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Favre, Packers rout sloppy Bears 26-7

CHICAGO (Dec. 31, 2006) -- If, indeed, this was his last game, Brett Favre went out in style.

The rocket-like passes that defined his career were on full display, zooming between helpless defenders and into receivers' hands. And when it was over, his voice cracked. Tears flowed.

Is this really it, though?

"If this is the last game, I couldn't be more pleased with the outcome," Favre said after the Green Bay Packers closed out the season with a 26-7 victory against the Chicago Bears.

Favre had his way, Rex Grossman looked lost, and the Bears bore little resemblance to a No. 1 playoff seed.

Favre showed he still has some plenty left in that powerful right arm, passing for 285 yards to lead the Packers (8-8).

But he tearfully hinted that he's seriously considering retirement, as he did in the last offseason.

"If this is my last game, I want to remember it," Favre said, his voice cracking and tears streaming from his eyes. "It's tough. I love these guys. I love this game. What a great way to go out against a great football team. I couldn't ask for a better way to get out."

Favre said he would discuss retirement with his family and make his announcement soon -- "probably within the next couple of weeks." For now, the only certainty is he's scheduled for ankle surgery Jan. 1 in Green Bay.

The three-time MVP completed 21 of 42 passes with a touchdown and interception. He had 209 yards in the first half alone as the Packers grabbed a 23-0 lead, and he moved into a tie with Dan Marino for second place on the victories list with 147. Favre needs one more to tie John Elway.

While Favre's emotions flowed after the game, receiver Donald Driver said he kept them in check before and during it.

"I'm glad I'm going to be a part of that legacy," Driver said. "If this is the last one, I wish the best for him, but we pray to God that it's not."

Favre was in vintage form, but the inconsistent Grossman showed his bad side.

He was 2-for-12 with three interceptions -- two of which were returned for touchdowns -- and a zero passer rating in the first half and did not come out for the second.

"I've been in this position before," Grossman said. "I hate this. I hate it."

It was the first time a quarterback recorded three interceptions and two completions since New Orleans' Richard Todd in 1984. And the debate over whether he or Brian Griese should start for the Bears (13-3) is back on, even if coach Lovie Smith said he won't make a change.

Griese started the third quarter and was 5-for-15 for 124 yards with two interceptions. He also threw a 75-yard touchdown pass to Mark Bradley with 34 seconds left in the third. The Bears' best passer might have been punter Brad Maynard, who connected with Adrian Peterson for 37 yards on a fake early in the third quarter.

Smith said the plan entering the game was to have Grossman play into the third quarter, but "I didn't see there was any need in putting him back in after an effort like that."

Favre, by contrast, led the Packers on a 75-yard touchdown drive to start the game, and Nick Collins returned an interception 55 yards late in the first quarter to give the Packers a 13-0 lead. Dave Rayner kicked a 25-yard field goal with 49 seconds left in the first half, and Grossman immediately struck again.

This time, Patrick Dendy returned an interception 30 yards to make it 23-0, and the Packers never looked back.

The Packers were all but eliminated from the postseason when the New York Giants beat Washington on Dec. 30. And their final hopes were dashed before the 8:15 p.m. ET kickoff.

Still, they took it to a Chicago team that has home-field advantage throughout the playoffs and was trying to become only the fourth team to go undefeated in conference play since the AFL and NFL merged in 1970.

Favre immediately served notice this would be a vintage performance. The opening drive ended with a 9-yard strike to Donald Driver.

Favre waited until late April before announcing he would play this year, and he was noncommittal about his future this week. He seemed rejuvenated after enduring his worst season in 2005, when he notched 20 touchdowns and 29 interceptions and the Packers went 4-12. He became the NFL's career leader in completions -- passing Marino -- and finished the season with 3,885 passing yards and 18 touchdowns to go with 18 interceptions.

"At some point, guys have to face the end of their career," said Favre, who led the 1996 Packers to a championship and a Super Bowl appearance the following season. "Of course, I'd love to go out winning a championship. I would love to win another one, but it's hard to do. I realize that now."

A Bears team with Super Bowl aspirations looked nothing like a contender -- especially with Grossman reverting to his midseason form, when he was picked off 14 times in seven games.

"I'm trying to figure that out myself," Grossman said, when asked what happened. "It's my job to figure out why I had games like this and fix it."

Nathan Vasher intercepted Favre, but five plays later, Collins picked off a screen intended Desmond Clark and returned it 55 yards to make it 13-0 with 50 seconds left in the first quarter. The Bears' next possession ended when Grossman fumbled away the snap.

The Chicago defense wasn't any better.

It had allowed at least 327 yards in the previous five games -- thanks to injuries, general sloppiness and defensive tackle Tank Johnson's suspension after his arrest on weapons charges and then shooting death of his friend at a nightclub less than 48 hours later.

Johnson did not start but entered the game on the opening possession. He had been inactive against Tampa Bay on Dec. 17 and served a one-game suspension the following week against Detroit.


  • Green Bay's Ahman Green ran for 71 yards and became the first Packer to rush for at least 1,000 six times.
  • Chicago's Cedric Benson rushed for 109 -- his first 100-yard game.
  • Bears returner Devin Hester left in the third quarter with a strained calf.
  • Chicago CB Charles Tillman missed his second successive game because of a sore back, while Packers WR Greg Jennings was out with an ankle injury.
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