More Records On Horizon For Favre, Packers

Heading into Sunday’s game at St. Louis, Favre needs just 184 yards to surpass Dan Marino’s NFL mark of 61,361 passing yards that has stood since 1999. - More Audio | Video | Packers-Rams Game Center Notebook: Packers Not Ready To Relax Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Dec. 12


Either Brett Favre setting NFL records has become so commonplace it's blasé, or Favre has sufficiently deflected the credit and directed the conversation for his previous achievements to the team as a whole that there's less focus specifically on him.

Whichever is the stronger truth, it was a telling state of Favre and the Packers on Wednesday when the future Hall of Fame quarterback addressed the media in an 18-minute press conference and wasn't once asked about the NFL career record for passing yardage he's about to set.

Heading into Sunday's game at St. Louis, Favre needs just 184 yards to surpass Dan Marino's NFL mark of 61,361 passing yards that has stood since 1999. Over the past two seasons, while breaking Marino's records for passing attempts, completions and touchdowns, along with George Blanda's mark for interceptions and John Elway's for victories under center, Favre has tried to downplay each one.

But when he entered the season needing 3,862 yards to top Marino, it was no given by any means. Though Favre had thrown for more than that total in 10 of his first 15 seasons as Green Bay's starter, there were plenty of questions about how much he had left and whether he could still put up elite statistics.

But while Favre has answered those questions with an MVP-caliber season -- and barring injury is likely to break Marino's yardage record sometime in the second half on Sunday -- it's also true that he's said many times the record that probably means the most to him is the one for victories, because it's a team accomplishment.

Perhaps then it's fitting that the only records discussed during his weekly press conference Wednesday were two team marks Favre and the Packers have a shot at in these final three weeks of the regular season.

The first is for wins. With three more victories, the 2007 Packers would become the first team in franchise history to post 14 regular-season wins. The two Super Bowl teams Favre played on in 1996 and 1997 both went 13-3 in the regular season.

The other is the franchise record for points. That 1996 Super Bowl championship squad scored 456 points during the regular season, and this year's team sits at 361, needing to average 32 points per game over the final three weeks to hit 457.

Asked about those, Favre pointed to the talent he has around him on offense, and that he's developed more chemistry and trust with that talent. Whereas last year Favre said he'd probably try to force a pass to a double-covered Donald Driver, he has done a better job utilizing all his weapons in the passing game this season.

"It's a matter of making plays and confidence from my end," Favre said. "It's a good blend right now, and it's happened pretty quickly obviously."

While Driver still leads the team in receptions (73) and yards (936), Greg Jennings leads in touchdowns (11), tight end Donald Lee has as many catches (46) as Jennings, and rookie receiver James Jones is right behind them (43).

One undeniable and invaluable factor in the offense's prowess that has also helped Favre close quickly on Marino's yardage record is his receivers' yards after the catch.

Approximately 52 percent of Favre's 3,678 passing yards this season have come after the catch, as the Packers have made big plays both on short routes that turn into long runs and long throws that become huge gains when the receiver gets behind the entire defense.

"When teams have blitzed or played zone we've made them pay with yards after the catch," Favre said. "I think our guys are as good as there's ever been at making people miss. They're hard to tackle.

"I tell people you could put Donald (Driver) in a phone booth with 11 guys and it would take them 5 minutes to touch him."

{sportsad300}That percentage of yards after the catch relative to the team's passing total is tops in the league, and while Driver has been the old pro at it, the others have followed his lead and learned some of his moves.

"I think in this offense you have to pride yourself on that," Jones said. "But I think we've just got a lot of tough guys on this team that once we get the ball in our hands, we want to make something big. We want to turn those 5-yard catches into 50-yard catches. So I think that has a lot to do with the receiving corps we've got, the mental toughness we've got to make big plays."

Though there's no way to control it, it would make sense if the pass to break Marino's yardage record is a short one that a receiver turns into a big gain with a dodging, darting run upfield.

There certainly won't be as much fanfare with this record as with the touchdown one in Minnesota, and if the game is stopped at all it will be simply to retrieve the record-breaking ball that was thrown.

That will be fine with Favre. He'd much rather focus on chalking up another victory and improving the team's playoff position, and if the franchise records for wins and points in a season become more possible in the process, all the better. But whether he's asked about them or not, they're all nothing more than convenient distractions for what matters most.

"I would have never thought as I stand here today that we would be not only in a position to possibly win 14 games but to break all these records," Favre said. "But the bottom line is what happens in the end."

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