The Favre Rocket to Sharpe

On December 8, 1994, Coach Mike Holmgren and second-year starting quarterback Brett Favre got their first postseason victory…the hard way. A week after losing a showdown for the Central Division crown in the 1993 season finale at the Silverdome, largely due to Favre’s four interceptions, Green Bay returned to Detroit for a wild card round playoff game. Rick Telander had a memorable lead in Sports Illustrated:

For Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre it was déjà vu for, oh, maybe the 26th time this season. Feeling pressure, he scrambled to his left near midfield in the Silverdome last Saturday and heaved a bomb toward the right corner of the distant end zone. A minute remained in the game, the Detroit Lions were ahead 24-21, the season was on the line, and the time was right for a Favresque faux pas. Favre had thrown a league high 24 interceptions during the regular season and had added a 25th in the third quarter that was returned 15 yards for a touchdown by Lion cornerback Melvin Jenkins, and, hey, why not toss one more log on his crackling bonfire of screw-ups?

Except he didn’t.

That Jenkins pickoff put the Lions up 17-7 in the third quarter.  Brett led the team down the field and threw his second touchdown pass to Sterling Sharpe to make it 17-14.  The Lions countered with a long drive to the Packer five, but Packer safety George Teague intercepted an Erik Kramer pass and took it 101 yards for the go-ahead touchdown late in the third quarter. It was the second time in the game, Kramer was picked off in the end zone; Terrell Buckley had done the trick in the first quarter.

The Lions regained the lead 24-21 with eight minutes left in the game when they drove 89 yards and scored on a five yard run by Derrick Moore.  The Packers got the ball for the last time at their own 29 with 2:26 left.  Four plays and 1:21 later they were on the Lion 40 when Favre uncorked one of the most impressive plays of his career.  Scrambling to his left he spotted Sterling Sharpe breaking free down the right sideline.  Brett turned and threw in the opposite direction across the field 40 yards downfield to hit the streaking Sharpe for his third touchdown reception of the day and a 28-24 Packer victory.

Sharpe was alone, having left cornerback Kevin Scott deep in his wake. For his part, Scott told reporters, “I thought I was supposed to bump Sterling and let him go. I was playing the coverage I thought I was supposed to be in. It was a miscommunication. We weren’t all playing the same defense.” The New York Times reported that the defensive play call was sent in late, and Detroit defenders were unsure whether the call was a 2- or 3-deep zone.

Sharpe, speaking to the press for the first time in four years, told the Washington Post, “I don’t think their safety ever came over.” Favre added, “When I went left, I knew both guys [Mark Clayton and Sharpe] were going down the sideline. Obviously when you go left, the defense tends to follow your eyes. So I just turned back and saw him [Sharpe] two yards past the guy and I threw it as hard as I could.”

Despite the Lions outgaining the Packers 410-293 and controlling the clock for 35:34, despite Barry Sanders rushing for 169 yards in his first game back since Thanksgiving, despite Brett Perriman catching 10 passes for 150 yards, the Lions lost 28-24, and the Favre-tastic Packers moved on to Dallas and their own demise.

53manbfavre  53manssharpe

A custom card set based on the 1962 Topps style.

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