Cheeseheads didn't have to wait long into the first quarter Sunday to see Brett Favre hit Greg Jennings on an inside slant route. The 16-yard touchdown was the 421st in Favre's incredible NFL career and broke the all-time record for touchdown passes, eclipsing the previous record shared with Dan Marino. That it came in the Humptydump and was bundled with a 23 - 16 win over the Vikings made for a scenario that will not be soon forgotten in the land of Cheese.
The Packers' brain trust approached the Vikings game quite predictably. The Vikings are stout against the run and vulnerable against the pass. The Packers have yet to establish any kind of a running game this year, but have awesome aerial firepower when Favre is hot. Hence, Favre's short, accurate throws hardly came as a surprise as they replaced the Packers' running game.
The first half of this game was a hard-hitting defensive struggle for field position. By halftime the Pack had taken a 10 - 6 lead. Led by a ferocious pass rush of Aaron Kampman and Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, the Packer defense bent at times, but didn't break. The Vikings have a stud rookie running back in Adrian Peterson who pierced the Packer defense like no other running back thus far this season. Fortunately for the Packers, the Vikings' play caller decided to give Peterson only 12 carries on the day and by the second half they had all but abandoned their running attack.
So the game evolved into a showdown between Favre and Viking quarterback Kelly Holcomb. On a day when Favre would set the all-time NFL touchdown record, he and the Packers were not to be denied. Favre completed passes for almost 350 yards to 10 different receivers. In the fourth quarter Favre threw a second touchdown pass to rookie James Jones to make the record # 422. A fluke fumble on a handoff exchange gave the Vikings a last-ditch chance to catch up, but Holcomb threw an interception and the game was over.
The Packers are now 4 - 0 and have astounded all the pundits with their success to date. It is hard to be critical of the Pack, but here goes. Right now Favre is on a roll. He is playing as well as he ever did ten years ago when he was the league's Most Valuable Player. But, relying on Favre's passing success and not establishing a good running attack has its risks. The weather will turn shortly and even the rifle arm of Brett Favre can't overcome swirling winds and snowstorms. Hopefully the return of injured running back Vernand Morency will resurrect the running game before the storms begin.
Next week the Chicago Bears visit Lambeau for the Sunday night game. The Bears have horribly underachieved this year. They are banged up with injuries and do not have a quality quarterback on their squad. No one would have ever predicted that they are 1 - 3 at this point and coming into Green Bay as an underdog. Look for the Pack to really try to get their running game going next week against a banged up Bears' defense.