>>Al Michaels with John Madden and Lisa Guerrero. Welcome to Oakland, where the overriding story took place yesterday afternoon in Mississippi, when Brett Favre’s father, Irv, drove off the road and died, apparently of a massive heart attack. And then, cruel as it is, Brett Favre had to make a decision — does he play tonight or doesn’t he play tonight? He has chosen to play. He will start. As you know, he has not missed a start in over 11 years. He is in the lineup. And for more particulars right now, let’s go down to the field and Lisa.>>Thanks, Al. At 4:30 p.m., Pacific Time, yesterday, Brett Favre was hanging out with backup quarterback Doug Pederson, when Pederson received a phone call, on his cellphone, from Deanna Favre, Brett’s wife, telling him that Irv Favre, Brett’s father, had died, suddenly, in Kiln, Mississippi. It was Pederson who broke the news to Favre. Favre then went immediately back to the team hotel to meet with coach Mike Sherman, who said to him, “I’m gonna leave that decision as to whether or not you’re gonna play up to you.” Brett said, “I want to play,” something that he reiterated to his teammates in a very emotional meeting later on that night. Meanwhile, Deanna Favre flew in at 3:30 a.m. He’s here in Oakland. She’s here at the stadium tonight. Funeral services for Irv Favre will be held near Kiln, Mississippi, on Wednesday. He was 58 years old.>>John, he’s been an iron man. Fractured thumb, bad knee, and all the rest, but how do you play through this?>>You know, I have no idea how Brett Favre is going to do it. You know, yesterday when we talked to him, you know, he had so much spirit and energy and he felt so good, I mean, about his team and about what they were doing and what they were going to do. And then, a couple hours later, he hears that his father dies. And there’s no road map to this. There’s nothing that you said, “This is the right way to handle it. This is the wrong way to handle it. This is how you do it.” This is something that has to shock you. And how Brett Favre is going to be able to handle this, I have no idea.>>It’s almost callous to talk about the game, but there is a game. It’s a big game for Green Bay. What about the Raiders now? It’s been a forgettable season. They can’t wait for it to end. They spoiled Baltimore’s Sunday last week. What chance do they have tonight?>>Isn’t that something? You think of the Raiders — a year ago, they’re in the Super Bowl, and how far they’ve fallen. And now, with just two games to go, that’s all they can do is hope that they can be a spoiler again. And you watch them and they practice, and that’s exactly what they want to do. Now, they say that, you know, they have to be able to run the ball. They think that’s very important. And they have to get turnovers. And if they can win the turnover battle, they think they can beat the Packers.>>And that’s how they beat Baltimore last week. So, the Green Bay Packers, still very much alive in the playoff hunt, against the Oakland Raiders. Ryan Longwell, who, last week, eclipsed Don Hutson as the Green Bay Packers’ all-time leading scorer. That is a monstrous feat. Granted, one was a great receiver, even though Hutson did do some field-goal kicking. Longwell a pure kicker, and he’ll kick to Doug Gabriel, a rookie out of Central Florida, who’s come along from the middle of the season on and has sparked the Oakland special teams. So, in a game vital to Green Bay’s playoff and division-title hopes, here we go, as Gabriel fields it at the 7-yard line. And Gabriel with a decent runback up to the 31-yard line. From the 31-yard line. Rick Mirer throws. And the ball is caught out in the flat by Jerry Rice. And Rice is taken down at the 42-yard line by Michael Hawthorne, playing in place of the injured Mike McKenzie. And that’s a gain of 10 and a first down for Jerry Rice.>>If you say, “There’s a new guy playing at corner. Who do we want to work on? We want to work on him. Who do we want to do it with?” How about Jerry Rice, the best wide receiver that’s ever played this game.>>Rice playing better in the second half of the season than the first. And now they go to the other great wideout, Tim Brown. He picks up a first down. And a flag comes down at the end of the play. And they looked for Hawthorne. Hawthorne, that time, lined up on the other side. So, twice now they’ve gone at number 27.>>Right. And the guy that got the block there for Tim Brown was Jerry Rice.>>But a hold. And this is something that’s been a problem with Oakland all season. They lead the league in penalties.>>See, here’s Rice here. Now watch. He’s gonna lead. You see, you get Tim Brown behind him. Jerry Rice gets out there and leads and becomes the lead blocker, like a one-man screen for Tim Brown.>>So, Rice holding Harris. The Raiders are averaging nine penalties a game. It’s a bad combination when you lead the league in penalties, you lead the league in most different starters — 46 guys have started for Oakland — and you’re at the bottom of the league in run defense and total defense, close to the bottom. That’s a bad combo.>>I think all those things have to add up to the Raiders’ record this year. And it’s not just the penalties, because there have been years that the Raiders have had a lot of penalties and gone to Super Bowls.>>Absolutely. That was an 8-yard gain, then the penalty after the play. So that’s why it’s first and 12. And Mirer slings one sidearm. Intended for Zack Crockett. Incomplete. It’s second down and 12 now, as the ball is given to Charlie Garner, who squirts free through the middle and is able to turn no gain into a gain of a few. Out to the 46-yard line. Tackled by Al Harris. We mentioned Mike McKenzie is out, their starting corner. And there he is. Even though he was playing on grass in San Diego, he suffered what’s referred to as “turf toe.”>>Right. And they had him out here before practice, because yesterday, when we talked to coach Mike Sherman, he wasn’t sure whether McKenzie would play or not. He said it would be a game-time decision. They had him out here before. They tested him, and he flunked the test.>>And his replacement, Hawthorne — they’ve already thrown his way twice. Third down and 8. Mirer, the Notre Damer, under pressure. And Rick goes down at the 43-yard line. Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, whose brother plays for the Raiders — so you have two Gbaja-Biamilas in the game tonight — with the sack.>>Yeah, and Kabeer gets this one, the first one. It was just a three-man line. It was just a three-man rush. Barry Sims is on him. He does a pretty good job, but Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila just keeps going. And, as you said, I think Rick Mirer held the ball too long because he didn’t have anyone to throw to.>>Shane Lechler having a great year, leading the league in punting average. Booms one. A fair catch is signaled for. But bounds into the end zone. That’s a 57 gross and a 37 net. Tremendous emotional duress. With Mike Sherman and Bill Callahan on the respective sidelines. Brett Favre goes to work. And this is Ahman Green, who has had a fantastic season, eclipsing Jim Taylor’s all-time Green Bay rushing mark. Through the middle and up to the 30-yard line.>>You know, and that’s what Ahman Green will do. You know, he’s not just one of those guys that’s always gonna go outside or try and bounce it out. He likes to take it straight up the middle and then cut back in the middle. You know, he starts up there, and then if you want to widen or you’re going to give him any gap, he’s gonna find it and take it as quickly as he can and then get that pad level down.>>From the 30-yard line. Favre’s first pass of the night. He slings it to the outside. And they blanket David Martin for a loss. [ Whistles blowing ] A second and 12. Chris Cooper, number 75, comes across the line. And our referee tonight is Tony Corrente. Sixth year as an NFL ref and one of the best in the league.>>False start — offense, number 65. 5-yard penalty. Remains second down.>>So, Cooper came across because he was induced by Tauscher. It’s second down, now, and 17. Ball at the 23-yard line. Green Bay’s first possession. 