Favre wins possible swan song
GREEN BAY, Wis. — If yesterday's game was the last of Brett Favre's career, at least he went down slinging.
And, in his first losing season with the Green Bay Packers, at least he went out a winner as they beat the playoff-bound Seattle Seahawks, 23-17, yesterday.
"If this were to be his last game, then I'm really glad I was here," said Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren, Favre's former coach in Green Bay. "He has nothing to prove to anybody."
Favre threw his first touchdown pass in the past five games, but the game still featured a few more reminders of why Favre is considering retirement. He threw another interception, his career-worst 29th of the season, and played the end of the game with a shoulder injury.
And he was upstaged for a half by Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander, who set an NFL record for touchdowns in a season with 28 and surpassed the New York Giants' Tiki Barber for the NFL rushing crown.
Favre, 36, said in recent weeks he is unsure whether he will play next year.
He did not speak to the media after yesterday's game, an unusual move for him. Favre left the field waving to the crowd, surrounded by a swarm of photographers and others.
"I'm going to take some time and get away from the season for a bit and then talk to people here in Green Bay and then we'll see," Favre said in comments distributed by the Packers public relations staff.
Favre was 21 of 37 for 259 yards for Green Bay (4-12).
Alexander scored his record touchdown on a 1-yard run in the second quarter for Seattle (13-3). He piled up 73 yards by halftime, enough to pass Barber for the league rushing lead.
Alexander finished with 1,880 yards, 20 ahead of Barber.Vikings 34, Bears 10
MINNEAPOLIS — Mike Tice left the Metrodome a winner, then lost his job when he was fired as Vikings coach.
Brad Johnson passed for 247 yards and two touchdowns to lead Minnesota past NFC North champion Chicago, which sat many regulars.
"We can't wait to get to Soldier Field and play the playoff game in front of our home crowd," coach Lovie Smith said.
Minnesota (9-7) finished with a winning record, but it was not enough to save Tice after another up-and-down season marred by a scandalous boat party during the team's bye week.
Thomas Jones ran 12 times for 62 yards in the first half to finish with 1,335 yards for Chicago (11-5).
REDSKINS 31, EAGLES 20
PHILADELPHIA — Joe Gibbs and Washington (10-6) are back in the playoffs.
Clinton Portis ran for 112 yards and two touchdowns, leading the Redskins over Philadelphia.
Washington clinched the NFL's final playoff spot and its first postseason berth since 1999 with its fifth straight win.
"Looking back to 5-6, we talked at that time that if we lost another game we'd be out," Gibbs said. "Trying to win five straight is a tough deal, but our guys seemed to understand what it would take. We went back to the basics."
Mike McMahon threw two touchdown passes to Reggie Brown as Philadelphia (6-10) completed its first losing season since '99 after reaching the Super Bowl last February.
RAMS 20, COWBOYS 10
IRVING, Texas — Its playoff incentive gone, Dallas (9-7) couldn't muster much enthusiasm — or many points — against St. Louis (6-10).
Aveion Cason and Arlen Harris ran for their first touchdowns since 2003 and Jeff Wilkins added two field goals, giving the Rams a victory over the Cowboys.
Washington's victory over Philadelphia more than an hour before kickoff eliminated Dallas from the wild card.
"I think we were a little deflated mentally, especially our offensive group," Cowboys coach Bill Parcells said. "We just seemed to not be on edge in light of what happened today, probably."
PANTHERS 44, FALCONS 11
ATLANTA — DeShaun Foster rushed for 165 yards and Jake Delhomme threw for two touchdowns.
Carolina (11-5) clinched one of the two NFC playoff spots still available, settling for a wild card when Tampa Bay clinched the South title with a win over New Orleans.
Atlanta (8-8) kept alive the franchise's failure to post back-to-back winning seasons throughout its 40-year history.
"It's going to be hard to watch (the playoffs)," linebacker Keith Brooking said. "It makes me sick to my stomach."
BUCS 27, SAINTS 13
TAMPA, Fla. — Joey Galloway caught two touchdown passes from Chris Simms as Tampa Bay clinched its first NFC South title in three years and guaranteed itself a home playoff game.
"It's just the first leg of the championship — division, conference and Super Bowl," linebacker Derrick Brooks said.
Tampa Bay (11-5) was assured a playoff berth when the Giants beat the Raiders on Saturday night, but needed to beat New Orleans (3-13) to finish a worst-to-first turnaround few people envisioned when the season began.
NFL SEASON RUSHING TDS
Top single-season rushing touchdown totals in the NFL:
SHAUN ALEXANDER, SEA. 2005 28
PRIEST HOLMES, K.C. 2003 27
EMMITT SMITH, DAL. 1995 25
JOHN RIGGINS, WASH. 1983 24
PRIEST HOLMES, K.C. 2002 21
TERRELL DAVIS, DEN. 1998 21
TERRY ALLEN, WASH. 1996 21
EMMITT SMITH, DAL. 1994 21
Joe Morris, N.Y.G. 1985 21