December 16, 2007
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- A simple slant pattern to his favorite receiver gave Brett Favre yet another record in a milestone season. It's been a pretty big year for the Green Bay Packers, too, who clinched a first-round playoff bye.
Favre threw for 227 yards and two touchdowns, eclipsing Dan Marino to become the NFL career leader in yards passing, in a 33-14 victory over the St. Louis Rams on Sunday. Greg Jennings and Donald Lee caught scoring passes and kicker Mason Crosby was 4-for-4 from 44, 50, 25 and 46 yards for Green Bay, which needed only to win for the first-round bye after the Seahawks lost 13-10 to the Panthers.
Green Bay, which earned the first-round bye for the first time since 1997, also kept pace with the Cowboys for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
The Packers (12-2) are 6-1 on the road, and prevailed in a sold-out Edward Jones Dome that appeared to be half-filled with Cheeseheads who filled the downtown streets in the hours before kickoff. When Favre set the record on a 7-yard toss to Donald Driver on the Packers' first drive of the fourth quarter, he had all the fans rooting for him with flashbulbs popping from every corner of the stadium.
Favre was 19-for-30, throwing his 25th and 26th touchdown passes, with two interceptions. He entered the day needing 184 yards to pass Marino.
Steven Jackson had 143 yards on 23 carries for the Rams (3-11), who are 1-6 at home. The Rams fizzled after tying it at 14 on Jackson's 46-yard run early in the second quarter.
Atari Bigby had two interceptions and Nick Barnett had two of the Packers' four sacks of Marc Bulger, back after missing two games with a concussion. Mistakes kept the Rams scoreless after the break.
The 38-year-old Favre, a three-time NFL MVP, pulled 1 yard behind Marino with a 44-yard touchdown pass to Jennings when he caught the Rams in a blitz. That put the Green Bay Packers ahead 27-14 in the third quarter.
He passed Marino on the first play of the Packers' next series with 23 seconds gone in the fourth quarter. The game was halted for a few minutes, public address announcer Jim Holder acknowledged the record. Driver hugged Favre, who shook hands with referee Ron Winter.
Marino passed for 61,361 yards in 17 seasons. Favre, who now has 61,405 yards, also is in his 17th season while enjoying a year comparable to his peak production.
Favre also hit Donald Lee on a 4-yard touchdown pass early in the second quarter. He had 440 touchdown passes after breaking another mark that belonged to Marino with his 421st at Minnesota on Sept. 30.
He topped John Elway's career record for victories by a starting quarterback with his 149th at New York on Sept. 16.
Favre entered the game on pace to surpass his personal best of 4,413 yards in 1995 and challenge Lynn Dickey's franchise record of 4,458 yards set in 1983.
Favre was flawless early, completing his first nine passes to eight receivers for 95 yards. The early run ended when Ron Bartell broke up a pass intended for Lee with 5:47 left in the first half.
He needs four touchdown passes in the last two games to add to his own NFL record by throwing 30 or more in nine seasons. Sunday was Favre's 251th consecutive regular-season start, or 271st counting the playoffs -- both records for a quarterback.
Only former Minnesota Vikings defensive lineman Jim Marshall has started more regular-season games (270) in a row.
Jackson, who had 90 or more yards rushing each of the last four games, had 103 yards on 13 carries at halftime for his first 100-yard effort since Week 3.
The Rams tied it twice in the first half, on Torry Holt's 4-yard catch and when Jackson capitalized on a blitz and split the safeties on a 46-yard run.