3 1/2 minutes into the game. And Favre hands the ball to Green. Green takes it up to the 29-yard line. Third down and 11. Favre has time. Favre going deep. And the ball is caught on the run by Robert Ferguson, who got behind Phillip Buchanon! The coverage was pretty good, and the pass was perfect. 46 yards.>>And that was against their dime defense. And it’s interesting. We were talking to Brett Favre yesterday. He said, “Phillip Buchanon is a good cornerback, but I think we can beat him deep.” And that’s exactly what it is. The first time he sees that he has the coverage — Ferguson gets a step right away and then he outruns Buchanon all the way down the field. He got that one step and then he kept it for about 30 yards. Watch Brett Favre. He looks to the left, looks to the left, holds it, and then slings it with everything he has.>>And, so, from third and long to first down at the 24-yard line. And Green to the 21. The funny thing about Green Bay, John, is that with Favre’s fractured thumb, they became more of a running team. And, of course, Green was the guy who filled the bill. But now, over the past couple of weeks, Favre beginning to throw more and throw deep more.>>Well, you know what happened? When they started to run, then teams started to play them for the run and play them in an eight-man front and say, “You know, we’re gonna stop your run and make Brett Favre beat us.” I don’t know that that’s a good thing, because Brett Favre — if you’re gonna make him beat you, he usually will.>>Packers third in the league in rushing, and the Raiders are next to last in rushing defense. And Favre throws! And that is caught by Wesley Walls for a touchdown! The longtime tight end, one-time 49er, across the bay. A beautiful pass and a great catch by Walls. And Brett Favre, playing under intense emotional duress, comes out and leads an 80-yard touchdown drive.>>You watch him here. And Derrick Gibson is going to be on him. And he has him right there. And Brett Favre just throws a perfect ball. And did you see that one? Brett Favre was rolling to his left, or moving to his left, and throw from there. He’s as accurate moving to his left as he is anywhere on the field.>>Walls catches his first touchdown pass of the season. Brett Favre, who normally comes out very early and then goes back and then comes out again, did not tonight. He just stayed in the locker room, John. He didn’t come out until about I think 5:15 or so — very late. But he comes out very hot.>>Well, then I watched him in the pregame warm-up, and he didn’t seem to have much energy. He didn’t do much. And you were wondering, you know, “Is he going to be able to throw the ball?” Then the game starts, the competition starts, and you see Brett Favre.>>Longwell’s kick. And here is Gabriel. There’s a flag, though. A flag is gonna bring this one back. And Gabriel gives the crowd a burst, but there’s the laundry at the 32-yard line.>>Gabriel was the guy that, last week, got a big return for the Raiders that got them started on a drive. Well, you just feel that this is kind of typical of the Raiders’ season.>>During the return of the kick, holding — receiving team, number 59. 10-yard penalty. First down.>>That’s Larry Atkins. So, there goes a good runback. Atkins is the guy. And we’ll go back to take a look at the Green Bay score.>>Well, here’s where it starts. Wesley Walls is a tight end, split out right there. You’re going to see Derrick Gibson really has pretty good coverage on him. If you see right here, it was Gibson. So, they start in this man-to-man. In fact, it looked a little like Wesley Walls was starting to slow up there. Then he put on a little burst, and Brett Favre made a perfect pass. Brett Favre was 3 for 3 on that drive.>>But one of the guys he connected with, Robert Ferguson, is on a cart going back to the locker room. And the catch is made here by Teyo Johnson, one of their tight ends. Ferguson made that long reception of 46 yards, but he is on a cart going back to the Green Bay locker room right now. He’d be their number-two wide receiver.>>You know, and he was a guy that Brett Favre was really excited about. You know, and I think that kind of rejuvenated Brett. You know, and then there was all the talk, “Are you gonna retire?” “No, I’m not gonna retire.” And he said he really likes the young guys on this team and the young receivers and just watching them grow and become what they’re becoming.>>Second down and 10. The ball at the 22-yard line. Mirer throws. And that pass is incomplete. That touchdown pass by Brett Favre — And there’s another flag down here. I mean, every time Favre throws a pass now, something happens in the record book. And there he is tying Fran Tarkenton for second all time. Dan Marino, with 420, way out in front, but then there’s Tarkenton, and now Brett Favre is tied for second all time in touchdown passes.>>Pass interference — defense. The ball will be spotted at the spot of the foul. Automatic first down.>>No number. We think it’s Al Harris on Tim Brown.>>You know, we were talking about Mike Sherman, you know, and what a job he does with this Green Bay Packer team. You know how Andy Reid is a kind of a — Last week, we were talking about unflappable. And I think Mike Sherman’s that same type of guy. Real solid guy, solid man, solid coach, very organized, all those things that you have to be in today’s football.>>As they call him, the unit-directed New Englander. Lee Remmel, their longtime public-relations man, describing him as that — unflappable New Englander.>>Then he’s all those things. He’s an English major and, again, a lot like Andy Reid. And, you know, we’re talking about Brett Favre, his father passing away, and Mike Sherman telling him, you know, “Do whatever you think you have to do.” But that’s what a coach has to have. I mean, there’s no right way. There’s no wrong way. There’s nothing a coach can tell a player in that situation.>>And they had to do it in a hurry. As it’s caught by Hetherington out in the flat, the fullback. Rick Mirer with a pass completion here. First thing you should know about Rick Mirer is how to pronounce his name. It’s M-I-R-E-R, so he’s gone through life with everybody saying “Mirer.” It’s “Meyer,” as if it was M-E-Y-E-R. On third down and 4. Mirer throws. And it’s through the hands of Charlie Garner. It was there. Charlie Garner reaches up, but the ball wasn’t there for him to haul in, anyway. And it’s fourth and 4.>>You know, the Raiders, on offense — they don’t have an awful lot of speed. But the one explosive player they have is this guy right here, Charlie Garner. And if they’re gonna take a shot, if they’re going to go for one, he has to be their deep guy now. I don’t know if Jerry Porter is gonna be able to play tonight or not. I think — You know, he got hurt the other day in practice and he got hurt tonight in the pregame warm-up.>>Lechler’s kick is a short one. Fielded on the run at the 33-yard line by Antonio Chatman, who somehow works his way out of a lot of traffic and gets up to the 48-yard line. Brett Favre at the age of 34. There was his first start — September of ’92. Took over for Don Majkowski after Majkowski was hurt. December of ’94, Packer record for QBs — 44th start. And his 117th start, in ’99, eclipsed Ron Jaworski’s consecutive-game record. Tonight, 188th straight start, plus 17 others in playoff games. And it amounts to almost 12 seasons. He starts this drive with Green. And there’s a flag.>>You know, it’s interesting. On first down, after those two passes, the Raiders come out in nickel defense. But you know what the Packers are going to do when they see nickel defense, and I don’t mean the penalty. They’re gonna run them. That’s what you do, when you get five and six defensive backs, to get them out of it. You run against it.>>Holding — offense, number 33. 10-yard penalty. Repeat first down.>>William Henderson with the hold. And explaining, “You know, Coach, not me. They blew it.”>>Oh, he was showing Mike Sherman how he did it. He said, “This is all I did.” He’s looking out. He wants to see if there’s a replay up there that shows that he didn’t hold.>>Javon Walker and Antonio Freeman are the wideouts. Ferguson is back in the locker room with a cut near his Achilles’ heel, is what they’re telling us. And Bubba Franks, the tight end, makes the catch. And now Ahman Green. Gets wrestled down by Derrick Gibson at the 46-yard line. And that will set up third and long.