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Favre breaks Marino's passing yardage record

ST. LOUIS -- Brett Favre became the NFL career leader in yards passing Sunday, overtaking Dan Marino for his latest achievement in a milestone season.

The 38-year-old Favre, a three-time NFL MVP, pulled to within 1 yard of Marino with a 44-yard touchdown pass to Greg Jennings when he caught the Rams in a blitz. That put the Green Bay Packers ahead 27-14 in the third quarter.

Favre then passed the Dolphins' Hall of Famer on the first play of the Packers' next series with 23 seconds gone in the fourth quarter. The game was halted as Driver hugged Favre and other teammates patted him on the shoulder pads. Public address announcer Jim Holder acknowledged the record, prompting a huge ovation, and Favre shook hands with referee Ron Winter before flipping the souvenir ball to an attendant on the sideline.

Before the toss to Driver, Favre was reminded on the sideline that the next completion would mean the record, "which is good and bad."

"I expected this to happen, but I wanted to win the ballgame and be focused on that and not be distracted or have the team be distracted by something I did," Favre said. "Actually, when they stopped the game my first reaction was 'What happened?' A penalty or something like that."

Marino passed for 61,361 yards in 17 seasons. Favre, who now has 61,405 yards, also is in his 17th season while enjoying a year comparable to his peak production, although he made sure Marino got his just due.

"I've said this all along: I've never considered myself to be in the same league as Dan Marino," Favre said. "What a great passer, maybe the greatest passer ever.

"The way he did it is maybe the way you'd coach another guy to do it."

Favre also hit Donald Lee on a 4-yard touchdown pass early in the second quarter for his 440th career TD pass. Earlier this season, Favre broke another mark that belonged to Marino with his 421st at Minnesota on Sept. 30.

He topped John Elway's career record for victories by a starting quarterback with his 149th at New York on Sept. 16.

Favre entered the game on pace to surpass his personal best of 4,413 yards in 1995 and challenge Lynn Dickey's franchise record of 4,458 yards set in 1983.

"My arm is in good shape," Favre said. "It's probably not as good as it was 12 years ago, eight years ago. But I still think I fling it pretty good."

Favre was flawless early, completing his first nine passes to eight receivers for 95 yards. The early run ended when Ron Bartell broke up a pass intended for Lee with 5:47 left in the first half.

Much of the capacity crowd at the Edward Jones Dome on Sunday clearly rooted for the visiting team. Cheeseheads were everywhere and perhaps half of the stadium was clad in Packers' green and yellow, helping the visitors feel right at home in a 33-14 victory.

"It's a joke," running back Steven Jackson said. "The whole first level is Green Bay Packers' fans. It's a joke. We were at Lambeau Field."

"You're a little surprised to see more people in your house for the opposing team than for your team but you know it doesn't make you real happy or real excited," linebacker Will Witherspoon said. "But you've just got to say, 'Hey, I'm in a game.' It just makes it a road game for us."

The only time the entire crowd cheered together came after Favre set the yardage record. When the game was stopped, the crowd stood and applauded Favre's latest record.

Favre's proximity to the record, needing 184 yards entering the game, and the Packers' storied history easily trumped the home-field advantage.

"Our fans are the best in the world," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "It gives our players a great lift.

"To see the defensive line raising their arms in the air on a big third down, it speaks volumes about the kind of fans we have."

Favre needs four touchdown passes in the last two games to add to his own NFL record by throwing 30 or more in nine seasons. Sunday was Favre's 251st consecutive regular-season start, or 271st counting the playoffs -- both records for a quarterback.

Only former Minnesota Vikings defensive lineman Jim Marshall has started more regular-season games (270) in a row.

Favre threw for 227 yards and two touchdowns in a 33-14 victory over the St. Louis Rams on Sunday. Jennings and Lee caught scoring passes and kicker Mason Crosby was 4-for-4 from 44, 50, 25 and 46 yards for Green Bay, which needed only to win for the first-round bye after the Seahawks lost 13-10 to the Panthers.

Green Bay (12-2) also gained a game on the Cowboys -- who lost 10-6 to the Philadelphia Eagles -- for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, and is one victory off the franchise single-season record.

"I say every time this happens that I'm honored," Favre said. "I would much rather win. I'm tickled to death that I've had a chance to break these records and be a part of all these wonderful things."

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