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Favre No Longer Feels Burden Of Carrying Offense


When injuries sidelined much of Brett Favre's offensive arsenal, the franchise quarterback felt he had to carry the franchise on the strength of his right arm.

"I had to go over the top to make some plays that weren't there," Favre said. "In some of these games, I don't think I needed to make as many chances as I did."

With that approach Favre made the spectacular play and accumulated 16 touchdowns, including two fourth quarter touchdowns to nearly bring the Packers back from a 32-12 deficit against the Carolina Panthers. But he also pressed, forcing some throws, which helped him rack up 15 interceptions.

Against the Atlanta Falcons, Favre had a strong and efficient game. He never completed a pass longer than 21 yards but finished 26-of-39 for 252 yards, a touchdown and an interception.

Most importantly he did not need to force the action.

"I don't think there was ever a time where I really needed, in my opinion, to go outside of what we try to do and make a play," he said.

The Packers took the pressure off of Favre by using a lot of underneath receiving routes and relying on a strong running game. Those factors kept the Packers out of those difficult-to-convert third-and-long situations.

The emergence of running back Samkon Gado -- who became the first Packer to surpass 100 rushing yards in a game this season -- helped ease Favre's burden.

"He's played well," Favre said of the rookie back who has ascended from practice squad player to NFC Offensive Player of the Week in less than a month. "The reason he's been effective and is still our guy is because he picked up our offense rapidly."

With Gado in tow and quickly mastering the offense, Favre had a new weapon to lean on. And with the Falcons and Packers tied at 14 with 5:19 left in the first half, Favre handed off to Gado three times and passed to him twice. The Packers drove 64 yards in 13 plays for a Ryan Longwell 46-yard field goal to take the lead. Ahead 17-14, they would never trail again.

"That was a great drive," Head Coach Mike Sherman said. "I could watch that thing 100 times."

Such methodical drives could become more commonplace. Najeh Davenport (ankle), Ahman Green (quadriceps tendon), Javon Walker (knee) and Terrence Murphy (neck) will not return this season, but the Packers listed tight end David Martin (groin) and Robert Ferguson (knee) as questionable this week.

"We'll hopefully get a couple of these guys back," Sherman said. "But there is no guarantee."

Even if they do not play on Monday night against the Minnesota Vikings, the coaching staff expects them to return sooner rather than later. And Favre will have more weapons at his disposal and less need to try and make a play when nothing is there.

The Packers, however, always will remain Favre's team.

"If I play well, we have a good chance win," Favre said. "If I don't play well, more than likely we lose or come close to losing."


Quick Hits: With the season past the halfway point and the bye week long gone, Sherman conducted a normal practice but had his players go through plays and drills at a lesser speed on Wednesday. "It was an opportunity to get our legs back," Sherman said. "It will help us be fresher down the road." ... Ahman Green surpassed 1,000 rushing yards in five consecutive years and averaged 4.7 yards entering the season. His numbers this season dropped to 255 yards and 3.3 yards-a-carry. Some pundits suggested the eight-year-veteran had lost a step. Sherman suggested injuries, particularly knee tendonitis, slowed him instead. "Ahman was never 100 percent healthy," he said.

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