>>You know, when the Raiders go to their nickel or dime defense, Derrick Gibson really plays up by the line of scrimmage, and he’s more like a linebacker. And he’s very good at that. I think the closer he gets to the line of scrimmage — Here he is, the strong safety, playing like that eighth man up there. And he plays like that extra linebacker. He has the outside gap. And he played that one perfectly. Third down and a dozen at the 45-yard line. Tony Fisher, who plays a lot on third down, comes into the game, the Notre Damer, in the backfield. And they flip it to him. And he has some blocking. And Fisher is able to scramble free! Inside the 30. To the 22. And one thing about the Packers is that you’ve got Ahman Green, and then, when you spell him, Najeh Davenport is averaging over 5 yards a carry, and then you go to Tony Fisher. They’ve got three guys who can do it out of the backfield.>>You know, and the Green Bay Packers run a screen pass better than anyone in football. Watch Fisher. He comes up. He waits. He’s patient. He lets his linemen get out in front of him. Makes a couple guys miss tackles. About three guys miss tackles. But there’s nobody that runs a screen pass better than the Green Bay Packers.>>And that’s 32 yards on a third down and 12. And now Favre, who is 5 for 5 for 105 yards… is 6 for 6! And a touchdown to Javon Walker!>>Holy moly. This guy is something.>>Well, on a night like tonight, this has to be the greatest place in the world for Brett Favre to be. Therapeutic, on the field, playing football. And, of course, the rest of the week is gonna be a whole other thing, but right now, he is on fire.>>Here, we see — here’s the route out here. Now, Brett Favre is going to fake the run and he’s going to bootleg. They thought they could beat Phillip Buchanon deep. They’ve done it twice so far.>>Longwell for the point after. At the 14-yard line, Doug Gabriel takes the kickoff. Gets a block. And Gabriel, the rookie out of Central Florida, brings it up to the 38-yard line. Tyrone Wheatley picks up a couple. And, John, I can’t get into it right now. It’s so crazy. It’s more complicated than ever. Green Bay, tonight — they cannot clinch a playoff spot, nor be eliminated. There is a scenario where they might be in or out of the playoffs, depending on the Pittsburgh-Baltimore game on Sunday night. It’s a scenario that could develop.>>Yeah, and that’s the thing, you know, these Green Bay players and coaches talk about, and they say, “We can’t worry about those things. Don’t think about it. Just go out and win this game tonight, and then we’ll go play from there.”>>We’ll detail it later. It’s so complicated, I’ll make you crazy. Here is Wheatley up to the 46. You saw Ferguson come back. He had a cut on his Achilles. Now, the playoff possibilities. If the Packers win two and the Vikings lose, the Packers win the NFC North. Of course, the Vikings go to Arizona. Two Packer wins and a Seattle loss at San Francisco, Saturday, the Packers clinch. But there is a scenario where the Packers — they win, the Seahawks win, and the Cowboys lose, they could miss the playoffs. And that deals with the Pittsburgh-Baltimore game, believe it or not. It all plays a thing. On third and 3, Charlie Garner to the 40-yard line.>>And I think that’s the way the NFL wants it, too. And I think when they changed to four divisions, you know, I think these things are more likely to come about. You know, you come down to the last week of the season, you know, playoff slots are hanging on it. And, I mean, you have the regular season really mean something all the way to the end.>>And then you think you control your own fate, as they say, but the only team amongst the three that does is Minnesota. They beat Arizona next week, they’re in — period. First and 10 at the 40-yard line. They would clinch the NFC North. And now you’ve got Tyrone Wheatley cutting it back to the 32. So, here are the Raiders down by 14, a million guys on injured reserve, an abysmal season coming to an end, and trying to climb back into the game.>>You know, it was interesting when the Raiders started last year, and they were a passing team. Then they went to the Super Bowl and they were embarrassed. In the off-season, they decided that they wanted to change, they wanted to help Rich Gannon out, and not make them pass as much, but go more of a balance, more run. And then they really didn’t do that. And then when Mirer became the quarterback, they had to become a running team.>>And here’s Wheatley for 5.>>And now they’re trying to get back to some balance again. And it’s interesting, tonight, that they started off passing. You know, what they would like to be able to do against this Packer defense is run the ball on them, because they think that they’re susceptible to that, but they’ve started out passing.>>They started the year, of course, with Gannon as, the MVP, number one.>>Watch Langston Walker here. He makes a good block. I mean, he’s playing guard for the first time in his life, starting offensive left guard. And he’s 6’8″. Now, that’s a big guard.>>Big hole for Garner! Inside the 10. And the Raiders are right back in the game. 25 yards for number 25.>>Yeah, on this drive, they ran five times and only passed one time. We were just talking about Langston Walker playing left guard, the first time in his life. Charlie Garner ran right behind Langston Walker.>>61 yards. It took them six plays. Five of them running plays. And now Sebastian Janikowski with Lechler holding.>>Three touchdowns in the game, all from 20-plus yards. So no red-zone scores yet. 13 minutes into the game in Oakland, where Week 16 concludes. It’s 14-7.>>Yeah, here’s Charlie Garner. Now, here’s the one guy that does have explosion. Here’s Langston Walker, who we were just talking about, the 6’8″ guy, playing guard for the first time. It looks like the Packers just opened that hole for him, though, didn’t they? They just stunted out one way, stunted right, stunted left, and left a big, gaping hole for Charlie Garner. And then, right here, Darren Sharper doesn’t get him. Missed tackle, another missed tackle, and then Charlie Garner and his burst.>>The Bay parts for him here.>>How about the spin here? That’s not bad. A little move there, a move there. Then the spin right there. That’s a way to break a tackle. I think, on that play right there, I mean, that was a good run. And I think they got caught in a bad defense. They stunted themselves out of it, but then they still had a chance just to make it like a 10-yard play. But by poor tackling, it became a touchdown.>>Najeh Davenport, Robert Ferguson are back. Sebastian Janikowski to kick off. 4-yard line, Najeh Davenport. And he brings it to the 36. John, did you feel the earthquake today?>>No, I didn’t. I was taking a nap and I slept right through it. It happened at 12:30, right?>>11:15. It was in Central California. Many of you know, it’s about 150 miles from here, was the epicenter. But that earthquake was felt in the Bay Area and in Los Angeles. A 6.5 with some fatalities along the Central Coast. No damage here. I’m doing Chris Russo’s radio show, in New York, at that point. I’m saying, “You’re not gonna believe what I’m gonna say. We’re having an earthquake.” Something I said about 14 years ago.>>It was 11:15?>>It was 11:15, John.>>Oh, I was taking a walk then. I was on the streets. I didn’t feel anything.>>You were on “The Streets of San Francisco.” As Green gets taken down at the 34-yard line by Chris Cooper. But it was a roller, a short one. And, of course, at 150 miles away, you don’t feel anywhere near what they felt on the Central Coast today, in places like San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles.>>Well, I grew up in this area and I went to school about 5 miles from here, you know, grammar school and the whole thing. And I grew up with earthquakes, so maybe when they happen, I just, “Oh, well, this is just like the old days. It’s like being home.”>>Second down and 13. Robert Ferguson is back in the game. From the 33-yard line. Green slips down, as he might have picked up 5 or 6 more. And, by the way, that number 3 decal that you see on the back of the Green Bay helmets is for Tony Canadeo, who was a great back. They called them backs in those days, not running back. He was a back with the Packers in the ’40s and early ’50s. And he died at the end of November. He once had a 1,000-yard season in, at that time, only a 12-game schedule.