ST. LOUIS (AP) -As Brett Favre closes in on Dan Marino's career yardage record, Marc Bulger is more impressed by the iron-man run the Green Bay Packers quarterback will take into yet another game day.
The Packers (11-2) will try to clinch a first-round playoff bye in Favre's 251st consecutive start, or 271 if you're counting playoff games, too.
Meanwhile, Bulger has missed four games this season for the St. Louis Rams, two each with broken ribs and a concussion. So the Rams quarterback has a special appreciation for the body of work Favre has compiled, often with a body that's cried for time off.
Bulger thinks Favre's consecutive game streak is a record that won't be broken.
``I'm sure there's a lot of times he's played when he shouldn't have,'' Bulger said. ``I'm not a huge sports junkie, but I admire that record more than anything. It hits home to me.
``How he's able to do it, I have no clue.''
Favre needs 184 yards passing to eclipse Marino's career mark of 61,361. At 38, he's on pace to top his personal best of 4,413 yards in 1995 and challenge Lynn Dickey's franchise record of 4,458 yards set in 1983. He also needs six touchdown passes in the last three games to add to his own NFL record by throwing 30 or more in nine seasons.
He broke Marino's career touchdown pass record with his 421st at Minnesota on Sept. 30 and topped John Elway's career record for victories by a starting quarterback with his 149th at New York on Sept. 16.
The Packers' success makes it all the more satisfying for Favre. After going 8-8 last year, they're among the top teams in the NFL and clinched the NFC North last week, the earliest for the franchise since 2002.
During preseason, Favre said this was the most talented team he's ever played for. It hasn't hurt that the Packers have stayed healthy, with all of their starters still playing.
``Luck is a big part of this game,'' Favre said. ``You lose one guy, if it's the right guy, it can be devastating.
``You can lose a couple guys and get away with it if they're replaceable.''
Besides Favre's golden arm, the offense features running back Ryan Grant, who leads the NFL with 717 yards rushing since Week 8, and a stout defense rated ninth overall.
``It's been put together rather quickly, the chemistry has materialized,'' Favre said. ``I would have never thought as I stand here today that we would be not only in position to possibly win 14 games, but to break all these records.''
Among those marveling at his exploits are Rams coach Scott Linehan and defensive coordinator Jim Haslett. Linehan saw Favre twice a year when he was offensive coordinator for the Vikings for two years in 2004-05, and swears he hasn't changed.
``He always seems to be one of those guys that have a way of making plays not many people can make,'' Linehan said. ``The difference this year is he's really limited the turnovers.''
Haslett called Favre the best quarterback he's ever seen, repeating the statement a couple of times for emphasis.
``I admire the guy just watching on film,'' Haslett said. ``I love the guy. I think he's the best that ever played, I really do.''
Meanwhile, the Rams (3-10) are winding up a forgettable year with a skeleton crew of regulars. There are 11 players on injured reserve, including three offensive line starters, top pass rusher Leonard Little, mobile linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa, cornerback Tye Hill and kick returner Dante Hall.
Bulger appears on track to return after missing two games with a concussion, practicing Wednesday and Thursday with no setbacks.
``Marc threw well and looked good,'' Linehan said Thursday. ``Things look real positive for Sunday.''
That would at least give the Rams, who had to elevate Brock Berlin from the practice squad to start last week's 19-10 loss at Cincinnati, a fighting chance. The franchise also has stability in its favor after team president John Shaw said earlier in the week that Linehan will get a third season to get the Rams back to contending status.
Shaw's reasoning: It's unfair to judge Linehan's performance this year because of all the injuries, and because the team has not given up.
``We've had tons of people hurt,'' linebacker Chris Draft said. ``When people start turning on each other, that's when you have problems, but that hasn't happened here. You can't tell if we're 10-3 or 3-10 from the practices.''

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