Brett Favre sat silently as his Green Bay teammates anxiously chatted during halftime.
Trailing by 10 points and down to only one healthy tailback, the Packers were desperately searching for an offensive spark. They found the solution in a familiar place.
"I just listened because I knew what we needed to do," Favre said. "And the talk wasn't going to get it done."
Favre led the Pack all the way back in the fourth quarter and Ryan Longwell kicked a 46-yard field goal as time expired, sending the Packers to their fifth straight win, 16-13 over the Houston Texans.
Favre completed 6 of 7 passes for 42 yards on the final drive -- the only incompletion came when he spiked the ball to stop the clock -- to complete Green Bay's rally from a 10-point deficit in the final quarter.
He finished 33 of 50 for 383 yards with two interceptions and a touchdown to Houston native Donald Driver in the fourth period. Driver had quite a homecoming, catching 10 passes for 148 yards.
Favre "gives you confidence that he is going to do something special in those situations," Packers coach Mike Sherman said. "To be able to rely on his leadership and abilities at those times gives us an opportunity to win a game like this."
The Packers sputtered on offense throughout the first three quarters and clearly missed injured star tailback Ahman Green, who was knocked out of the game with a rib injury in the second quarter. He finished with 15 yards on only five carries.
Relying on a third-string tailback (Tony Fisher ) and a guy called up from the practice squad (Walter Williams), Favre was forced to shoulder much of the offensive burden.
"At one point, we were totally out of running backs," Favre said. "We had to alter our game plan some and had to abandon our running game a little bit."
That proved to be a good move.
Favre finally got going in the fourth quarter, leading the Packers on a seven-play, 81-yard drive he capped with a 24-yard touchdown pass to Driver.
Favre made a deft pump fake on the play, fooling rookie cornerback Dunta Robinson and giving Driver a wide-open path into the end zone.
It also extended Favre's streak of games with a touchdown pass to 35 games, second in NFL history to Johnny Unitas' 47 games.
The Packers scored again on Longwell's 38-yard field goal midway through the quarter, tying the game at 13.
Favre failed on his first attempt to break the tie, throwing an interception to Robinson, who was running step for step with receiver Antonio Chatman.
But the Texans went three plays and out for the third straight time, and Favre predictably came through in the clutch.
Green Bay (6-4) stayed tied with Minnesota for first place in the NFC North.
The Texans (4-6) played on national TV for the first time since their inaugural game against the Dallas Cowboys in 2002, a span of 40 games. Houston came through that night with a stunning 19-10 win over the heavily favored Cowboys.
Before a record crowd of 70,769 at buzzing Reliant Stadium, the Texans hoped to summon a little more prime-time magic.
The third-year team came up short, losing its third straight and learning a valuable lesson about letting a veteran team hang around.
"You don't get many chances to play in front of big audiences like tonight," said Andre Johnson, who had 107 yards receiving on six catches. "When you get no points in the second half, you just can't do that, playing against a team like that with Brett Favre."
Texans quarterback David Carr started fast, but finished with a thud.
Midway through the second quarter, Carr connected with Johnson for a 49-yard pass to the Green Bay 6. Carr found Domanick Davis in the flat on the next play for a 7-3 lead.
At halftime, Carr was 8-of-15 for 115 yards. After the break, he went 5-for-11 for 49 yards as the Texans were so bad on offense the crowd started booing. Davis was held to 65 yards on 21 carries -- about right for a team that ranks 31st in yards per carry.
"To go out and not score anything in second half is not acceptable," Texans guard Todd Wade said. "It's embarrassing."
After being decimated by Jake Plummer and Peyton Manning in consecutive weeks, Houston's beleaguered defense held Favre in check for three quarters. The fourth quarter, though, is the one that matters most with Favre: The 14-year veteran engineered his 32nd final-quarter comeback.
Monday, November 22, 2004
Favre Leads Packers To Victory
AP Story, from NFL.com
Posted by Chris at 10:13 AM