>>And he was around the Packer organization for a long time. I think he was on the board of directors. And, you know, you’d go to Green Bay, and there was always something doing with Tony Canadeo.>>Tony Fisher comes in, in the third-down situation, as he did before, when they threw him a screen for 32. Now they need 8. And now the catch is made by Javon Walker. He hauls it in, makes the grab, moves the chains. Just shy of the 50.>>You know, they’ve really been working on Phillip Buchanon. I mean, it seems like everything they throw, you know, it’s Brett Favre’s right and it’s him throwing out there. Buchanon — I think, you know, he dropped a few coverages, and I think maybe he’s losing a little confidence, because he’s usually a very brash guy who likes to get up and play tight. And look at the big cushion that he gave on that side. And what happened on the opposite side — they came with the corner blitz.>>Favre is perfect — 7 of 7 for 139 and 2 scores. [ Whistles blowing ] Whistle before the snap. And, normally, that would indicate a false start.>>Prior to the snap, false start — offense, number 62. 5-yard penalty. Repeat first down.>>Marco Rivera, who will go to the Pro Bowl. The only time Brett Favre has had more passing yards in the first quarter would be against the Bears, on Monday Night Football, last year in Champaign, Illinois.>>You know, and that’s coming out of the locker room flinging and coming out of the locker room hot. And, like I said, there’s no road map for this. And how he does it I have no idea.>>What a quarter for him. In Oakland, Al Michaels, John Madden, and Lisa Guerrero. Our final Monday night telecast of the season. Good first quarter. And now Najeh Davenport in the game at running back. Brett Favre, who has not misfired. He’s 7 of 7. And the perfect game continues, as running game makes the catch. Gains about 7 yards to the 44. Second and 3. Let’s check in with Lisa.>>Well, Al, before the game, I talked to Mike Sherman and Doug Pederson about the meeting that Brett Favre called with the rest of his teammates last night. It was a very emotional team meeting. He said that he talked about his love for his father, his love for football, and his love for his teammates. He said that he had made a commitment to the Packers at the beginning of the season, and that is why he chose to play in this game tonight — because he had that commitment to this organization.>>Well, we’ve said it for years — he’s an extraordinary player, obviously, but he’s also an extraordinary guy. Second and a short 4. Starts to go to his left. Under pressure. And he gets taken down on his side of the 50 by Tyler Brayton, their rookie number-one pick out of Colorado, and Rod Coleman. And, John, you know, through the years, all of your years at FOX and on Monday night, I mean, we’ve talked about Brett Favre. He’s an easy guy to say great things about, because he does it on the field and he does it off the field.>>Right. And, you know, you think of how devastating this has to be. You know, you lose your father the day before a game. And your father was also your high-school coach. I mean, you know, so, it was a coaching relationship, a high-school coaching relationship, a father relationship, and it was so strong that you don’t know how you handle those things. But he’s doing it because he’s Brett Favre.>>Third down and 11. And he slings perfectly into the arms of Donald Driver. And takes that to the 19-yard line. So, third and long, no problem. He is 9 of 9 for 183 yards.>>Yeah, but how about the offensive line and the time that they’re giving Brett Favre? They know all about this, too. Donald Driver is just gonna run a seam pattern here. You see, you just get beyond that group of linebackers, in front of the safety. Now watch Charles Woodson is coming on a blitz. They pick it up. Brett Favre feels that and he knows that he has something up that seam, and it’s Donald Driver.>>That is the fourth time they’ve converted third and 11 or more. Ahman Green to the 16-yard line. And for Green tonight, Favre’s carried the load with his arm. Ahman Green has now carried the ball 7 times for 25 yards.>>One of the things that Mike Sherman talks about is not beating Ahman Green up, you know, to spell him during the game and save him for the fourth quarter but also to have him fresh at the end of the season.>>Favre distributing the ball. Three backs there. He gives the ball to Ahman Green. Brett Favre, tonight, with 9 completions, 9 attempts, and he has hit 7 different receivers.>>And that’s Brett Favre and that’s Green Bay Packer football. You know, he just doesn’t have one guy that he’s gonna look to or throw to all the time. He has them out there and he even tells them, “I don’t have a first read, a second read, a third read, a progression. I just go out and if I see stuff, then I’m gonna throw you the ball. So any play we call, you can be the guy, including a screen pass.”>>Now they line up with nobody in the backfield. They spread the field on third down and 4. And Favre escaping pressure. And that one is floated up in the air. He was under pressure that time from the Raiders. Goes down. Lorenzo Bromell comes in. And just throws up a duck out of bounds. Fourth and 4.>>Yeah, I mean, he knows that he has the position for the field goal down here. He had the five guys out. The protection starts to break down, and he just threw it away. But I think that was his first incomplete, though, wasn’t it?>>9 out of 10 now. First time he’s misfired. Ryan Longwell now will attempt this field goal. This will be a 31-yard attempt. Still night. Perfecto. And there’s a flag down on the kickoff, which is fielded by Doug Gabriel.>>I wonder how many kids are going to be walking around tomorrow calling themselves “GOAT.”>>GOAT. That’s right.>>”I’m the GOAT!”>>”I’m the GOAT.” Well, he is.>>”You’re the GOAT.”>>Yeah, well, there’s no doubt that he is the greatest of all time. And the Packers were offside.>>Offside — kicking team. 5-yard penalty. Re-kick.>>When you look at Rice, he’s played 19 seasons. This is the 19th. On Monday night, 44 games is 4 games shy of 3 full seasons. He’s caught 34 on Monday night. He’s had 12 100-yard games. He’s had 3 of his 4 200-yard receiving games on Monday night. He set the all-time touchdown record. And, John, the craziest thing about that — Most touchdowns ever. He set that record — or broke that record — in 1994. So for nine years, he’s been the rei– He’s still going. Nine years. And he’s now caught a pass in 272 consecutive games.>>And that’s why he truly is the GOAT. You know, there’s a couple categories when you know you’re one of the greatest of all time or one of the great players at your position or Hall of Fame, and then you get where you just separate them out and you say, “Okay, of all the greatest of all time, of all the greatest wide receivers, here’s the best right here.”>>And there’s zero argument. I mean, the only argument you could have — is he the greatest football player of all time? And that’s such a hard argument, because, I mean, a linemen doesn’t do what a receiver does, what a quarterback does, what a running back does. But, clearly, without question the greatest receiver of all time. Gabriel from the 18. And anybody who would argue that is just being stupidly stubborn.>>[ Laughs ]>>What about playing next year? Here’s what Rice told Lisa.>>I still enjoy the game. I enjoy it. I enjoy the preparation. I enjoy, you know, putting myself in the situation where there’s a chance of winning and losing. And I’m still hungry. So, you know, I know I can still play. I don’t know what the situation is gonna be next year, you know, where this team is gonna go. But, yeah, I’m still gonna play.>>Rice — a very slow start this year. He’s been more in the mix of late. He caught a pass on the first play from scrimmage tonight. 34-yard line. Swing it out here to Garner. And he gets taken down nicely by Diggs. John, I mean, will Rice be back? Will Brown be back? A lot of things here. Will the coaching staff be back? Coaches hate the word “disarray.” I mean, they hate it. Words can be powerful. Is this team more in disarray or would you say flux right now?