CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Oct. 3, 2005) -- Brett Favre stood alone at midfield, watching in frustrated disbelief as the Carolina Panthers celebrated the end of his improbable rally. It was vintage Favre, but despite his best efforts, the Green Bay Packers are off to their worst start in 17 years.
Favre threw four touchdown passes but couldn't overcome two early turnovers that the Panthers used to build a big lead, and Carolina held on for a 32-29 victory.
The Packers fell to 0-4 for the first time since 1988.
"It's hard to express in words how disappointed I am. I left it all on the field," Favre said. "I've never been 0-4, but it's a hand we've been dealt."
Rallying Green Bay from a 19-point deficit in the third quarter, Favre threw two touchdown passes and two 2-point conversions in the fourth quarter and had the Packers in position to win the game on their final drive.
But with running back Ahman Green sidelined by an injured knee and no timeouts, Favre had to do it all on his own when Green Bay got the ball back with 1:58 to play. He completed two passes before Carolina (2-2) stopped the Packers on fourth-and-2.
Favre threw the ball to Donald Driver past the first-down marker, but Chris Gamble knocked the ball out of his hands and it fell incomplete.
"You definitely don't want to be in that situation with Brett Favre ," Carolina safety Mike Minter said. "Once you give them a chance to get back in their rhythm, Brett Favre will be Brett Favre."
Favre, a 15-year veteran and future Hall of Famer who is possibly playing his final season, stood alone on the field as the Panthers celebrated.
One by one, the Panthers approached him in a show of respect. Among them was Mike Wahle, the left guard who spent seven seasons protecting Favre before signing with Carolina. The two embraced.
"You're never safe -- No. 4 can do some amazing things back there," Wahle said. "I've seen him do it many times."
Jake Delhomme threw two touchdown passes and Stephen Davis ran for two more as the Panthers built an early lead and put themselves in position to ride out an easy win.
Perhaps that's just where Favre wanted them.
"I was just praying for our defense to get a stop," Delhomme said. "He was awesome tonight. I'm just honored to be on the same field with him."
Delhomme was 17-for-24 for 206 yards and Davis carried 19 times for 51 yards. Steve Smith, who scored three touchdowns last week against Miami, caught only two passes for 12 yards.
"They tried to take Steve Smith out of the game, which they did a bit, but that opened up things for other people," Delhomme said.
Green, who ran for 119 yards and three TDs in a victory against Carolina last season, was held to 36 yards before leaving the game with the leg injury in the third quarter.
Trailing 26-7 midway through the third quarter, Favre turned it up a level, and suddenly looked again like he was having fun doing it. He led by example on an 80-yard scoring drive, sprinting up the middle for a 12-yard gain on third-and-8 and finishing it off with a 26-yard TD pass to Driver.
Favre finished 28-of-47 for 303 yards and four touchdowns -- his 19th game of four or more touchdown passes, second to Dan Marino's record 21. The pass to Driver was Favre's 50th touchdown pass on Monday Night Football, second only to Marino's 74, and it cut Carolina's lead to 26-13.
The Panthers pushed it to 32-13 on Davis' second score of the game, a 1-yard run with 14:44 to play that gave them what seemed to be an insurmountable lead.
But after a Packers punt, Delhomme fumbled, Green Bay recovered and Favre made the Panthers pay for it one play later with a 16-yard scoring strike to Donald Lee.
His finest work, though, came on the Packers' next drive. Favre was 8-for-12 on a 90-yard march, hitting Antonio Chatman on a 4-yard touchdown in the back of the end zone.
Favre threw the 2-point conversion to Robert Ferguson to make it 32-29 with 3:07 to play.
But in the end, it was Favre's two early turnovers that he couldn't overcome.
He was sacked on the third play of the game and fumbled the ball away on Green Bay's 7-yard line. It took the Panthers three plays to turn that miscue into a touchdown, with Delhomme throwing a 2-yard TD pass to Kris Mangum for a 7-0 lead.
Favre shook off the mistake with a 10-play drive, tying the score on a 21-yard TD to David Martin.
Favre's second costly mistake right before the half as Green Bay was driving. His pass to Ferguson wasn't strong enough and Carolina corner Ken Lucas ripped it away for an interception.
The Packers were hit with two personal fouls on the play that pushed the ball to the Green Bay 32. Davis scored two plays later on an 11-yard run that put the Panthers up 23-7.
Kasay's 38-yard field goal in the third quarter made it 26-7.
- Wahle was made an honorary captain before the game because of his Packers ties.
- Mike Rucker set Carolina's all-time sacks record with a first quarter takedown of Favre. He has 42, breaking the mark of 41½ set by Kevin Greene.
- Green Bay defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins blocked a PAT, recovered a fumble and had three tackles. He is the younger brother of Carolina DT Kris Jenkins, who is out for the year with a knee injury.
The Associated Press News Service
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