DETROIT (AP)—Brett Favre sprinted toward the end zone, signaled touchdown and then pumped his right fist. The 36-year-old quarterback had just become the second player in NFL history to throw 400 career touchdown passes.
He added two more scores to lead the Green Bay Packers to a 31-24 win over Detroit on Sunday for their first victory of the season.
Favre said he felt like a kid while celebrating after each TD, bouncing on his toes and leaping into teammates’ arms, but his body quickly reminded him that he’s not.
“I’ve got to stop doing that because I get so tired,” said Favre, who turns 37 next month. “I have to be smarter. Mike (McCarthy) said, `Great job, but you have to quit running around like that,’ because I couldn’t talk to him, I couldn’t breathe.
“I was able to recover a lot easier back in the old days, but there’s nothing like throwing touchdown passes.”
Favre would know.
With his first TD pass of the game—a 75-yarder to Greg Jennings—Favre joined Hall of Famer Dan Marino as the only quarterbacks to reach 400 touchdown passes. Marino has 420.
“We needed a win a lot more than I needed 400 touchdown passes,” the three-time MVP said.
While the Lions (0-3) remained winless under new coach Rod Marinelli, they had their chances in the fourth quarter—just as they did in the season-opening loss to Seattle.
“We were close,” Marinelli said. “We have to finish.”
After Jon Kitna threw behind a wide-open Mike Furrey on third down, Jason Hanson kicked a 40-yard field goal to cut the lead with 5:24 to play. The Lions got the ball back at their 31 a couple of minutes later, but gained just 8 yards before Kitna was sacked on fourth down.
Then, the Packers’ Ahman Green fumbled at the 32 with 54 seconds left. The Lions got to midfield and Kitna heaved a pass that fell incomplete into a crowded end zone.
“We got it going in spurts—you saw glimpses of what’s coming—but we didn’t get it going enough, and that’s unfortunate,” Kitna said. “We left a lot of points on the field.”
The Packers (1-2) scored just enough to give McCarthy his first victory as an NFL coach.
“That’s the way you’re supposed to spend Sunday afternoon,” McCarthy said. “It’s great to get the first one. I’m looking forward to more.”
Favre connected with Jennings on Green Bay’s second drive for a 7-0 lead. He found Donald Driver open in the third quarter for another TD and threw to Green early in the fourth for a 31-21 lead. He reached the milestone in his 228th game, one more than Marino needed to throw No. 400.
Favre finished 25-of-36 for 340 yards with three TDs with no interceptions. Jennings caught three passes for 101 yards and a TD.
Jennings did most of the work on No. 400. Favre threw a short pass to Jennings and the rookie turned the third-down play into a 75-yarder by eluding Jon McGraw with a spin move and sprinting past Dre’ Bly on the sideline.
“As young as I am, to become a part of that greatness, it puts a lot of joy in my heart,” the 23-year-old Jennings said. “I had to make sure that I went and got the ball back. I flipped the ball, and had to go see where the ball was. I definitely gave to him.”
Kitna was 25-of-40 for 342 yards with two TDs and an interception that was returned for a score. Roy Williams had seven receptions for a career-high 138 yards and a score.
Manuel made up for the missed tackle on Detroit’s next drive by intercepting a deflected pass and returning it 29 yards for a TD and a 14-7 lead.
“I saw pass interference,” Kitna said.
Detroit tied it again when Kitna lofted a pass over Williams’ shoulder in the end zone on the last play of the first quarter.
That was one of the few highlights for the Lions, who have lost an NFL-high 62 losses since 2001.
Marinelli acknowledged it might be harder to get his positive message through to his team, but said he will continue to stay upbeat.
“That’s just how I am,” he said. “I’ll just keep pounding. I’ll go back to work and find a way to do this thing.”
The Packers have won 10 of the last 12 games against Detroit. … The Lions were without two starting DBs: Kenoy Kennedy (foot) and Fernando Bryant (personal issues). … Green Bay DT Ryan Pickett (ankle) was injured, but returned. … Detroit OG Ross Verba, playing in his first game since 2004, left the game with an aggravated hamstring. … The Lions activated WR Mike Williams for the first time this season, but he didn’t play extensively until the end of the game.