>>I would think they’re in disarray. I think they were in flux in the Super Bowl. I think they were probably in flux maybe in the off-season and starting. And now, when you add all the injuries and everything that’s going on in the organization, I’d have to say it’s disarray.>>On second and 12, that’s Brown. And the whistle blew, so he makes the catch and he’s down by Darren Sharper. Check in again with Lisa.>>Well, Al, I spoke with Al Davis before the game and asked him specifically about the future of both Tim Brown and Jerry Rice. And I told him, “Hey, I sat down with both of these players over the weekend. They both said, on-camera, that they wanted to return to the Raiders next year.” Now, although he wouldn’t commit to their futures either way, he did tell me that that was “great to hear.” He also said that although this year has been a disappointment — the “winter of discontent,” he called it — he said things will turn around next year.>>Third down and 5 from the 39-yard line. And that pass is incomplete. Intended for Alvis Whitted. John, do the Raiders need a makeover, a face-lift, or do they need reconstructive surgery?>>Well, they probably need reconstructive surgery. And I think the reason is — when you get old, you know, and you have old players — and those old players took them to the Super Bowl last year — there’s going to be a point where you lose them. I mean, there’s a lot of them that are on I.R. now. They’ll never play again. And you talk about Rice or not. But when you get old, the next thing after that is getting young, and that’s a reconstruction.>>Lechler’s kick is a beauty. And Antonio Chatman goes this way and that way but nowhere, in effect. From the 11-yard line, they begin this drive with Ahman Green. Through the middle, behind that offensive line. And all five of those guys have started every game this season. And when you’re in sync like that, you’re in sync like Ahman Green is for 19.>>Right. And that’s a big part of it, Al, is that offensive line and playing together. Derrick Gibson, the strong safety from the Raiders, is now out of the game, so that’s gonna make this a little easier. You see, this is a counter play. Takes a counter step to the right, has the old guard pulling, the tight end coming around, and then he just gets right in behind them.>>First and 10 up at the 30-yard line. 10-point Green Bay lead. Favre is 9 of 10. And a flag.>>They’re pointing at Bubba Franks.>>False start — offense, number 88. 5-yard penalty. Remains first down.>>It was funny. Tyler Brayton was pointing at Bubba Franks, and Bubba Franks was shaking his head like, “But you’re wrong.” It’s like we’re playing in the school yard or something.>>There’s the rookie out of Colorado. One of the few bright spots this year for the Oakland Raiders, who have 11 guys, right now, on injured reserve. Plus, Barret Robbins is inactive. Dana Stubblefield’s mother died earlier this week in Kentucky, so he is not here tonight, the defensive tackle. And William Henderson gets back to the 29-yard line. He’s tackled there by Rod Coleman. So, neither of last year’s Super Bowl teams going to the playoffs. Tampa Bay and, of course, Oakland out for a couple of weeks now, mathematically.>>You watch Brett Favre. We always talk about how he throws and all those things. But the other thing he does is — he has very good ball-handling skills. You know, he doesn’t put a hand out there to fake. He puts the ball out there, shows you the ball, and he either hands it off or brings it back in on his fake for his bootleg.>>So, the strong safety, Derrick Gibson, 36, back in the game. Green swings to the outside. And Green fights his way up to the 30-yard line.>>You know, and that’s one of the big things about getting ahead is — you can stay with your running game. And all running games, you know, get easier as the game goes on. It’s easier to run in the second quarter than the first, easier in the third than the second, it’s easier in the fourth than the third, if you have the lead. And that’s the way Ahman Green runs the ball.>>Tony Fisher back in the game. Again, Green Bay has now converted 4 third and longs, meaning double digits or more. Here’s a third and 9. Favre slings it to the outside. And the catch is made in bounds by Robert Ferguson. Another great grab, right in front of the Raider bench, at the 42-yard line. Worth 27 yards. And if they’re gonna challenge, they had a perfect view of it, because it’s right in front of the Oakland bench.>>And it’s also right in front of Phillip Buchanon again. If you say, “Who are they gonna work on?” Look at the Packers are going with no-huddle so they can’t challenge.>>And the Packers made sure — But hold on. It’s possible Callahan did get the flag down or buzzed Corrente beforehand. And that will be the case. Green Bay knew exactly what was going on. So, Corrente knows — He said, “I know Green Bay’s trying to go quickly. I heard you buzz” or “I felt you buzz.”>>Oakland is challenging the ruling on the field of a completed pass.>>So, when you have a play like this, I mean, the Packers know full well, “Hey, you know, this is dubious,” so you try to run a play real quickly.” But they’re gonna take a look at this upstairs. We were looking at it. We think the play will stand. Corrente was only under the hood for 25 seconds. He’s gonna make the call here. I think the play is gonna stand.>>After reviewing the play, the ruling on the field stands. Completed pass. First down.>>As John said going to commercial — that’s the thing here — one knee equals two feet, and he clearly has control of the ball. So, the play will be over the minute or the instant the right knee touches. Right there — in bounds and control. And then rolls out of bounds and still has control of the ball. So, 11 of 12 for 211 for Favre. And Oakland is assessed a time-out because of the unsuccessful challenge. And Favre going deep into double coverage! And it is caught by Javon Walker in front of two Raiders for a touchdown! 43 yards. And a 254-yard first quarter and a half for Brett Favre. Unbelievable.>>He’s just throwing on Phillip Buchanon. I mean, you talk about someone toast or getting toasted, it’s number 31 tonight. And he’s gonna throw to him whether there’s a safety there or not. He gets a step, he gets a step. He gets behind both the corner and safety. He just throws it up, and he outjumps the two guys. I mean, look, Brett Favre just throws this one up. I think the two defensive backs — Gibson and Buchanon — just overran the ball.>>Overran it, and he adjusts. And it’s 24-7. Dorsett and Buchanon are the two guys. Buchanon has been in Favre’s sights tonight. And Brett having a phenomenal first half. Threw that one up into double coverage, as it turned out. Walker adjusting. Favre with three touchdowns tonight. 12 of 13 for 254.>>You know, and I think you’re right. I think they’re just throwing on Phillip Buchanon, because if he read Anthony Dorsett, Dorsett went to that side, and he had one-on-one on the other side and he still threw it where Buchanon was.>>Longwell’s kick a short one. Doug Gabriel from the 18. Up to the 34-yard line. And in a vital game for the Green Bay Packers, they have a 17-point margin.>>Right. And he’s thrown to eight different receivers. So, you know, as we said earlier, he doesn’t have one target or one favorite guy. If you’re going out, look for the ball.>>Here’s Wheatley. So, Brett on the bench. And, I mean, as exuberant as he is on the field tonight, I mean, you have to have your sinking spells. And it’s just amazing to me. He goes across the chalk, onto the field, he’s the real Brett Favre. And then, sometimes, he goes back to the bench, and even though he’s looking at the clipboard right there, I mean, that’s a sinking spell.>>Yeah, and it’s just something that, as I said, there’s no road map for this. You know, you don’t say, “Well, I’ll do this like I did something else a few years ago. I mean, you can’t do that. And what he’s doing and the way he’s doing it is a first time.>>Amazing. Cletidus Hunt is right there, tackling Wheatley in the backfield.