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Favre breaks record with trademark TD

Posted Sep 29, 2007

MINNEAPOLIS - The record-breaker was vintage Brett Favre, from the check-off at the line to the bullet throw to the giddy celebration.

Facing a third-and-7 from the Minnesota 16-yard line in the first quarter on Sunday, the Packers came to the line with an empty backfield, three wide receivers, two tight ends and Favre in the shotgun.

It's a formation that has become en vogue for the offense in 2007, and Favre just keeps making it work.

Favre surveyed the defense, and with the play clock winding down, he stepped to his right and hollered to make sure tight end Donald Lee would change his route, so that Greg Jennings, who was split wide to the right, would have an opening on the slant. Then at the snap, Jennings stepped to the inside of rookie defensive back Marcus McCauley, and Favre rifled one of his patented bullets for a 16-yard touchdown, and the NFL's all-time record was his with 421 career touchdown passes.

"It was down to the wire," Favre said of getting the snap off in time. "I thought they were going to come with an all-out blitz, which they did, and changed the play to more of a blitz-type play.

"The key to the play was Donald getting that check. Had he kept his route on that was called in the huddle, he's probably in the way of Greg, and I knew that. I knew we were pressed for time, but I really thought this could be a big play if we could get it off."

Lee's route into the flat pulled his defender toward the sideline, and McCauley wasn't nearly close enough to Jennings to disrupt the play.

"I looked at Greg, and when I saw who he had on him, a rookie, I was like, 'It's over,'" receiver Donald Driver said. "The record has been broken today."

The touchdown gave the Packers a 7-0 lead over their NFC North rivals with 4:56 left in the first quarter en route to a 23-16 victory and a 4-0 record.

A steady popping of flashbulbs ensued for the next couple of minutes inside the Metrodome, and not surprisingly, Favre ran around the field with his arms raised, yelling and screaming and celebrating like a little kid who had just won the Pop Warner championship. He picked up Jennings in a fireman's carry, a move he has made popular with his longtime buddy Driver over the last two seasons, and hauled him for a few steps toward the sidelines.

"I think he thought I was Donald," Jennings said. "Because he normally picks Donald up.

"It feels great. Anytime you have a guy who's out there who's played 17 years and is 37 years old, running around having fun, he makes us go. We go as he goes. Everybody knows that, and just to see him with that type of enthusiasm and excitement, he puts the buzz in everybody else."

Favre also shared a long hug with Driver, who is the current Packers player with the most TD receptions from Favre (36). The high-fives and hugs kept coming while a congratulatory message from Marino was played on the Metrodome scoreboard.

"I loved holding the touchdown record for the past 13 years," Marino said. "But if someone was going to break it, I'm glad it was someone like you, who has always competed at the highest level and always played only to win."

Jennings, the second-year pro out of Western Michigan, has caught just five TD passes from Favre, but three of them have been milestone scores.

In just his third game as a rookie, Jennings caught a short pass from Favre at Detroit's Ford Field and turned it into a 75-yard TD, Favre's 400th. Then last week, on a slant play similar to the record-breaker, Jennings 57-yard catch-and-run tied Marino's record and gave the Packers the lead over the Chargers with just over 2 minutes to go.

Favre has talked often about the veteran savvy Jennings possesses for such a young player, and the record-breaking play was an example of the chemistry developing between the two of them.

"Greg has that feel about him," Favre said. "I can almost look at him, and he's like, 'Yeah, OK, I know what you're talking about.'"

Jennings said he and the Packers' other young receivers liken their relationship with Favre to being his kids, and the relationship is all about growing together.

"He understands us more and he's beginning to trust us," said Jennings, who had three catches for 43 yards on the day. "We're what he has and he's making the best of it."

{sportsad300}Favre broke another of Marino's records later in the first half, though with far less drama and fanfare. On third-and-7 from the Minnesota 25 late in the second quarter, Favre's pass over the middle to Lee was incomplete. But it was Favre's 11th pass attempt of the game and the 8,359th of his career, the most all-time.

He added a 33-yard touchdown pass to rookie James Jones to help seal the game in the fourth quarter. It was Jones' first NFL touchdown and pushed Favre's stellar day to 32-of-45 for 344 yards and two touchdowns. He now holds the NFL career records for attempts (8,393), completions (5,133) and touchdowns (422), he has moved within 2,656 yards of Marino's mark of 61,361 in that category.

"I've never considered myself as good a quarterback as Dan Marino," said Favre, who also recorded his 50th 300-yard game on Sunday. "I have a tremendous amount of respect for guys like him and guys that played this game before me.

"To be mentioned in the same breath as Dan and those other guys is quite an honor. That's actually more important than the record itself."

Favre also remains two interceptions shy of George Blanda's all-time mark of 277, having not thrown a pick in his last two games. He nearly had one on his first throw on Sunday, when he went deep to Jennings and former Packers safety Darren Sharper came down with the ball near the goal line. But an illegal contact penalty on Antoine Winfield nullified the interception, helping Favre post a 100-plus passer rating (108.0) for the third straight week.

After struggling in the season opener, Favre's three-week run now includes 89 completions in 128 attempts (69.5 percent) for 999 yards with eight touchdowns and just one interception. And most importantly to Favre, all victories.

"There's been so much emphasis on this record and not on the game itself," Favre said. "I did not want us to get blindsided by this record and what we're actually here for. Fortunately it's behind us and we won the game."

 
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