns.
“I hate losing to whoever’s at quarterback for them,” Rodgers said. “I hate losing to the Vikings, especially. The crowd was electric tonight.”
For a week, there was Super Bowl-like buzz around Wisconsin and Green Bay centered around Favre, whose departure still sparks arguments at barber shops and even retirement homes.
While Favre was barely touched, let alone sacked, Rodgers was running for his life most of the day. The Packers’ quarterback was sacked six times by Minnesota (7-1), which had sacked him eight times in the first meeting, a 30-23 game in Minnesota last month. Rodgers was a dismal 5-for-11 for 38 yards in the first half, prompting boos from a crowd that had already done plenty of jeering at the opponent.
Favre completed 13 of his first 18 passes, and his second passing touchdown came on a 51-yard connection with rookie Percy Harvin to give Minnesota a 24-3 lead with 13:08 remaining in the third quarter.
Rodgers, though, led Green Bay to 17 consecutive points in the quarter, hitting tight end Spencer Havner on touchdown throws of 16 yards and five yards to trim the deficit to 24-20.
But Favre answered with a two-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jeff Dugan to extend the Vikings’ lead to 31-20 early in the fourth quarter. While Rodgers got Green Bay back within five points on a 10-yard pass to Greg Jennings, the Packers failed on a two-point conversion and got no closer.
“Once again, I didn’t have to prove anything,” Favre said. “I’m glad it’s over. I’m not gonna sit here and throw any daggers.”
He didn’t have to after sticking yet another knife into the heart of Packer Nation this year.
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