The Green Bay Packers have been in the NFL for more than a century now and they’ve had so many memorable plays. But in Week 2 of the 1995 season, Brett Favre and Robert Brooks hooked up for the longest pass completion in the history of the franchise and tied for the longest play in NFL history.

The Leadup to the Longest Completion in Packers History

The game was set for Week 2 and played at Soldier Field on Monday Night Football. A nationally televised audience tuned in to see the NFL’s oldest rivalry renewed. The Packers entered the game 0-1 while the Bears were 1-0.

The Bears wanted to end their seven-game losing streak on Monday Night, including four straight losses at home.

The Packers were coming off back-to-back playoff seasons, but they had been a wild card team and wanted to take their game to the next level and join the 49ers and Cowboys among the NFC’s elite clubs. An 0-2 start to the season would make that difficult.

The Packers Jump Out to an Early Lead

The Packers took the early lead in the game, scoring twice in the first quarter. The Pack opened the game with a 14-play, 65-yard drive that almost took seven minutes off the clock. A 16-yard run by Edgar Bennett and a 14-yard pass to Brooks were key plays. Favre connected with Brooks from four yards out to give the Pack a 7-0 lead.

After a Bears punt, Favre went back to work and found the end zone. On the drive, he found Brooks for 14 yards and tight end Jeff Thomasson for 15. The drive culminated with a 15-yard pass to Anthony Morgan and the Packers led 14-0.

Safety LeRoy Butler intercepted Erik Kramer on the Bears next drive. He caught the ball at the Green Bay one-yard line after intercepting a pass intended for Curtis Conway on a flea flicker.

The Longest Completion in Packers History and NFL History

With the ball on their own one, the Packers started out conservatively with their play calling. Twice they sent Bennett into the middle of the line and twice he was stopped for no gain. That brought up 3rd-and-10 with the end zone still 99 yards away.

The Bears blitzed but Favre surprised them. He threw long for Brooks who caught the ball at the Green Bay 30 and was off to the races. He had gotten behind Chicago’s Donnell Woolford on the play and raced 99 yards into the end zone.

“They were thinking that it was third-and-10, and they were going to hold us and get the ball at the 50 or better. All of a sudden, 99 yards later, we’re in the end zone. It was a huge play for us,” Favre said after the game.

This was the eighth 99-yard touchdown pass in NFL history and obviously tied a league record. Green Bay’s previous longest pass play was a 96-yarder from Tobin Rote to Billy Grimes at San Francisco on December 10, 1950.

Breaking Down the Longest Completion in Packers History

“I didn’t think about dropping it.” Brooks added, “I didn’t think about getting caught. I only had positive thoughts. All I was thinking about was scoring a touchdown, catching it, and going. We saw on film from previous games that they were susceptible to double moves. We knew they were squatting on the underneath stuff, and it was a perfect time to call the play.”

“Third down is a pretty big down for the style of defense we play,” explained Bears safety Mark Carrier. “We couldn’t stop them, especially early. Anybody that knows football knows that Holmgren comes in as one of the game’s bright offensive minds. He showed some of that tonight. He mixed things up well.”

“I didn’t think it would go that far,” added Packers center Frank Winters. “It’s great for us to have one of those plays once in a while.”

The Packers led 24-7 at the half after a one-yard run by Bears running back Rashan Salaam and a 32-yard field goal by punter Craig Hentrich who took over for the injured Chris Jacke.

The Bears Stage a Rally

The Pack added another Hentrich field goal in the third quarter to take a 27-7 lead. But then the Bears started to rally. A long drive ended with a two-yard touchdown pass to defensive tackle Jim Flanigan who reported as eligible on the play. It was one of two catches Flanigan made on the season and they both went for touchdowns.

In the fourth quarter, Woolford picked off a Favre pass and returned it to the Green Bay 8. On the next play, Salaam scored on an eight-yard run and the lead was cut to 27-21.

On the next drive, things went from bad to worse for the Pack as Hentrich’s punt was blocked by Anthony Marshall and the Bears took over at the Green Bay 2. But the Green Bay defense held, stopping Salaam on two runs, and forcing an incompletion. The Bears settled for a 20-yard field goal by Kevin Butler and the score was 27-24 with 9:02 left in the fourth quarter.

The Packers Clinch the Game with the Longest Completion

With time running out, Reggie White sealed the win when he sacked Kramer and forced a fumble. Linebacker Wayne Simmons recovered the fumble, and the Packers ran out the clock to win 27-24.

“When you play with Reggie White, you know something can always happen,” Simmons said. “I looked down and there the ball was lying on the ground. I’ve never seen a prettier sight.”

“You know that old adage that in big games great players make great plays.” GM Ron Wolf said. “Well, he did. You can’t ever let up with him.”

The Aftermath of the Longest Completion in Packers History

The Packers dominated the game statistically, outgaining Chicago 431-243 and holding on to the game 37:17 to 22:43. They were also an impressive 13-of-18 on third-down conversions.

The Pack also changed up their offense, using a one-back look and three or four receiver sets that the Bears couldn’t adjust to.

The Packers finished the season 11-5 and won their first division title in a non-strike season since 1972. They also swept the Bears, beating them 35-28 at Lambeau Field in a game that saw Favre throw five touchdown passes after almost not starting due to an ankle injury. By the end of the season, the Packers defeated the 49ers in the playoffs and reached the NFC Championship Game to become an elite Super Bowl contender. One year later, they were world champs.



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