>>I was talking to Doug Pederson before the game, and he said last night — He said yesterday and last night — He said it was tough. He said he had a tough time. He didn’t know if he was gonna be able to play or not. And then he said, “But then today, he’s been pretty good.” And he said, “As the day went on, Brett started getting more and more into it and better.” And he said, “I feel –” This was before the game. He said, “I feel that he feels pretty good about this game.”>>Third and 10. Underneath, they give it to Garner. And Garner tries a straight-arm. But that doesn’t work. And then Garner wants a face-mask call. Curtis Fuller bumps him out of bounds. Crowd hates the ball. There’s been a lot of booing in this stadium this year. And it’s fourth down and 8.>>You know, and that Charlie Garner could have been right here. Right there, that could have been a face mask — of the 5-yard variety, though. But you have to have more offense to get in a position where you have to root for a 5-yard-face-mask penalty.>>Lechler really booming one. 9-yard line, Antonio Chatman. And there’s a flag. So, Antonio Chatman only has one guy to beat, but he also has to beat the referee. And this will all be for naught. He’s gonna go into the end zone, but, the next thing you know, Favre and the rest of the group will come back. So, a 92-yard touchdown return will not go into the books, after a 56-yard punt.>>Yeah, Teyo Johnson was the guy that got blocked, and he just stood right where he got blocked from behind or clipped and pointed that it was coming back.>>Tony Corrente gathering the group.>>And the guy that it’s gonna be on is Paris Lenon.>>During the return of the kick, there are two fouls against Green Bay. Illegal block in the back — receiving team, number 44. This penalty is declined. Illegal block in the back — receiving team, number 53. This penalty will be assessed. Half the distance to the goal. First down.>>Lenon and Davenport. And, of course, one way to spring a guy on a 92-yard return is to have two blocks in the back. It makes it a little easier.>>The first one — 44 — that’s Najeh Davenport. And you’re gonna see that coming up right there. That’s Najeh Davenport. And then here comes Paris Lenon right there. Not bad. I mean, they weren’t, like, bad clips, like in the old days. Those were just blocking from behind.>>Well, they start from the 7. And Ahman Green takes the ball up to the 11-yard line, as the clock ticks down to 5 minutes to go in the half. Again, with Green Bay, they cannot be eliminated tonight no matter what happens. They cannot clinch a playoff spot tonight no matter what happens. Minnesota controls its fate, if they beat Arizona. And Green Bay could still get a wild-card. You’ve got a three-team scramble right now in this conference — Minnesota, Green Bay, and Seattle.>>And you know the game that killed them and Mike Sherman said he can’t get over? That Thanksgiving day game against Detroit.>>No doubt. This is Davenport. That hurt even worse than the Monday night game in Green Bay, when Donovan McNabb led Philadelphia to that come-from-behind win at the end.>>Right. And there are some games along the way that put you in these positions. You know, I mean, had you taken care of business against the Detroit Lions, then you wouldn’t be in some of these things. But because you didn’t, then you have to live with these situations.>>3 touchdowns, 1 field goal in their first 4 drives. And one of the reasons that they’ve been so successful is completing passes on third and long. In that situation again now. Favre out of the gun on third down and 8. Green is in the backfield with him. Favre gets protection and throws. And that pass is incomplete. So, Oakland is able to pin them deep. The penalties help, of course, on the runback. And now Oakland should wind up with fairly decent field position, as they try to shave the advantage before halftime.>>You know, we’re talking about Phillip Buchanon and how he’s been toasted tonight, and Brett Favre is looking for him all the time. Buchanon can do something about it right here, because this guy is a great runner in the open field.>>Josh Bidwell’s first punt of the night. Not too deep. Fair catch called for at the 46.>>You look at Tyler Brayton in there on the sideline. And he reminds me a lot of Grant Wistrom of the St. Louis Rams, Brayton does. You know, he’s one of those guys that first thing you say when you watch them is, “He has a heck of a motor,” “he goes 110 miles and hour,” and all those types of things. He doesn’t always get there, but he’s always trying to get there.>>First and 10. They have Wheatley in the backfield. Mirer throwing deep. And it’s almost picked off by Al Harris. Underthrown. Intended for Jerry Rice. Broken up by Harris. We talked about Rick Mirer a little before. At Notre Dame, great success there. But then there he was in Seattle. Remember, he was going up against Bledsoe. I mean, they were the comparative quarterbacks. And Drew went on to a great career in Seattle, now in — New England, rather, and then Buffalo. And then he’s sort of become a journeyman. And people were wondering, you know, “What happened to Rick Mirer?” He made one start, on Monday Night Football, in ’99. He’s been in uniform for 13 Monday night games. This is only the second time he’s played. And Al Harris is all over Jerry Rice, but no flag. Legal coverage. John, the thing about Mirer — I mean, what spoke volumes to us yesterday — We were talking to Darren Sharper, the great defensive back for Green Bay and we said, “What do you remember about Mirer,” who was on the scout team for Green Bay? He said, “I don’t even remember him being with us.”>>Yeah, he was there for a year. Now, you know, and you were thinking, “Okay, we’ll talk to Darren Sharper, and he’ll probably remember, ‘He can the scout team and he did this and he did that and I remember he had this game.'” He said, “I don’t even remember him being on the team.” And he was there for the year.>>The whole year. He was third behind Favre, and Doug Pederson was there at that time before he left and came back. Now Mirer’s gonna sling it. And Rice is gonna make the catch. And he goes in bounds, but, as you can see, he’s gonna be a long yard or a short 2 yards from the first-down marker. So, what does Callahan do here with 3 1/2 to go in the first half? It’s fourth and a long 1.>>Yeah, I would say he’s gonna go for it. On this possession, he threw three straight balls to Jerry Rice — two in the post and then this one on the out. And I think that first one, Jerry Rice — you know, he really had that post, and he didn’t get it out. He had Al Harris beaten. So, then they try and come back to it the second time, and, again, Mirer doesn’t get it out there. So, then they put Jerry Rice over on the right side and throw him an out. And I think, you know, if you’re Bill Callahan in this situation — 24-7, you know, the Raiders’ record this year — you know, at some point, you have to say, “What the heck?” I mean, under these circumstances, you don’t have to be conservative.>>And, at this point, no doubt he has to do that. Time-out taken by Oakland, their second. So, fourth and a long 1 at the 37-yard line.>>Because there are areas that you can run, you know, against the Packers. And they have, you know, Crockett in there, and he’s the guy that does that. And I think they can either, you know, fake to Crockett — He’s right here, so you know he’s in the game now. If they’re going to go short yardage, goal line, they usually give the ball to him or they’ll fake it to him and throw.>>They line up in a tight formation. Doesn’t necessarily mean they’re gonna run. And they won’t. And Mirer’s gonna sling one into traffic. And it is incomplete. Tim Brown the intended receiver. And Darren Sharper says, “Oh, yeah. Now I remember this guy.”>>What they did is — they brought Zack Crockett in, you know, two tight ends, they got in the “I” formation, made them think run. You see they got everyone bunched in there. Then they fake the ball to Crockett. They run Tim Brown on a cross. And, again, Mirer is just a little late getting it out there. Or Sharper’s a little early getting there before the ball gets to Tim Brown.>>Now the Packers up by 17.>>Bill Callahan’s thinking, “It’s been that kind of year.”