Brett Favre set several NFL and Packers franchise records while leading the Packers to a 37-26 win over the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving Day in Detroit. Favre threw for 381 yards and three touchdowns in the game as the Packers improved their record to 10-1. The Lions dropped to 6-5 with the loss.
Favre set a new Packers record by completing 20 consecutive passes in this game. He fumbled the first snap of the game but was almost perfect after that. He finished the game by completing 31-of-41 passes and had a quarterback rating of 128.2.
“I threw it. They caught it,” Favre said after the game. “Nothing spectacular. Just get it into our guys’ hands and let them make plays.”
The Packers fell behind early, trailing 6-0 after the first quarter on a pair of Jason Hanson field goals. But in the second quarter, Favre gave the Packers the lead on an 11-yard touchdown pass to Greg Jennings. It was set up by an interception by safety Aaron Rouse who returned the ball 34 yards to the Detroit 11. One play later, the Packers led 7-6.
On the next Packers drive, Favre found Donald Driver for 38 yards, James Jones for 18 and then back to Driver for 19. Ryan Grant scored on a five-yard run to increase the Packers lead to 14-6. The teams traded field goals late in the second quarter and the Pack led 17-9 at the half.
In the first half, the Lions put an extra safety in the box and practically dared the Packers to pass the ball on them. Favre was very successful beating this defense by spreading the ball around to his receivers.
In the second half, the Lions adjusted so the Packers offense changed its strategy. The Packers ran the ball more after halftime. Grant had only seven yards rushing in the first 30 minutes of the game but finished with 101 yards and helped the Packers control the clock.
The Packers also threw the ball well in the second half with Favre completing touchdowns passes to Jennings and Ruvell Martin. Mason Crosby also added a pair of field goals in the second half to put the Packers ahead to stay.
Lions head coach Rod Marinelli was impressed with Favre’s performance. “He’s playing as good as I’ve ever seen him play,” Marinelli said. “I’ve played against him since 1996. That was my concern going into this game — the release, the speed. We played man and we played zone, and we struggled on all. It’s very tough to sack this guy.”
With the win, Favre now had 148 regular season wins which tied John Elway’s all-time NFL record. He also extended his own league record by throwing three touchdown passes in a game for the 63rd time in his career. Favre also tied a personal best by topping 300 yards in a game for the seventh time in a season, the same number he had in 1995, his first league MVP campaign.
“As long as he’s playing the way he is, the sky’s the limit for this team,” Jennings said.
“The line is playing well, and the receivers are playing well,” Packers quarterbacks coach Tom Clements added. “I don’t think we had any drops. And Brett is putting it where they can catch it and run with it. So, everything is clicking right now.”
Favre spread the ball around, completing passes to eight different receivers. Driver led the way with 10 catches for 147 yards while James Jones and Jennings had five catches each.
On defense, the Packers had four sacks of Lions quarterback Jon Kitna led by Aaron Kampman who had two. Corey Williams and Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila had one apiece.
Injuries hit the Packers hard in this game, however. Future Hall of Famer Charles Woodson suffered a big toe injury returning a punt and left the game. Defensive tackle Colin Cole [fractured forearm], Gbaja-Biamila [ankle], Rouse [knee] and offensive tackle Mark Tauscher [ankle] also left the game early and did not return.
The Packers were confident coming out of this game in their team and their 38-year-old quarterback. “We all know that Brett Favre can sling that rock,” linebacker Nick Barnett said. “But he’s coming up with big play after big play. I don’t know if he was perfect [against the Lions], but he was darn close.”
The Packers finished the season with a 13-3 season and advanced to the NFC Championship Game. Favre retired after the season, then unretired and tried to rejoin the Packers who traded him to the Jets. But in 2007, Favre looked as good as he ever did and the Packers were one of the best teams in the NFL.
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