Notebook: Stumbling Pass A Favre Classic

Such plays looked more graceful 10 years ago for Brett Favre, but his scrambling, stumbling, underhanded completion on Saturday was no less impressive, and important. With the Packers leading 21-17 in the final two minutes of the second quarter, Favre made one of those humorous yet awe-inspiring plays to keep a crucial scoring drive alive. - More Audio | Video | Packers-Seahawks Game Center

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Such plays looked more graceful 10 years ago for Brett Favre, but his scrambling, stumbling, underhanded completion on Saturday was no less impressive, and important.

With the Packers leading 21-17 in the final two minutes of the second quarter, Favre made one of those humorous yet awe-inspiring plays to keep a crucial scoring drive alive.

The Packers faced a third-and-8 from the Seattle 14-yard line. Under pressure for one of the rare times in the game, Favre spun out of a near-sack by Seattle's Brandon Mebane and then stumbled step after step toward the sideline. It looked as though he was going to go down face-first into the snowy Lambeau Field turf, but he managed to regain enough balance to underhand a pass to Donald Lee for an 11-yard gain and a first down.

"That looked bad," Favre said. "Thank God I got it off and got it completed. It was one of those, ... I'm sure watching it, it looked slow and unathletic."

But it was productive. Ryan Grant ran it in from the 3 on the next play to put the Packers ahead 28-17 at halftime in their eventual 42-20 NFC Divisional playoff win.

Favre admitted he didn't think he'd be able to hold his balance long enough to get the ball off, but when he did and saw Lee catch it, he said he was the most excited person in the stadium.

"I'm not quite as nimble as I once was, so when I spun out, I tripped over someone -- may have been my own feet, which has happened," Favre said. "All I could think about was ... man, if I didn't trip I knew I had a lot of room to run and just make a play. Whether someone would come open or not, I had no idea, but I was not going to give myself a chance looking at the ground."

Fortunately he got a look at Lee, who originally had stayed in to block but eventually released and gave his quarterback a chance to make the play by finding an opening near the first-down marker.

"I knew as long as I didn't see a man on the ground, he wasn't going to give up, and right then my instincts just kicked in -- to get open," Lee said. "I got open and I saw him stumble, and I was like, 'Man, just please look up.'"

Favre did, and "just gave him the old usual underhand toss," he joked. "We practice that play all the time."

In all seriousness, though, Favre figured the conversion had to deflate the Seahawks, who had a chance to go in at halftime only down seven points if they hold the Packers to a field goal there.

"What a backbreaker, really," Favre said. "If I did that play 10 times, nine times I probably fall flat on my face or it falls incomplete. If you're sitting on their sidelines, as I would have felt had I saw that happen to us, it's like, 'Ah, what do we have to do?'

"It was a big play for a lot of reasons."

Inches away

Head Coach Mike McCarthy has been relatively successful on his replay challenges this season, and he won another critical one early in Saturday's game.

With the Packers trailing 14-7 late in the first quarter but having recaptured some momentum, Favre hit Bubba Franks on a third-and-7 pass play. Franks reached the ball out with his left arm as he was being tackled, and the initial spot and measurement put the ball just inches shy of a first down.

But, with Favre and McCarthy looking at the replay on the scoreboard JumboTron, and McCarthy communicating with the coaches upstairs, he decided to challenge the spot. The new ruling moved the ball forward only a few inches, but it was enough for the first down to keep the drive going.

Six plays later, the Packers were in the end zone again, tying the score at 14 with 1:02 left in the opening quarter.

"That was a big play because we had a lot of momentum as a football team, coming back," said McCarthy, who was 4-for-9 on replay challenges during the regular season. "It continued that drive. It was one of the bigger plays in the game in my opinion."

McCarthy admitted he probably would have punted the ball had the Packers not gotten the first down there.

More redemption

Brandon Jackson's redemption on Saturday was not as dramatic as Grant's, but it was significant nonetheless.

Early in the second quarter with the Packers ahead 21-14, Jackson was called for roughing the punter when he ran into Ryan Plackemeier, giving the Seahawks a first down at the Green Bay 48-yard line. Fortunately, the reprieve only resulted in a field goal for Seattle, so the Packers remained ahead.

But Jackson got a chance to redeem himself anyway, catching a swing pass in the third quarter for a 13-yard touchdown that put the Packers ahead 35-17. He also had a 10-yard run to make it first-and-goal one play after Grant's 43-yard run at the end of the third quarter. Grant eventually scored his third rushing TD of the day.

Jackson finished with eight carries for 34 yards (plus the one reception) as the Packers set a franchise postseason record with 235 yards rushing, surpassing the 223 posted at Philadelphia on Dec. 26, 1960.

{sportsad300}More records for No. 4

Favre moved into second place on the all-time postseason passing yardage list, surpassing John Elway (4,964). With his 173 yards on Saturday, Favre now has 5,075 passing yards in the postseason.

His 11-yard pass to Greg Jennings to pick up a first down late in the second quarter put Favre over 5,000, making him only the second quarterback over that milestone, along with Joe Montana (5,772).

Favre also threw a touchdown pass in his 17th consecutive playoff game, extending his own NFL record.

Scoring barrage

The two teams' combined 28 points in the first quarter (the score was tied 14-14) tied an all-time NFL postseason record for points in the opening period. The Oakland-Houston AFC Divisional game in 1969 also had 28 first-quarter points.

The 28 first-quarter points were the most ever in an NFC playoff game. The previous NFC mark was 21, accomplished twice.

The Packers' 28 points in the first half tied a franchise postseason mark, matching the 28 they scored in a 41-16 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals in a 1982 NFC first-round game, played Jan. 8, 1983.

The 42 total points by the Packers broke the franchise mark set in that game.

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