>>Long year. Started with a loss to Tennessee on opening night. Here’s Green. And for the Raiders, it really never got to the point where it looked like this team could get going. I mean, they barely beat Cincinnati in Week 2. Killed by Denver on a Monday night game in September. And just a straight-downhill slide.>>I think it started against Tampa Bay in the Super Bowl.>>Yep.>>And I think they got beaten, I think they got embarrassed, and I don’t think they recovered from it.>>Yeah, we talked, when we had them earlier in the year, about, “Is there a hangover?” I mean, you can deny it and dispute it if you’re on the team or part of the organization, but it certainly happened. And there is Chris Cooper looking like Howie Long. Number 75 coming in, into the backfield, almost unblocked.>>Looking like Howie Long on that one play.>>Right.>>And you were right. He’s coming in there because he’s not blocked. You’re gonna see him just come right there. Chris Cooper — he doesn’t get blocked. The line pulls. He comes right in behind them. Watch — the guard pulls to the right. Mike Wahle pulls to the right, and old Cooper comes straight up the middle, taking the hole that Mike Wahle just vacated.>>Well, for you, when you see 75 make a play like that, I mean, that’s the first thing you have to think about.>>Yeah, but I would never confuse Chris Cooper with Howie Long.>>So, now it is, with 2 minutes to go, third and 5 for the Green Bay Packers at the 43-yard line. Brett Favre gets away from Cooper. When he goes to his left, he is so good. He completes it here, but Gibson makes sure that Donald Driver does not pick up the first down. But look at where they’re gonna spot this now. I’m looking across the field, and the official is standing in a position — They’re gonna make that a first down. Oh, boy. I looked at that with the naked eye and I’m not so sure about that.>>What did the naked tell you?>>Well, the naked said he didn’t make it. They put it at the 48 1/2-yard line. Where does he catch this ball, now, is the question?>>And they’re going to spot it where his forward progress stopped — right about the yellow line.>>Well, now, you can’t challenge, but you can review it from the booth. And the guys upstairs have the same angle we do. And I wouldn’t be surprised if they were to take a look here, because you can spot the ball, on a review, exactly where they had to go. They had to go to the 48-yard line, and it looked to me, just looking live, from where we are, that he didn’t get there. And they gave him a very, very generous spot.>>Well, he sure didn’t get there after he catches the ball. Watch this. You said Brett Favre, coming out to the left, throws as well as anyone. He throws better than anyone. What the heck am I talking about?>>[ Laughs ]>>And you see, after he caught the ball, it didn’t go any deeper, so it’s where he caught the ball would have to be the spot.>>Again, this is initiated upstairs with 2 minutes to go in either half. And Corrente trying to get a view that will tell him exactly where the ball should be spotted. Remember, it’s forward progress. All right, here’s another look. Let’s take a look at this from the side. This should give us a better look at this. He has to get to the 48-yard line. He’s gonna make the catch, Driver will, but where? Where is he contacted?>>Right. He has no forward progress after he makes the catch.>>Very close.>>Well, he’s short where he makes the catch, but there’s no contact yet. I mean, it’s even gonna be back. The spot has to be back from there.>>Right. He makes the catch. Now where’s the contact? There’s the contact.>>Yeah, right there. So he’s — I don’t know. What would you say with your naked — Well, not naked eye now. With your clothes on.>>Look where the ball is. Now he’s gonna get contacted.>>Right there, yeah.>>Oh, it’s very — Well, the yellow line is on the 47 1/2. It’s right about there. Corrente — Is it my understanding he doesn’t see the yellow line on the replays? All right, he will see it. Last year, he didn’t. This year, he does. Here comes the call.>>What are we talking, here, about? A half a yard?>>Less than that — inches.>>After reviewing the play, the ruling on the field stands. Completed pass. First down.>>We knew that.>>Yeah.>>That’s not what they were looking at.>>Well, we were talking about inches or feet. We weren’t talking about completed pass.>>Exactly.>>We were talking about the spot.>>Well, that’s bizarre, because I’m sure the play — The play was reviewed from upstairs not whether the pass was completed or not, but it was the spot. Maybe he just misstated what he was looking at. First down from the 48-yard line. Favre again into a lot of traffic. And how in the world does Javon Walker make that?! Double him, triple him — nothing matters.>>And Brett Favre immediately calls time-out.>>305 yards in the first half for Brett Favre — 305.>>When you get things going your way, you can throw it up anyplace you want to and you’re gonna end up with the ball. Your guy is gonna get it.>>Shaw, Asomugha, and Gibson — three defensive backs all involved in the play, to no avail.>>And they’re just playing a zone defense, but they’re not reacting to the ball. That’s what you have to do in a zone defense. You have to get back. You have to see the ball in the air and react to it. The Raiders are not reacting to the ball. You see we have the in on one side, we have the out on one side, and then we have the 3 deep zone. And Brett Favre has only one guy deep. There’s three defenders deep. He just slings it right into his one guy against their three, and his one guy comes up with it.>>That’s 46 yards. That’s 4 receptions for 124. Favre gets knocked down on the play at the end. And Javon Walker, their first-round pick in 2002, having a monster night. And that pass is caught by David Martin. And he gets into the act with a touchdown.>>You know, we talk about the Green Bay Packers being such a good screen team. They’re also a great bootleg team. And when you get down here, you just know that they’re either gonna run Ahman Green or Brett Favre is gonna throw the bootleg pass. And that’s exactly what he did. They got in there with three tight ends. They give them that run look. Then they fake the run. Brett Favre bootlegs out and he has a wide-open Martin.>>4 touchdowns, 311 yards. You bring this script to a studio, and they throw it out. I mean, this is like fantasy. A ridiculous fantasy. 311 yards for Brett Favre, 4 touchdowns? Here we go again.>>Here we go. Three tight ends. Fake the run. Bootleg out to the right. David Martin wide open. You know that the Packers — when they get down there, they are going to bootleg and they are gonna throw the ball to a tight end. I’ll tell you — you talk about having a hot first half?>>Well, here it is, statistically. 311 the most in his career. 295 against the Lions last year. 287 against the Bears on Monday night in Champaign last year. I mean, Brett Favre, who will go through every emotion over the next 48 hours — We understand that he’s gonna fly back to Green Bay. Then go from Green Bay to Mississippi for the service on Wednesday. They have a huge game next week. I mean, he’s all over the place, but at least, you know, for the moment, I mean, it’s just unbelievable.>>And knowing Brett Favre, that’s exactly what his thinking — that that’s what his dad would want him to do. He’s coming out here dedicating this game to his dad, and then he’s gonna deal with it once this game’s over. But those things last for a long time. I mean, that’s something that is going to come and go. And, you know, his range of emotions will come and go.>>That’s a beautiful sight. You know, there’s laughing. There’s gonna be a lot of crying and all the rest with his glistening eyes here, but — Oh, my.>>I think there’s a little crying mixed in with the laughing right there.>>No doubt. Yep. 54 seconds now remaining. 12-yard line. That’s Doug Gabriel. Up to the 29. Second and 9. And that’s caught by Jerry Rice. And there’s a guy who’s dominated a few games in his time. To the 42-yard line. And now Oakland is going to stop the clock.>>Well, they finally got that down to Jerry Rice. It’s the third time that they ran this pattern. They ran it twice in the last possession, and Rick Mirer threw the ball short. Then they come back, and Jerry Rice, I’m sure, is saying, “Look, I can do this. Give me that post. Put me in the middle. I’ll catch it all day on these guys.”