Ailing Favre puts hurt on Detroit NFC PLAYOFF NOTEBOOK

January 01, 1995|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Sun Staff Writer

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre lived up to his reputation as a tough player yesterday.

In 1990, he had a large part of his intestine removed after a car accident in July before his senior year at Southern Mississippi. He stunned his teammates by coming back from surgery a month later and helping the team upset Alabama.

Favre continues to tough it out. He still has stomach problems at times because of that, and was bothered all week and he missed Friday's practice.

"He was very sick this week," Holmgren said. "He missed some practice and missed some meetings. I think his effort was very courageous. We'll have a couple of days off and I'm sure he can use it."

The Packers didn't make it public he was suffering stomach pain until yesterday morning. It was bad enough they were without Sterling Sharpe.

But Favre was good enough to lead Green Bay to a 16-12 victory over the Detroit Lions yesterday in a first-round playoff game. He completed 17 of 35 passes for 199 yards and a touchdown and wasn't intercepted.

Holmgren said he simplied the game plan not because of Sharpe's absence, but because Favre wasn't in top form.

Favre, though, was feisty as ever. When Broderick Thomas pushed him after he released a pass in the third period, he got up and grabbed Thomas' face mask and exchanged a few words.

"I just thought it was something of a cheap play. Maybe we needed something like that to jump-start us. At the time in the heat of the battle, I thought it was the thing to do. I knew he would have kicked my butt if we would have taken the pads off. We were saying some things back and forth," Favre said.

Holmgren wasn't thrilled that his quarterback got involved in one of the game's several exchanges.

"Unfortunately, it kind of got started and then for a while there, we couldn't turn it off. You are going to have a couple of guys who are excited, our quarterback being one. I was in there trying to talk calmly to everyone," Holmgren said.

Both Holmgren and Favre said a key was the 76-yard, 14-play drive they opened the game with.

"That was a great drive. That was a big, big drive because after that we really didn't do anything," Favre said.

Said Holmgren: "It showed the team we could score a touchdown without Sterling."

Better safety than sorry

With the Packers leading 16-10 with seven seconds left, they had a fourth-and-five at their 22.

Holmgren decided to go for the safety rather than risk a punt that could be blocked.

The idea was for punter Craig Hentrich to run around and try to run seven seconds off the clock before he got tackled or went out of bounds. He also had to make sure he didn't lose the ball or get tackled before he got to the end zone.

"If he'd fallen down at the 5, they would have gotten one more shot. All those things crossed my mind. I said to Craig, 'Have you done this before? He said yes. [I said] Just catch the ball cleanly, trot back into the end zone, don't get crazy and just wait.' And then he did that and then he told me in the locker room that he saw a big guy chasing him and then he wasn't sure what to do," Holmgren said with a smile.

"He stepped out of bounds. Beautiful plays. Great play by Craig," Holmgren said.

Nail-biting

Holmgren admitted he was nervous when the Packers lined up for their final fourth-down play and Herman Moore caught quarterback Dave Krieg's pass out of the end zone. "I didn't even want to even look to be honest, but I did. I saw the crowd reaction more than I could see an official signal or anything else. For a coach in a single play or a single moment, it's hard to describe the feeling that you have. It's special," he said.

Moral support

Wide receiver Anthony Morgan of the Packers, commenting on the absence of ailing Sterling Sharpe: "When we have number 84 on the field, it makes it much easier. But having him on the sideline, he was telling us, 'Just go out there and relax and play.' It felt good to see him on the sideline giving us encouragement."

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