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Teammates Amazed By Favre's Performance


His eyes bloodshot, Green Bay Packers guard Mike Wahle sat in the visiting locker room at Network Associates Coliseum late Monday night and tried to put into words what he had just witnessed.

He tried to explain how in a 41-7 romp of the Oakland Raiders, quarterback Brett Favre had turned in one of the best performances of his career just over 24 hours removed from the death of his father, Irvin Favre, Sunday.

And, eventually, if difficultly, the words came out.

"It's just unbelievable," Wahle said shaking his head. "I just can't believe he went out and did what he did today. You know, you're so sad for him, but you're so damn proud of him.

"So heroic. You can't really say enough about it. In 10, 20 years, I don't know if I'll ever see something like that again. It was friggin' unbelievable. I don't know what else to say."

And, really, what more was there to say?

Sunday afternoon, Favre learned that he had lost his father to a heart attack at the age of 58. Monday night, he bottled his anguish, stomached his pain and threw for 399 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions.

In doing so he not only demonstrated once again his incredible toughness, he also led the Packers to a crucial win that allowed them to keep pace with the Minnesota Vikings and the Seattle Seahawks in the race for two potential playoff spots.

"You couldn't draw up a script better than what was drawn up today," GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman said after the game. "You hope when you leave the tunnel and you take the field that he's going to play that type of game, but the chances that happen, unless it's Brett Favre, are probably unlikely."

Throughout his career Favre has earned a reputation for playing through pain.

Through a separated shoulder in 1992, through a severely sprained ankle in 1995, through elbow tendonitis in 2000, through torn knee ligaments in 2002, through a broken thumb in his throwing hand this season, Favre has remained in the lineup.

Heading into Monday's game, Favre had started 204 consecutive contests, including playoffs.

But start No. 205 was something different, because for the first time in his life, Favre was playing with a wound that will never fully heal.

"For him to come out and play this game, he's a better man than most of us on this team," wide receiver Donald Driver said. "We knew that we had to go out and get him everything that he wanted. He wanted this game as bad as we did, and we did it for his dad."

From pregame introductions, when the notoriously inhospitable fans in the Black Hole gave the three-time NFL MVP a standing ovation, the spotlight clearly belonged to Favre.

But his teammates came to play as well.

Wesley Walls and Robert Ferguson each had diving catches. Javon Walker twice pulled down passes while sandwiched between Raiders defenders. Tony Fisher took a screen pass on third-and-12 and fought through tackles to make it a 32-yard gain.

"You look around this locker room, each guy to a man felt like we helped him out," Walls said, still smiling from making his first touchdown reception in a Packers uniform.

"It's an incredible feeling. To first win a game that we had to have, (and) to go out and help your friend who has given so much to this team."

And continues to give.

Monday night, Favre completed passes to 12 different receivers, racked up a personal-best 311 yards passing in the first half en route to 399 for the game, which was just 3 yards shy of his career high.

His passer rating of 154.9 was just off the maximum 158.3. His four touchdowns were just off of his personal best of five.

"He was on fire," offensive tackle Mark Tauscher said. "Everything he did was right on the money. I think his focus and his execution were at an all-time high."

Backup quarter Doug Pederson called Favre's performance "awesome." Kicker Ryan Longwell termed it "Favre-esque."

And wide receiver Antonio Freeman, who has been on the receiving end of more Favre touchdown passes than any other player, said that he'd never seen a more impressive performance.

"With what's gone on in his life in the past 40 hours, you can't compare it," Freeman said. "Nothing's comparable."

Which is probably why so many players struggled just to comprehend it. Even as it was happening.

Said Wahle, "I remember in the first half I was just thinking to myself, 'You never want a guy to be in that situation, but in 10 years I'm going to be pretty damn proud I was part of this game,' because it was something special."

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