Favre comes up short at Lambeau
It looked like one of Brett Favre's old comebacks with the Green Bay Packers, and now he'd done it to them. At Lambeau Field, too.
Then came a replay review that wiped out a Minnesota Vikings touchdown — and finally a win for the Packers over their former quarterback.
Favre threw three second-half interceptions and the Packers held on to beat the Vikings 28-24 on Sunday night in Green Bay.
"It's devastating," Favre said. "I don't know how else to put it. I take a lot of pride and ownership in all phases of the game. You've got the ball in your hand, you hope to win those. You just feel like you let everybody down."
Favre appeared to deliver another signature comeback win with an apparent touchdown strike to Percy Harvin with 48 seconds left — but the score was overturned when a replay review determined the wide receiver came down with one foot out of bounds.
Down to his last chance on fourth-and-15 at the 20, Favre threw incomplete.
"A little payback don't hurt," linebacker Desmond Bishop said.
Green Bay turned Favre's two third-quarter interceptions into touchdowns that erased the Vikings' halftime lead, including a 32-yard return by Bishop. It was the ninth interception that was returned for a touchdown in the league on Sunday.
"You can't throw it to them, you've got to play within the confines of our system," Vikings coach Brad Childress said. "Sometimes it's OK to punt the football. You can't give seven points going the other way, not in a game like this."
Favre came up limping after throwing an interception early in the third quarter. Childress said he "did have a thought" about taking Favre out of the game but never approached him about it.
"I was going to give him that next series and he took us and moved us down the field," Childress said.
Aaron Rodgers was 21 of 34 for 295 yards and two touchdowns for Green Bay. He also threw a pair of costly first-half interceptions — uncharacteristic mistakes for a quarterback known for good decision-making in the red zone.
"The crowd was electric, we needed this win," Rodgers said. "It's a long season, but we had to have this one."
Adrian Peterson rushed for 131 yards for the Vikings (2-4). Favre was 16 of 29 for 212 yards with a touchdown and the three interceptions.
It was Favre's second trip back to Lambeau Field as a Viking, but the buildup to this year's game wasn't quite as intense as last year's matchups. Favre led the Vikings to a pair of wins over the Packers last year, looking sharp in the process.
Fans booed Favre again when he took the field.
But both teams are off to disappointing starts this season, a much bigger concern than the division rivalry or the Favre-driven circus.
Favre has pressing personal concerns as well. He's currently in the middle of an NFL investigation into allegations that he sent lewd photographs and suggestive messages to a female New York Jets employee in 2008. Favre met with an NFL security official during the week but has not publicly addressed the allegations, which were posted on the Deadspin website.
Still, he almost managed to put it all aside and pull off a comeback.
With the Packers leading by four late in the fourth quarter, the Vikings relied heavily on Peterson and the running game on their final drive. Facing fourth-and-5 at the Green Bay 48 with 1:51 left, Favre found Randy Moss for a 13-yard gain.
Then the Packers finally sacked Favre, with Jarius Wynn hitting Favre for a six-yard loss.
Favre hit Peterson on a screen pass for 26 yards, giving the Vikings a first down at the Packers 15.
Minnesota was called for a false start and a facemask penalty, but Favre then threw the pass to Harvin and the Vikings began celebrating wildly — but the play was reviewed, and officials ruled Harvin didn't get both feet in bounds.
Favre then was pressured on the Vikings' last two chances, and his throws were incomplete.
Minnesota led 17-14 at halftime, but Favre threw an interception to A.J. Hawk as he was hit hard by linebacker Brad Jones — leaving Favre limping and the Packers in good field position. Rodgers marched the Packers for a 14-yard touchdown strike to Greg Jennings, giving the Packers a 21-17 lead.
Favre made an even bigger mistake on the Vikings' next possession. Again under pass rush pressure from a team that failed to sack him in either game last season, Favre threw the ball straight to Bishop — and Bishop ran it back to give the Packers a 28-17 lead.
But Favre wasn't finished, hitting on a long gain to Harvin that set up a four-yard touchdown pass to Moss, cutting the lead to 28-24 with 4:12 left in the third quarter.
Running back John Kuhn converted a fourth-and-1 play to keep the Packers' next possession alive, but the drive stalled when the Packers went for it again on fourth-and-inches and Kuhn came up short.
Favre drove the Vikings deep into Packers territory in the fourth quarter. But on third-and-7 at the Green Bay 35, Packers safety Nick Collins broke on a pass intended for Harvin and picked it off, ending the Vikings' scoring threat until their final drive came up just short.