Brett Favre still knows how to win big games at Lambeau Field, even if this one came for the enemy and to a chorus of boos.
For the second time in less than a month, Brett Favre sliced up his former team and stuck it to the franchise that cast him aside as the Minnesota Vikings beat the Green Bay Packers 38-26 at Lambeau on Sunday.
If walking out to waves of loud jeers from his former fans threw Favre off his game, it didn't last long. Despite being jeered repeatedly by Packers fans who once cheered his every move, Favre completed 17 of 28 passes for 244 yards and four touchdowns. The Vikings (7-1) took a firm hold on the NFC North standings.
"But Packer fans cheer for the Packers first," Favre said. "I know that. But I hope that everyone in the stadium watching tonight said, 'I sure hate those jokers on the other side, but he does play the way he's always played.'"
Rookie receiver Percy Harvin caught five passes for 84 yards and a touchdown and had five returns for 175 yards, but didn't mind yielding the spotlight to Favre.
"He's played this game a long time, he sees a lot of stuff that a lot of quarterbacks can't see," Harvin said. "And he can make a lot of throws that a lot of quarterbacks can't make. With us being explosive, to add him was like a blessing in disguise."
The Vikings' defense roughed up Favre's successor, Aaron Rodgers, sacking him six times. But with the Packers (4-3) on the verge of getting routed, Rodgers rebounded with three second-half touchdowns.
Rodgers said losing the game to a division rival meant more than being beaten by Favre.
"I hate losing to whoever's the quarterback for them," Rodgers said.
But cornerback Charles Woodson acknowledged the game was significant beyond the division standings.
"I think a lot of people really wanted this one bad," Woodson said. "We let a lot of people down today."
The Packers recognize that their chances of winning the division are fading, but are looking forward to the possibility of facing their rivals again in the playoffs.
"Hopefully, we'll have another crack at these guys down the road," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said.
Already leading 17-3 at halftime, Favre temporarily reverted from game manager to gunslinger on the Vikings' first possession of the second half — and even that worked. Favre threw into triple coverage under pressure and Harvin came down with the ball while Woodson, Atari Bigby and Nick Collins tumbled to the ground like extras in a slapstick comedy as the Vikings took a 24-3 lead.
But Rodgers answered by driving the Packers to three unanswered scores in the third quarter — a field goal and a pair of touchdown passes to tight end Spencer Havner, a linebacker who switched positions in training camp.
Harvin then returned a kickoff 44 yards, Favre hit Harvin for a third-down conversion, and a face mask penalty on Green Bay's B.J. Raji gave the Vikings first-and-goal at the 9. Facing third down at the 2, Favre rolled right and threw to wide open tight end Jeff Dugan to put the Vikings up 31-20 early in the fourth quarter.
Rodgers wasn't finished, scrambling for 35 yards to set up a 10-yard touchdown pass to Greg Jennings. After a failed 2-point conversion attempt, the Packers trailed 31-26 with 10:26 remaining.
Driving with a chance to take the lead, the Packers stalled out and Mason Crosby missed a 51-yard field goal attempt.
Peterson took a screen pass 44 yards down the left sideline to the Green Bay 15. With the Vikings facing third-and-11, Favre threaded a ball through the Green Bay secondary for a touchdown to Bernard Berrian.
Favre left the field surrounded by cameras, pumping his fist to a mix of cheers and boos as he jogged down the tunnel. He hugged cornerback Al Harris, Driver and Jennings.
Despite the final score, it was an awkward homecoming for Favre, whose high-profile standoff with the front office split the loyalties of Packers fans last summer.
There weren't many signs of a split on Sunday.
Fans booed Favre loudly — first when he walked out of the tunnel for pregame warmups, then again when he ran out of the tunnel for the game, and on every snap during the Vikings' first few offensive possessions.
"Welcome back to Lambeau Field, Brent," one fan's sign read.
Vikings coach Brad Childress said Favre did a great job of staying "in body," not letting the charged atmosphere get the best of him.
"We talked a little bit about not doing too much," Childress said.
If Favre didn't realize the extent to which Packers fans have turned on him, he does now.
But even if he's now the enemy, Favre says that doesn't diminish his accomplishments as a Packer — in his mind, anyway.
"What I've done here speaks for itself," Favre said. "What I was part of was awesome. That will never change."
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