In Brett Favre’s second comeback news conference, he stated playing for the Minnesota Vikings was not about revenge. Only Favre himself knows if the statement was true or not.
Still, the Vikings 30-23 win in Minnesota in week four made the rematch in Green Bay that much bigger. Minnesota had not swept the Packers since 2005, and Green Bay could show the home fans they made the right choice in Aaron Rodgers.
In Favre’s first return to Lambeau Field as a visitor, his numbers were outstanding. Favre completed 17-of-28 passes for 244 yards and four touchdowns.
Aaron Rodgers, Favre’s counterpart, played just as good as the future Hall-of-Famer. Rodgers completed 26 of 41 passes for 287 yards and three touchdowns.
The current Packers quarterback had more passing yards than the former Packers quarterback primarily because Green Bay was playing from behind for the most part. Minnesota was able to build a 17-3 lead at the half.
To start the second half, the Vikings took the opening kickoff and marched down field to take a 24-3 lead. Just when it looked to be a Minnesota blowout, the Packers came storming back.
Rodgers led the Packers to 17 unanswered points in the third quarter to make the score 24-20 in favor of the Vikings heading in to the fourth quarter. The Green Bay comeback had all the momentum swinging to the home sideline.
That is when No. 4 did what he used to do for the Packers for so many years. Favre lead the Vikings down for a touchdown two minutes into the fourth quarter for a 31-20 lead.
Rodgers, not to be outdone, brought Green Bay right down the field three minutes later for a touchdown to cut the lead to 31-26 after a two-point conversion failed. The aging gunslinger put the final nail in his old team’s coffin with another touchdown with less than four minutes to go for the 38-26 win.
Looking closely at the numbers, there are several reasons why Minnesota won this football game. The first reason was pressure on the quarterback.
The Vikings were able to hit Rodgers 10 times, compared to just four hits the Packers managed on Favre. The biggest number was the number of sacks for both teams. The Vikings had six sacks, and the Packers were not able to sack Favre once.
Another reason for the Packers' loss has to be the lack of a running game. Rodgers was the leading rusher for Green Bay, with 52 yards on five carries. The bulk of Rodgers’ yards coming on a scramble for 35 yards in the fourth quarter.
While Rodgers led his team in rushing, Favre only had to hand the ball to Adrian Peterson to gain yards on the ground. Peterson was able to rush for 97 yards on 25 carries to lead Minnesota in rushing.
The Packers have to find a running game to ease some of the pressure off Rodgers. The Packers quarterback is already the most-hit signal-caller in the league, and if he has to be the running back as well he will not last the whole season.
The final reason for this Packers loss is easy. The job at returning kicks by Percy Harvin for Minnesota. Harvin had five kick returns for 175 yards, and three of his returns set-up a touchdown for Vikings.
Harvin has been an x-factor all season long for the Vikings. He even had a 51-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter while Minnesota was building its first half lead.
With both games against the Packers out of the way, bigger questions loom on the horizon. The Vikings have a bye week after this game, but how will Favre fare for the rest of the season?
Does Brett still care about the rest of this season after beating his old team twice this season? Is the ultimate revenge Favre can give himself a Super Bowl championship?
At 7-1 and with the second best record in the NFC—until the Saints play Monday—the Vikings and Favre will be watched closely all season long. The defense has to play two whole haves and Favre’s health could be an issue. Still, how much Brett wants to rub it in the Packers' nose could be his major motivation.
The second fallout of this whole scenario could be the job security of Packers GM Ted Thompson, the man many believe sent Favre out of town. With every Vikings win and every Green Bay loss, all eyes must turn to Thompson.
Playing the "what-if" game, one has to wonder what will happen with Thompson if the Packers miss the playoffs and the Vikings make a deep playoff run, or win a championship. The heat will only increase with every step Minnesota takes to a playoff berth.
Thompson believes he has built a solid team, and Favre’s end-of-season “will he or won’t he” could no longer be tolerated. Thompson’s biggest fear has to be Favre having one more championship season left in him.
If Favre does win a championship, Thompson will not be alone in this and Packers head coach Mike McCarthy will be on the chopping block with him. Green Bay will have to choose a sacrificial lamb depending on how well the Vikings do this season.
On the other hand, Minnesota GM Rick Spielman and head coach Brad Childress look brilliant so far by taking a chance on Favre. Both will be safe as long as the Vikings make the playoffs and play for at least an NFC Championship.
Lost in all the Thompson versus Favre talk is Rodgers. Replacing a legend is hard, but replacing a legend who is still playing is even harder. Just ask Steve Young.
Rodgers will always be judged by what Favre did as a Packer. Every success the Vikings have only makes it harder for Rodgers to be completely accepted by Packers fans.
If Favre leads Minnesota to a title, even diehard Packers fans will always wonder what if Green Bay had kept No. 4 behind center. This team was so close in 2007 to a Super Bowl berth, another season missing the playoffs will only add more undue pressure on Rodgers.
Either way, Rodgers may not ever be as loved as Favre is in Green Bay. The only way to change those feelings is Brett not winning another Lombardi Trophy and Rodgers bringing one back to Green Bay himself.
Well, Rodgers had better make that two Lombardi Trophies. The NFL is always about one-upping the other guy. So far, Favre is up 3-0, two wins this season, and one NFL championship.
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