Favre ties Marino with 420th TD pass
AP Sports Writer
GREEN BAY, Wis. – Brett Favre’s 420th career touchdown pass meant more than just drawing even with Dan Marino.
The 57-yard completion to Greg Jennings, with just over two minutes remaining, tied Marino’s all-time NFL record for career TD passes and rallied the Packers past the San Diego Chargers on their way to a 31-24 victory.
Favre’s 38th career fourth-quarter comeback came one series after the Chargers defense stopped Favre and the undefeated Packers (3-0) cold on fourth-and-goal.
It also spoiled a breakout game for Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, who started 15-for-15 to tie Dan Fouts’ franchise record for consecutive completions and drove the Chargers to take the lead in the third quarter.
With the Chargers (1-2) behind by three points to begin the second half, Rivers drove the Chargers deep into Packers territory, then threw a swing pass to LaDainian Tomlinson, who ran 21 yards to give San Diego a 21-17 lead early in the third quarter.
Favre and the Packers threatened the Chargers with a drive in the fourth quarter, but San Diego’s defense stopped wide receiver James Jones short on fourth-and-goal to preserve the lead.
The Chargers’ offense was backed up in its own end zone, but an 18-yard completion to tight end Antonio Gates gave them some room.
Still, the Chargers were forced to punt and the Packers over at their own 43 with 2:18 remaining and one time out left.
After throwing incomplete for tight end Bubba Franks, Favre reared back and threw a slant pass to Jennings, who streaked into the end zone to give the Packers the lead, and give Favre yet another piece of history.
Packers linebacker Nick Barnett intercepted Rivers on the Chargers’ next possession, running 38 yards to the San Diego 2. Brandon Jackson ran for a touchdown from the 1, putting the Packers ahead 31-21.
The Chargers drove for a 44-yard field goal by Nate Kaeding to cut the lead to 7 with 20 seconds left in the game. But Packers receiver Donald Driver covered the onside kick attempt to preserve the victory.
Driver, Favre’s favorite target, had a big day despite getting his helmet knocked off on a hard hit by Chargers defensive back Marlon McCree early in the first quarter. Driver caught six passes for 126 yards, including a touchdown pass in the second quarter. Favre finished 28-of-35 for 369 yards and three touchdowns.
Just a week ago, Favre led the Packers to a road victory over the New York Giants for his 149th win as a starter, passing John Elway’s all-time record.
Favre started his quarterback-record 240th consecutive game on Sunday, tying him for second on the all-time list with former Minnesota center Mick Tingelhoff. Former Minnesota defensive end Jim Marshall holds the all-time mark with 270 consecutive starts.
Including the playoffs, Favre has started 250 games.
Favre threw two touchdown passes to power the Packers to a 17-14 halftime lead.
The first went to Driver, who dove and stretched his arms to catch a lob from Favre to put the Packers ahead 10-7 in the second quarter. The second went to Franks, allowing the veteran to redeem himself for dropping a potential touchdown pass in the first quarter that forced the Packers to settle for a field goal.
That play also followed another classic – but not-so-glamorous – Favre moment. Facing first-and-goal at the Chargers’ 5, Favre began to scramble and tried to pump fake, only to watch the ball pop out of his hands for an apparent fumble that was recovered by the Chargers.
A replay determined his arm was in motion when the ball popped out, and the play was ruled an incomplete pass. On second-and-goal, Favre found Franks in the left-front corner of the end zone.
The Chargers scored on a 27-yard pass from Rivers to Vincent Jackson on their first possession and a 9-yard pass from Rivers to wide receiver Buster Davis on their final possession of the first half.
Despite scoring a touchdown through the air, Tomlinson again struggled to find room to run, carrying 22 times for 62 yards. The reigning MVP came into Sunday’s game averaging 1.9 yards per carry.
Rivers was 27-of-36 for 306 yards, with three touchdowns and the late interception. Gates caught 11 passes for 113 yards.