GLENDALE, Ariz. - That “kid” Kurt Warner got the best of old-timer Brett Favre on Sunday night.
Warner, a mere 38 to Favre’s 40, threw for 285 yards and three touchdowns and the Arizona Cardinals’ defense stifled Favre and the Minnesota Vikings in a stunningly one-sided 30-17 victory.
“They played like they were in the Super Bowl last year,” Favre said, “and we obviously have to play better if we want to be the team that’s in the Super Bowl this year.”
Favre set an NFL record for consecutive appearances, but game No. 283 in a row was no night to remember for him or the rest of the Vikings (10-2). Favre, with just three interceptions in the first 11 games, was picked off twice and sacked three times.
“I made some decisions that I haven’t made up to this point,” he said, “and I’m disappointed about it.”
Even more startling, Arizona (8-4) held Adrian Peterson to a season-low 19 yards in 13 carries and outrushed Minnesota 113-62.
“It was just physical up front and making the tackle,” Cardinals defensive tackle Darnell Dockett said. “It was great team tackling.”
The victory, coupled with San Francisco’s loss at Seattle, gives Arizona a three-game lead in the NFC West. The Cardinals can clinch the division title with a victory at San Francisco a week from Monday night.
Favre had two touchdown passes, but the second, a 31-yarder to Percy Harvin, came with 1:20 to go and the game out of reach. Favre was 30 of 45 for 275 yards.
“I’m pretty sure everybody is going to talk about what Brett Favre did wrong,” Dockett said, “how Brett did this wrong and that wrong, but not talk about how our defense stood up today. We’re going to stay humble, though, because we are going to play that team again.”
Things got worse for the Vikings when linebacker E.J. Henderson broke his leg late in the game. Coach Brad Childress said the injury would require surgery.
Warner, rarely under pressure, was 22 of 32 with no interceptions and no sacks. Larry Fitzgerald caught eight passes for 143 yards and a score. Anquan Boldin had seven catches for 98 yards and two scores.
Warner said the victory showed “that we can play with anybody, we can play with the big dogs. The key for us is to show up that way every week.”
A year ago, Peterson had 165 yards on the same field as Minnesota routed Arizona 35-14.
This Vikings team, with the addition of Favre and big-play rookie Harvin, has overwhelmed opponents with a more balanced offense and a tough defense. Minnesota had outscored its last three opponents 98-29.
But after giving up a 99-yard last-minute touchdown drive to lose at Tennessee 20-17 last week, Arizona was in a nasty mood.
Warner threw for 200 yards in the first half as the Cardinals took a 21-10 lead at the break, then the defense took over.
Karlos Dansby and Michael Adams each intercepted Favre in the third quarter to set up field goals by Neil Rackers that put Arizona up 27-10. It was the first interception in Adams’ NFL career. Favre had his first multiple interception game of the season.
Rackers added a third field goal in the fourth quarter.
With his first snap, Favre broke the record for consecutive games he had shared with longtime Vikings defensive end Jim Marshall.
The Cardinals handed him a congratulatory gift when Benny Sapp stripped the ball from running back Tim Hightower and Tyrell Johnson recovered for Minnesota at the Arizona 47. Ten plays later, Favre threw 3 yards to tight end Visanthe Shiancoe for the score.
Warner sat out last week’s game with post-concussion symptoms, snapping a string of 41 straight starts, but he had practiced all week and said he was feeling much better. His game certainly didn’t suffer.
“We had a really good talk last night at the hotel about some of the offensive package things we were going to do,” Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “We felt that it was going to be good for us, and it was.”
Minnesota failed to get pressure on Warner even though the Cardinals were without starting left tackle Mike Gandy, who was replaced by Jeremy Bridges. It snapped a string of 21 consecutive starts for Arizona’s offensive line.
Notse: Minnesota was without two starters — CB Antoine Winfield (foot) and OG Anthony Hererra (concussion). ... Warner topped 3,000 yards passing for the season and moved ahead of Charley Johnson into fourth on Arizona’s career passing list.
PFT: Jets rookie quarterback Geno Smith said the draft process taught him an important lesson on taking criticism.
Y! Sports: Redskins fans found what appeared to be the wedding registry for Robert Griffin III and fiancee Rebecca Liddicoat, and they helped out their star QB.
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