Packers-Bears: Don't Blame Brett Favre
The critics were out in force before the season.
Brett Favre, they said, why don't you just retire? You aren't the gunslinger you once were. You can't execute an offense with a bunch of young receivers and a bad running game.
For goodness sakes, you're as old as your head coach. Give it up and keep bringing in the AARP checks.
After four weeks of what may been Favre's best football ever, those critics were a little less vocal.
Going into Sunday night's game against the Bears, Favre had completed 112 out of 170 passes (65.9 percent) for 1205 yards and eight touchdowns—against only two interceptions.
Those numbers and a talented young defense had yielded a 4-0 record in Green Bay. After Favre broke Dan Marino's all-time touchdown record, the critics couldn't get the size 10 out of their mouths long enough to speak.
After the Packers' first loss, though, the doubters finally have some ammo.
In the third quarter, Favre threw an inexplicable pass into the arms of Brian Urlacher. The throw was borderline crazy, and even Favre admitted it was a mistake.
"I tried to make something out of nothing," the QB said.
The Bears went on to score a touchdown to cut Green Bay's lead to 20-17—and eventually won the game 27-20.
The critics will tell you it's all Favre's fault—even though he torched the Bears defense in the first half (19 for 23 with a TD), only to watch James Jones fumble twice in the red zone.
The truth is that the game should have been over by halftime—the score could have been 31-7 if Jones had hung on to the football.
And Favre didn't get much help from his head coach. In the second half, after watching his Hall-of-Fame quarterback dominate the Chicago secondary for two quarters, Mike McCarthy intelligently decided to run the ball like it was going out of style.
This from a team that had the fewest rushing yards in the NFL—and was facing a stalwart run D to boot.
Sitting on a two-possession lead seems to be popular in the high school, college, and pro coaching ranks.
Unfortunately, it never works. Ever. Period.
It's also not Brett Favre's fault that Charles Woodson fumbled a fourth-quarter punt, which led to another Bears score.
In the end, Favre threw a catchable bomb—if there is such a thing—to Donald Driver in the end zone on the game's final play. Kudos to the Bears defenders who took it away from him.
Favre's final stat line reads as follows: 29-40 for 322 yards, with a TD and two INTs—respectable numbers for a guy who was left out of the offense for much of the second half.
And you're telling me that the loss was his fault...for one bad throw?
Here we go again—Favre's still the same guy, the gunslinger who can never manage a game when the money's on the line.
I even heard one pundit say that when the stakes get high, Favre disappears.
Are you kidding me? This guy must've been under a rock for the past 15 years, because the Brett Favre I've watched always seems to produce in clutch situations.
I'm not trying to peg the loss on Mike McCarthy or James Jones or Charles Woodson. And I'm not trying to deflect all criticism off of Favre; his first interception was atrocious.
But there are two things you can say about folks who blame Brett Favre for Sunday's loss:
Either they've been Favre-haters for years and are pouncing at the first sign of blood...or they didn't watch the game.
Maybe next week, against the Washington Redskins, Favre can find a way to insert that size 10 back where it belongs.
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