GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Brett Favre spent what seemed to be an eternity sitting at his locker, head in hands, searching for something before approaching the podium. He limped to the microphone, finally beaten by his former team for the first time.
“It’ll be tough to get over this loss as it’s tough to get over any loss, but we have to find a way to do it and the reality is if I can play but not be effective, then it’s not worth playing,” Favre said after the Minnesota Vikings’ 28-24 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night. “I know the heart’s in the right place, though. I know I left it on the field, it was just disappointing that it didn’t work our way.”
In the waning moments trailing by four, it looked as though Favre would accomplish what he’d done so many times before in a Packers uniform by leading an improbable comeback as he limped down the field.
He threw an apparent touchdown pass to Percy Harvin with 48 seconds left, and the 41-year-old quarterback — in his 291st consecutive start — jumped into the arms of backup tight end Jeff Dugan and got a huge hug from Tarvaris Jackson.
“My heart kind of dropped,” said Aaron Rodgers, who took over for Favre as the signal caller in Green Bay.
But officials reviewed a would-be Vikings touchdown for the third time in the game, and the call was again reversed by the officiating crew.
“Three times and you get a touchdown taken away by review. It’s tough,” said Adrian Peterson, who ran for 131 yards and a score.
On fourth-and-15 at the 20, Favre threw incomplete trying to find Randy Moss in the back of the end zone, giving the Packers (4-3) their first win over Favre in their third try. Green Bay is tied with Chicago for the NFC North lead. Minnesota (2-4) is 1½ games back in third.
Favre, who finished 16 of 29 for 212 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions, hurt his surgically repaired left ankle early in the second half when Brad Jones pulled him down during his first pick. But a more costly one came when Desmond Bishop returned an ill-advised pass 32 yards for a touchdown to give the Packers a 28-17 lead midway through the third quarter while Harvin stood wide open on the other side of the field.
Instead, it was the ninth interception that was returned for a touchdown in the league on Sunday.
“That’s a play that’s going to go down in my history,” Bishop said. “It was just kind of typical Favre, trying to squeeze something in, but it wasn’t there, and I just took advantage of it.”
Vikings coach Brad Childress was upset at Favre’s turnovers, but even angrier at the officiating crew’s overturned call that wiped out what would’ve been a 17-yard TD catch by Visanthe Shiancoe near the end of the first half. Childress believed Shiancoe had made the catch, even though the ball appeared to touch the ground.
“It doesn’t make any difference if you control the ball in your hand or forearm. Period. That’s not the way it’s taught at our owner’s symposium and that’s wrong … They said he didn’t control it. And he controlled it,” Childress said. “If the litmus is 50 drunks in a bar those 50 drunks say it’s a catch.”
While Minnesota had points taken off the board in the first half, Rodgers also struggled with early mistakes. He was 21 of 34 for 295 yards and two touchdowns, but threw two first-half interceptions in Vikings territory.
His streak of 173 attempts without an interception in the red zone to begin his career ended when Jared Allen jumped in front of a screen. Rodgers rebounded to throw TD passes to rookie Andrew Quarless and Greg Jennings that gave the Packers a 21-17 lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
It was Favre’s second trip back to Lambeau Field as a member of the Vikings, but the hype wasn’t quite the same.
Favre is in the middle of an NFL investigation into allegations he sent lewd photographs and voicemails to a New York Jets employee in 2008. Favre met with an NFL security official during the week but has not publicly addressed the allegations, which were posted on the Deadspin website. He was not asked about the situation after the game.
There were a few signs mocking the off-the-field story, but there were also plenty of Packers No. 4 jerseys in a crowd that booed Favre loudly about 45 minutes before kickoff and again when he took the field.
“They needed this win as much as anybody,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “We were glad to give it to them.”
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.