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Packers 23, Vikings 16

Record, win sound good to Favre

He breaks tie with Marino for TDs

After throwing his tiebreaking 421st touchdown pass, Green Bay's Brett Favre gives a lift to its recipient, Greg Jennings. After throwing his tiebreaking 421st touchdown pass, Green Bay's Brett Favre gives a lift to its recipient, Greg Jennings. (BOB CERNY/REUTERS)

MINNEAPOLIS - The record is his for now, and Brett Favre can return his focus on two other numbers: 4-0.

To hear him tell it over and over, this is all he has ever worried about: helping Green Bay win.

Favre became the NFL's all-time leader in career touchdown passes with a couple of vintage third-down zingers yesterday, and the Packers stayed unbeaten with a 23-16 victory over the Minnesota Vikings.

"To win, and get this behind us, is a great feeling," said Favre, who threw No. 421 to Greg Jennings in the first quarter to break a tie with Dan Marino, and added No. 422 in the fourth quarter to rookie James Jones.

He also went interception-free against a defense determined to make him the league's all-time leader in that category. Favre remained three picked-off passes away from topping George Blanda on the career list.

"It feels great, but I've never considered myself as good a quarterback as Dan Marino," Favre said. "Dan was a hero of mine. To be mentioned in the same breath as Dan and other guys really makes it special."

Ever the jubilant celebrator, Favre sprinted to the end zone and hoisted Jennings on his left shoulder. He joined in hugs with his teammates on the sideline, as thousands of Packers faithful who made the trip from Wisconsin cheered loudly.

Even those dressed in purple stood and applauded when the announcement was made, and a taped message from Marino was played to congratulate Favre, who finished 32 of 45 for 344 yards, the 50th time he's topped 300 yards in his career.

The soon-to-be 38-year-old also holds the marks for career completions and consecutive starts by a quarterback, which hit 241 yesterday, moving him past former Vikings center Mick Tingelhoff into second place on the list for all players. Former Vikings defensive end Jim Marshall holds the all-time mark with 270 consecutive starts.

Late in the second quarter, Favre broke another Marino record when he threw the 8,359th pass of his career, and is also within shouting distance of Marino's record for yards passing.

Kelly Holcomb is, well, not quite in Favre's class.

He threw a touchdown pass to Sidney Rice with 1:55 left to pull the Vikings (1-3) within 7, and a nearly disastrous fumble gave Minnesota a chance to tie it.

Favre's handoff to Ryan Grant wasn't clean, and Chad Greenway fell on it at the Minnesota 46. But Holcomb's tipped pass from the Packers 34 was intercepted by Atari Bigby. Holcomb went 21 of 39 for 258 yards, but those numbers were boosted by the late rally.

Adrian Peterson rushed 12 times for 112 yards and had a 51-yard kickoff return in the second half, and Chester Taylor ripped off a 37-yard run, too. All Minnesota had to show for all that in the first 58 minutes was Ryan Longwell's three field goals.

"I'd be lying to say we're not disappointed," Peterson said.

The Packers don't really have a running game this season. Punter Jon Ryan had the longest carry in the first three quarters, a 7-yard dance on a called fake that made several Vikings miss and extended the opening drive of the second half.

Favre fired a 16-yard pass to a wide-open Ruvell Martin on third and 11 and moved the Packers close enough for a 44-yard field goal by Mason Crosby, who went 3 for 3.

The Packers applied a strong, steady rush, and Holcomb didn't show much poise in the pocket. He threw balls into the line, held onto others too long, and nearly had multiple interceptions.

As if Green Bay needed more reason to appreciate Favre.

"I'm so glad we won the game. There was so much emphasis on this record and not the game itself," Favre said. "Everyone's like, 'What are you going to do? Are you going to have a big celebration?' Put yourself in my shoes. I want to help this team win."

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