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AP Story: Packers Top Chargers, 38-21, In San Diego


The San Diego Chargers got their wish, and boy did Brett Favre make them pay.

Favre threw a season-high four touchdown passes and it was practically like a day at the beach for the Green Bay Packers, who beat the Chargers 38-21 to remain alive in the NFC North title race.

With thousands of Cheeseheads in the crowd of 64,978 chanting "Go, Pack, Go!" throughout the game, Favre, Ahman Green and kicker Ryan Longwell all set franchise records.

The Chargers said last week that they'd much rather see Favre with the ball than Green, because the QB was playing his seventh game since breaking his right thumb.

"I don't blame them. I'm old and washed up," Favre cracked afterward. "That doesn't bother me."

What the Chargers got, though, was vintage Favre.

He threw touch passes and he threw deep, and he even led the Packers (8-6) from behind against one of the NFL's worst teams.

Favre threw three of his TD passes in the fourth quarter after the Packers fell behind the Chargers (3-11). Favre was 23 of 33 for 278 yards.

LaDainian Tomlinson gave the Chargers a 21-17 lead with a spectacular 68-yard catch-and-run with 12:10 to go when he caught a short pass from Drew Brees and zigzagged through the secondary and into the open field.

But Favre has considerable experience at fourth-quarter comebacks -- he has 28 now -- and erased that lead 52 seconds later. Najeh Davenport returned the kickoff 45 yards to the Chargers' 42 and Favre threw a 40-yard TD to Robert Ferguson two plays later. With Longwell's record-setting PAT, the Packers led 24-21.

Favre added a 1-yard TD pass to Green one play after San Diego's Drew Brees was sacked and fumbled, and a 16-yarder to Ferguson with 3:58 to play for a 38-21 lead.

Favre said that one point early in the game, quarterbacks coach Darrell Bevell came up to him on the sideline and asked what he was thinking.

"No big deal," was Favre's reply.

"He didn't know what to say," Favre said. "Then late in the game I said, 'No big deal. Just like I told you earlier, just call them.' Whether you're up or down, I don't ever feel the need to play any different."

Ferguson got behind the coverage on the go-ahead score.

"Robert was aggressive and I had to make a good throw," Favre said.

With Minnesota losing 13-10 at Chicago, the Vikings and Packers are both 8-6 atop the NFC North.

However, the Vikings currently hold the edge based on the fourth tiebreaker, conference records.

Minnesota is 7-4 and the Packers are 7-5. Both teams are finished with their division schedule, and the Packers are done with NFC opponents.

There were five touchdowns in the fourth quarter, including four in the first 6:23.

Green broke the oldest team single-season rushing record in the NFL, eclipsing Hall of Famer Jim Taylor's mark of 1,474 yards set in 1962. Green rushed for 75 yards and one touchdown on 19 carries, plus the TD catch. With two games left, Green has 1,538 yards.

Green needed 12 yards coming in to break Taylor's record, and he got them all, and more, on the opening drive. He broke Taylor's record on a 9-yard run to the Chargers 4, then scored on the next play.

"Our plan was to stop Ahman Green," Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer said. "We also know what the alternative is and we saw what Brett did."

Favre threw at least one TD pass in his 23rd straight game to set the franchise mark. He had been tied with Cecil Isbell, who threw TD passes in 22 straight games during the 1941-42 seasons.

And Longwell had eight points to break Don Hutson's career scoring record. Longwell got his 824th career point on a PAT following Ferguson's 40-yard touchdown catch. Hutson had 823 points in his Hall of Fame career.

Longwell finished with five PATs and a 32-yard field goal, for 826 career points.

Brees, coming off a five-game benching, threw for a career-high 363 yards, completing 28 of 48 passes. But he also was intercepted once and lost two fumbles.

Tomlinson caught 11 passes for 144 yards, two TDs and carried 20 times for 51 yards.

Favre's first TD pass came when he hit Donald Driver for 7 yards for a 17-3 lead with 33 seconds left before halftime.

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