Brett Favre: Remembering Favre's Coming Out Party Against The Bengals
Date: Sunday, September 20, 1992
Location: Lambeau Field
Weather: 56 degrees, relative humidity 68%, wind 12 mph
Going into the season, Don Majkowski was the starting quarterback for the Packers. Favre played a little in the Packers' second game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Buccaneers were leading 17–0 at halftime when head coach Mike Holmgren benched Majkowski in favor of Favre, who didn't have a good game that day.
On his first regular season play as a Packer, Favre threw a pass that was deflected and caught by himself. Favre was tackled and the completion went for a loss of seven yards. The Packers ended up losing the game 31–3. Favre managed only 73 yards passing.
Bengal fans remember that Brett Favre's coming out party came at the expense of Cincinnati in the third game of the 1992 season.
Here is what happened in Week Three.
The Bengals came into the game with a record of 2-0 while the Packers were 0-2. Majkowski's starting job was already on thin ice when the game started.
Early on, Majkowski injured a ligament in his ankle. As in the previous week, Favre replaced Majkowski for the remainder of the game.
The Bengals went up 10-0 after Carl Pickens' 95-yard punt return for a touchdown. Meanwhile, Favre was not exactly lighting up the scoreboard. It got so bad that the crowd wanted Holmgren to put in Ty Detmer.
The Packers trailed, 20-10, midway in the fourth quarter, and had gained just 165 yards in their first 10 possessions. At that point, Favre had completed 13 of 28 passes for 130 yards, fumbled four times, and was sacked five times.
The Bengals defensive coordinator back then was Ron Lynn, who underestimated the arm strength of Brett Favre. After taking a 20-10 lead in the fourth quarter, the Bengals mostly only rushed their front four players.
The second tier of players played a zone defense. The safeties were Fernandus Vinson and Darryl Williams, and each were responsible for half the field. This coverage is known as the "Cover 2" but the Bengals were basically playing prevent defense.
In the fourth quarter, Favre got the Pack into the end zone in less than four minutes. The drive covered 88 yards in eight plays.
He hit Sterling Sharpe with a five-yard touchdown pass.
The final drive
The key play in the final drive came when Favre hit Sterling Sharpe with a 42-yard missile. Sharpe caught the ball in front of the Bengals' coaching staff. Sharpe adjusted his body and made a great catch but was injured on the play with separated ribs. Vinson, a seventh-round draft choice from North Carolina State in 1991, was 10 yards away.
Favre then connected with running back Vince Workman for 11 yards to the 35 when he spiked the ball to stop the clock. With just 19 seconds left, Sharpe was replaced by Kitrick Taylor, a Plan B refugee from San Diego who hadn't scored a touchdown in his six-year pro career.
Taylor lined up on the right side next to Jackie Harris. Rookie Robert Brooks and Sanjay Beach were wide left. All four receivers went straight up the field. Bengals cornerback Rod Jones let Taylor release off the line without contact. Favre had time to pump fake to Harris down the middle. The pump fake froze Vinson, who was unable to get to Taylor on the sideline.
By the time Jones turned to chase after Taylor, it was too late. Favre had unleashed a 40-yard strike that hit Taylor in stride as he crossed into the end zone with 13 seconds remaining.
In the end
Each team had three turnovers and many blown chances.
"If we would have won, it would have been the ugliest victory in 20 years in the NFL," said quarterback Boomer Esiason. "They're not the Packers of the '60's, know what I'm saying?"
Little did Esiason know that this game gave birth to one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history.