|Brett Favre (left) and Aaron Rodgers part ways after their teams continued headed in opposite directions. (Jim Mone/Associated Press)|
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Players question commitment after blowout loss to Packers
Brett Favre looked ready for retirement, with six likely meaningless games now left for Minnesota in the epilogue of his 20-year career.
Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay’s swarming defense sure made it clear who’s in charge of this rivalry right now.
Rodgers went 22 of 31 for 301 yards, with three of his four touchdown passes going to Greg Jennings. He beat Favre for the second time this season as the Packers took a 31-3 victory over the imploding Vikings yesterday in Minneapolis.
“This has got me at a loss for words,’’ Favre began his postgame news conference. “Disappointing would be an understatement.’’
The Packers (7-3) emerged fresh from their bye week and kept pace in the NFC North race with the Bears, ruining any realistic hope the Vikings (3-7) had left for another shot at the Super Bowl.
The teams’ 100th meeting, likely the last for the 41-year-old Favre, was marked by costly turnovers, untimely penalties, and even some sideline shouting by the frustrated Vikings to cast further doubt on coach Brad Childress’s future with the team.
Owner Zygi Wilf walked sternly out of a silent locker room without commenting.
“I can’t really talk about that,’’ Childress said, “because that’s not my decision going forward.’’
Childress said he didn’t think the Vikings quit, but some players wondered aloud whether everyone’s effort was there. Tight end Visanthe Shiancoe, who chucked his helmet in disgust after a failed fourth down early in the fourth quarter, was the most outspoken.
“If you see something that you have flaws in or you’re not good at, you have to stay extra,’’ Shiancoe said. “You have to work at it, correct these mistakes that we’re making.’’
As for Favre’s future?
The quarterback insisted he’s committed to the team and the rest of the season, despite failing to directly answer questions about whether he wants to finish it and vaguely saying he planned to “reevaluate’’ the situation today.
“I’m here, and we’re in this thing together,’’ Favre said.
Tramon Williams intercepted Favre to stop a long Vikings drive, and Rodgers took the Packers the other way for a touchdown to James Jones in the final minute of the first half to give the visitors a 17-3 lead.
Favre finished 17 of 38 for 208 yards, sailing several passes over the heads of his receivers and facing heavy pressure most of the game. His one interception gave him 17 this year, and opponents have taken his 22 turnovers and turned them into 71 points.
Redskins 19, Titans 16 Washington (5-5) managed to keep its faint playoff hopes alive with a lot of help from Tennessee, which was booed off the field in Nashville after committing a handful of costly penalties in overtime that led to Graham Gano’s 48-yard field goal with 8:17 left.
Coming off a humiliating Monday night loss to Philadelphia, the Redskins rolled up 465 total yards, and Donovan McNabb was 30 of 50 for 376 yards, with a 5-yard TD pass to Santana Moss in the first quarter.
Gano’s deciding kick, his fourth field goal of the game, came after he was short on a 47-yard attempt at the end of regulation. Gano got another chance when the Titans (5-5) self-destructed in OT. They were flagged for three penalties for 35 yards, including an unsportsmanlike conduct and roughing the passer to sustain Washington’s winning drive.
Titans fans were already upset over the play-calling as Randy Moss, making his home debut, finished without a catch. Vince Young left the stadium after being knocked out of the game with an injured right thumb, and Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher said Young has a torn flexor tendon and may need season-ending surgery.
Steelers 35, Raiders 3 Pittsburgh turned Oakland’s surprising three-game winning streak into an afterthought with an impressive defensive performance at Heinz Field. James Harrison caused two turnovers that Ben Roethlisberger turned into TD passes, and the Steelers (7-3) had six sacks and held Darren McFadden to 14 yards on 10 carries.
Roethlisberger (18 of 29, 275 yards) threw scoring passes of 52 yards to Mike Wallace, 22 yards to Emmanuel Sanders, and 16 yards to Isaac Redman, and scrambled 16 yards for a TD. Rashard Mendenhall’s 5-yard TD run put Pittsburgh ahead to stay, 7-3, in the second quarter.
The Raiders (5-5) were averaging 162.2 yards on the ground entering the day, but the NFL’s No. 1 rush defense held Oakland to 61 yards — 2 below Pittsburgh’s average.
Ravens 37, Panthers 13 Baltimore’s defense returned consecutive interceptions of Brian St. Pierre for TDs in the fourth quarter, and Joe Flacco threw for 301 yards and a score as the Ravens (7-3) earned a harder-than-expected win in Charlotte, N.C.
St. Pierre, the former Boston College standout signed by Carolina (1-9) a little over a week ago, threw an 88-yard TD pass to David Gettis early in the fourth quarter to get the Panthers within a touchdown. It then took just two plays for Baltimore to end any hopes for a comeback.
With the Ravens leading, 23-13, Ed Reed picked off St. Pierre, ran 19 yards, then pitched it to Dawan Landry, who went the remaining 23 yards for a TD. On the next play from scrimmage, St. Pierre was intercepted by Ray Lewis, who rumbled 24 yards for a score.
Jaguars 24, Browns 20 Maurice Jones-Drew followed a 75-yard reception with a 1-yard TD dive with 1:16 remaining, and host Jacksonville (6-4) overcame six turnovers — including five on consecutive drives in the second half — to turn back Cleveland.
One week after winning on a tipped “Hail Mary’’ pass, the Jaguars nearly let the Browns (3-7) steal this one in a similar fashion. From the Jacksonville 29 with 13 seconds left, Colt McCoy’s final pass was tipped by safety Sean Considine and went right to tight end Ben Watson at the goal line. But the ball bounced off Watson’s chest and landed in Considine’s arms for the clinching interception.
Falcons 34, Rams 17 Matt Ryan threw two TD passes, Michael Turner had 131 yards on 28 carries, and Atlanta improved to an NFC-best 8-2 while ending a four-game home winning streak by St. Louis (4-6).
Ryan was 26 of 39 for 253 yards, with scoring passes to Brian Finneran and Justin Peelle. His counterpart, Sam Bradford, had a big start with 99 yards passing and a TD in the first quarter, but the Rams had just nine first downs the rest of the way.
Saints 34, Seahawks 19 Drew Brees became the Saints’ all-time completions leader, throwing for four TDs as New Orleans (7-3) rolled at home. Brees was 29 of 43 for 382 yards and completed his 1,850th pass with the team to break Archie Manning’s franchise record.
Matt Hasselbeck threw for 366 yards against the NFL’s top-ranked pass defense, but Seattle (5-5) lost two fumbles and had four long drives end with field goals.
Chiefs 31, Cardinals 13 Dwayne Bowe caught two more TD passes, giving him an NFL-high 11 this season, and Kansas City (6-4) took sole possession of first place in the AFC West while remaining unbeaten at home. Arizona (3-7) dropped its fifth straight.
Buccaneers 21, 49ers 0 Tampa Bay (7-3) won in San Francisco for the first time since 1980 thanks to a pair of TD passes by Josh Freeman. The Niners (3-7), who were held to 189 total yards, were shut out at home for the first time since 1977.