With the emergence of rookie James Jones and the return of the reinstated Koren Robinson, Ruvell Martin had slid into the background a bit in the Packers' receiving corps.
But the second-year pro showed his still a viable option for quarterback Brett Favre, notching his first career two-touchdown game in Sunday's 34-0 win over Minnesota.
Martin caught four passes for 57 yards in all, beginning with a 25-yarder out of a five-wide receiver set that helped set up a field goal midway through the second quarter.
The Packers caught the Vikings off-guard a bit with the five-wide alignment, which featured Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, Jones, Robinson and Martin all split out, with an empty backfield and Favre in the shotgun. The first time they showed it came on fourth-and-3 on the offense's opening possession, and the Vikings called a timeout before Robinson made a clutch catch-and-dive to keep the first touchdown drive alive.
"I mean, five-wide? That was crazy, and it was a ton of fun," Martin said. "We have a really close wideout group, so for us to all be on the field at the same time, it was a good feeling. It was just a lot of fun."
Earlier this season when the Packers went with the empty backfield, they did so with either one or two tight ends in the game. Robinson had another catch out of the five-wide alignment late in the second quarter.
Both of Martin's touchdowns came in the second half out of more traditional formations. He caught an 8-yard slant for a TD late in the third quarter on essentially the same play Favre broke the all-time touchdown record with against Minnesota on Sept. 30, and he added a 17-yard TD catch in the fourth quarter for the game's final points.
That capped a 96-yard drive, the Packers' longest of the day, and required a little luck. Favre's throw to the corner of the end zone was almost intercepted, but Minnesota defenders Cedric Griffin and Darren Sharper collided while going for the ball, which deflected up into the air for Martin to snag for the score.
"That was not a good decision, and it was definitely not a good throw," Favre said. "But I will take it. It counts the same."
It was perhaps the strongest confirmation it was simply Green Bay's day on Sunday. And it was a good one for Martin, too, who has battled a back injury and hadn't caught a pass in the past two games (he was inactive for last week's game).
"Talk about bounces going your way," Martin said, noting Denver's fumble on the 1-yard line two weeks ago and Charles Woodson's deflected interception Sunday.
"When you have a good team and you know things are going your way, that's when you win ballgames. Last year a lot of those bounces weren't going our way and this year it seems like all of them are."
Twice in the first half, Head Coach Mike McCarthy took the aggressive approach and bypassed a 50-plus-yard field goal to go for it on fourth down.
Robinson's clutch diving catch and subsequent lunge for the first-down marker converted a fourth-and-3 from the Minnesota 34 on the game's opening possession, and two plays later Ryan Grant burst through a hole off the right side for a 30-yard touchdown.
"I'd like to say I made something happen there, but it was all Koren," Favre said.
Then on the final drive of the first half, the Packers again were on the Minnesota 34, this time needing about a yard and a half on fourth down.
"We were in the gray area," McCarthy said. "I felt we had some rhythm going at that time. I was very comfortable with the call and the down-and-distance. It would have been a stretch to kick it right there."
An 8-yard pass to Driver picked up the first down, though the drive eventually stalled inside the 10 and Mason Crosby kicked his second field goal on the final play of the first half for a 13-0 lead.
Favre became just the second player in NFL history to reach 60,000 career passing yards passing on a short 3-yard completion to Vernand Morency on the opening play of the final drive of the first half.
Dan Marino holds the NFL record with 61,361 passing yards. With 351 yards on Sunday, Favre now has 60,257 career yards and needs just 1,105 to surpass Marino.
Favre also threw his 200th career TD pass at Lambeau Field with a 1-yard toss to Donald Lee in the third quarter. That extended the league's single-stadium record, and with three TD passes on the day, Favre now has 202 at Lambeau.
He also now has 61 career game with at least three TD passes, one behind Marino's record of 62.
Offensive tackle Mark Tauscher, who started his 100th career game on Sunday, left in the second half with an ankle injury, though McCarthy said after the game Tauscher could have returned if needed.
Defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins also "banged his knee," according to McCarthy, though no further update was given.
Favre took a blow to the head on a third-quarter touchdown drive that was ruled a personal foul on Kenechi Udeze. Favre admitted to being a little woozy, but he said he knew everything that was going on and went back in the game for two more series before being replaced by Aaron Rodgers.