Favre immediately pounced with a brilliant play-fake that sprung tight end Donald Lee free in the back of the end zone for a 12-yard TD reception and a 17-13 lead.
With the footing holding on a field heated by pipes underneath, Domenik Hixon got the Giants’ next scoring drive started with a 33-yard kickoff runback. Then, Manning kept picking apart the Packers’ staple man coverage, a 23-yard diving catch by Amani Toomer setting up rookie Ahmad Bradshaw’s 4-yard TD run.
Rookie Mason Crosby’s 37-yard field goal tied it 20-20 after a huge break for the Packers. Favre’s desperation heave was intercepted by R.W. McQuarters deep in New York territory, but he fumbled when he was hit by Ryan Grant on his return. Tackle Mark Tauscher recovered, giving the Packers another life.
Manning was, well, cool on New York’s first series, driving the Giants 71 yards on 14 plays, going 5-for-8 for 55 yards before Tynes kicked a 29-yarder.
Green Bay went backward on its next series, an ugly three-and-out on which Favre passed three times, all behind the line of scrimmage. Total yardage: minus-3 yards.
Just as unseemly was 20-year veteran punter Jeff Feagles’ first kick in a championship game on New York’s next possession, a 21-yard shank.
After Tynes nailed a 37-yarder for a 6-0 lead, Koren Robinson had Packers fans holding their breath as he overran the kickoff, then bobbled it before recovering at the Green Bay 10. Then Favre and Donald Driver took their breath away with the longest pass in team playoff history, a 90-yard TD.
The cagey veteran receiver shook off a bump by Webster to break free as Favre double-pumped. Driver caught the ball at the 29 and raced the final 71 yards being chased by three Giants. None came close to preventing Driver’s first touchdown in four months.
Favre extended his NFL record with his 18th straight postseason game with a TD pass. Few have been so spectacular.
Aside from the 90-yarder to Driver, the Packers were held to 146 yards passing by a secondary criticized for being leaky, and to 28 yards rushing. They were 1-for-10 on third downs a week after blitzing Seattle in the snow.
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