|Packers, Brett Favre brilliant until unraveling after mistakes|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 08 October 2007 12:01|
He cocked and fired to the chagrin of the Packers, and with that, the bad version of Favre re-emerged.
Up 10 midway through the third quarter, Favre was picked off by Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher and Chicago scored on the next play to start a stretch of 17 consecutive points to beat the Packers 27-20 on Sunday night.
The Bears won their fourth straight at Lambeau Field to get a needed win and wreck the Packers' perfect 4-0 mark.
``That was probably his one big error in the game,'' Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Monday.
Favre's folly was the kind of mistake he had become infamous for as the Packers slid from Super Bowl champion to perennial playoff team to recent NFC also-ran over the last decade.
But Favre looked different to the start this season. He dropped a down-the-field approach for a dink-and-dunk management style he'd previously shunned.
And Green Bay began winning - first with four games to end last season 8-8, followed by four more to start 2007. Favre was positioned at the half to start 5-0, something he'd never done in his 17-year career.
Through 4 1/2 games, Favre had completed 68 percent of his passes for 1,448 yards, nine touchdowns and two interceptions.
His passer rating, meant to judge quarterbacks over the course of a season, not games, was 101.7 - better than any of his three consecutive MVP campaigns beginning in 1995.
Then it all fell apart.
Favre had a brutal second half, going 10-of-18 for 79 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions, the last a desperation heave in the waning seconds that tied him with George Blanda for the most all time at 277.
``We got out of a rhythm,'' Favre said. ``It just wasn't clicking.''
While Favre failed, Green Bay set the stage for a collapse early and staggered to the finish late.
The Packers cost themselves at least 11 points and easily could have been up 24-3 at the half or more.
Rookie wide receiver James Jones fumbled twice in Bears territory, once inside the 10, while a penalty, one of 12 the Packers committed, allowed Chicago to take a field goal off the board and score two plays later.
McCarthy didn't say Jones, who has 23 catches for 293 yards this season, would lose his role as the No. 3 receiver, but gave him little reason to hope he'll keep it.
``I'm not going to make any changes today,'' McCarthy said. ``I just felt the way (the fumbles) happened back-to-back, the same exact scenario; it's the common mistakes that I don't have a lot of tolerance for. ... That's the best start of a game that I've been a part of since I've been here. And then for that to happen, two mistakes over and over, you can't have that.''
The veterans didn't help either.
Charles Woodson fumbled a punt return to account for the fifth turnover, and Green Bay has fumbled seven times in the last two games, losing possession five times.
The Packers also lost starting center Scott Wells for at least a week when he broke a bone around his eye after being poked in the third quarter. Jason Spitz took over, and the Packers two-minute offense that had been sharp in the first half looked out of sorts at the end as Spitz and Favre allowed precious seconds to elapse between snaps.
``You can put that on me, maybe not having the rhythm down in the two-minute drill,'' Spitz said. ``Maybe I need to speed that up a little bit, so put that on me.''
McCarthy said there's plenty of blame to go around his whole offensive line, which also allowed Lance Briggs to make 16 tackles while the running game managed just 19 yards in the second half.
``When one linebacker has 16 tackles, there's a problem with that,'' McCarthy said. ``The individual that had the opportunity to block him, whatever play it was, was not getting it done.''
That was the common theme for the Packers, who left the Bears with a better feeling about their slipping season.
``I fully understand how this works,'' McCarthy said. ``We were glorified for four weeks, and now they get it this week, and they deserve it. But we need to clean our own house right now. It's sloppy and we need to get it cleaned up.''