>>You know, you think about the connection here — a Mississippian, Jerry Rice, a Mississippian, Brett Favre. Steve McNair also falls into that category. Something’s in the water down there.>>Yep. There is. And, you know, I think Jerry Rice said a key thing in that interview with Lisa Guerrero, where he was saying that he still likes to prepare. You know, and that’s the thing. Whatever, you know, for a fighter, for a baseball player, for a football player, you know, it’s not playing. You’re always gonna love to play, but do you love to get ready to play?>>From the 42. Mirer throws. And that’s dropped by Charlie Garner. You know, John, you and I have talked to Jerry a lot, you know, the last couple of years. Seems to me he is — I don’t know about this year. But last year, he seemed to be enjoying playing football as much as he ever did. And there’s an appreciation, I think that develops, especially when your 40 is looming.>>Well, right. You know, when you start off, everything’s new to you, you know? And you have Joe Montana as your quarterback, and that’s great. Then you have a great middle of your career. Then when it gets to the end, you start looking — “This is gonna be over soon. I want to make memories.”>>And Rick Mirer would like to forget that and get that out of his memory bank, as Bhawoh Jue comes in from the corner to sack him at midfield, at the 50. And now the Raiders are out of time-outs, and Mirer trying to gather the team, get them set. [ Whistles blowing ] And he spikes it here. There’s a flag down. He was trying to buy time for one last fling to the end zone on fourth down. But let’s see about the call here.>>You know, on that last play — not the spike play, the one before that –>>There is no foul on the play. Number 81 was in the backfield, leaving seven men on the line of scrimmage. The result of the play — third down.>>All right, so, one official actually thought it was an illegal formation, but it’s overruled.>>Anyway, the Packers, on the blitz — they bring both corners. Now, that happens a lot, where you bring one corner. But the Packers are one of the few teams that will blitz both their corners.>>So, it’s fourth down at the 50-yard line. And Mirer — Well, he’s gonna get taken down at the 41. And they’re gonna turn the ball over here, as Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila is in there.>>There were 4 seconds left on the game clock. 4 seconds left on the game clock.>>On fourth down, at the end of the play, on a change of possession, the clock stops. That’s why I’m looking at the clock, saying, “What are they doing?” So, now you have Brett Favre — You can either have him sling it to the end zone — the line of scrimmage is the 42 — or bring Longwell in for what would be about a 60-yard attempt. The Raiders have to come back out of the tunnel to defend this play.>>Yeah, as you say, on fourth down, it’s automatic time-out, a change of possession. So when Mirer goes down, the clock stops. And I would think, just knowing Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers, that they’d take one more sling at it.>>Oh, yeah. Hey, he’s been pretty good on the slings tonight.>>Because you’re either gonna sling it or kneel down, and I can’t see them kneeling down — not from the shotgun.>>When you’re beating double and triple coverage all night, why not? There’s no downside to this. He loves going left. He’s terrific rolling left. He’s going to the end zone. Is this possible? No. Okay. Pretty good, though, all things considered, in the first half. What a half. When everything is considered and factored in and under the most bizarre — Not bizarre circumstances, but one of the most depressing of circumstances, to have that first half is simply unbelievable. Najeh Davenport at the 10. Running it back. And the Packers begin the second half with a long runback. And Janikowski appeared to be in a position to want to stop him and then not only did an olé, just kind of stepped away. And now he starts at the 30-yard line. Right where he left off. Oh! Almost. David Martin looking over the top of his head. And Derrick Gibson was covering on the play. Almost another one.>>You know, that’s probably the toughest catch you have to make is that ball that comes right over your head. But as a quarterback, that’s where Brett Favre wants to put it. Now watch Martin right there. He has to locate the ball in space and then catch it right over his head. But you have to make that play. He looked over his right shoulder, over his left shoulder. Then you have to look back and locate the ball in space, coming over the top of your head.>>Second and 10. Green cuts behind Henderson. Horrible tackling by the Raiders. Just terrible. Down to the 11-yard line. And let’s check in with Lisa. 19-yard gain.>>Well, Al, at halftime, I asked Bill Callahan, “How do you even begin to try and stop Brett Favre in the second half?” He said, “Lisa, I have absolutely no idea. We’ve been trying to get cornerback Phillip Buchanon some help. I think we have, to some degree, but Brett Favre has been outstanding — simply outstanding.” Meanwhile, when I asked Coach Sherman about the performance of his receiving corps in that first half, he said, “Hey, they are stepping up because they have a lot of love for their quarterback. They’re proving it tonight.” He also said that Brett is as focused right now as he has ever seen him. Al.>>It’s unbelievable. They’ve given Buchanon help — they put him on the bench. And he’s been replaced by Terrance Shaw. And then Franks gets banged down. And Rod Coleman comes in to smack him at the end. Woodson with the initial stop.>>Yeah, because those are the types of things that the Packers do. The closer they get to the goal line, the bigger play that the tight end becomes. You know, so, that’s what they want to do. They want to go to the extra tight end. This is where Bubba Franks catches all those balls. This is also where, you know, Brett Favre loves to bootleg. And I think the way they have the Raiders going now, they may be able to just run Ahman Green at them.>>And, so, Buchanon torched in the first half, watches in the second. Second down and 8 at the 9-yard line. Fake the inside give to Fisher. Favre escapes. Floats one out of the back of the end zone.>>That’s the bootleg, and they ran that from the shotgun.>>Numbers, first half. Phenomenal. 362 total yards, 304 passing.>>Brett Favre was 15 for 18 and 4 touchdowns, and I think his quarterback rating was perfect, wasn’t it?>>It was perfect. 158.3.>>Can’t do any better than perfect. Third down and 8. A little too high. That time, the linebacker covering Wesley Walls, as Napoleon Harris was right there. And it’s fourth down. And they’ll have to settle for a field-goal attempt.>>You know, it’s interesting that Mike Sherman said, you know, the love that the receivers have for Brett Favre and knowing that he’s focused and what he’s going through, and they have to step up. I’ll tell you — that’s not the only group. This offensive line is doing the same thing in protection for Brett Favre. They know that they have something special here tonight, and they have to play somewhat special.>>27-yard attempt. Longwell splits the uprights. 2 minutes into the third quarter. 14-yard line, Doug Gabriel. Brings it back to the 31-yard line. And that’s where the Raiders will take over. Brett Favre, with Doug Pederson taking notes.>>You know, Doug Pederson has to be something special to Brett Favre, because, you know, Brett Favre’s wife, Deanna, has to call someone, you know, to tell him about his father passing away. And you wonder, you know, who that would be, and the person that she chose was Doug Pederson. And Doug Pederson got the call and had to tell Brett. And, you know, that has to be a tough thing.>>He said — I talked to Doug about it. He said, “It’s the toughest thing I’ve ever had to do. You know, I’m standing there right with him.” William Henderson is the injured Packer. And he’s on his way to his feet right now. When Deanna calls and Doug is standing right there and he’s absorbing the message, it’s not as if he can even think about what he’s gonna say and go find Brett. He’s right there.>>Yeah, so, you know, you get that, and then you have the shock of you getting it and then you have to deliver what’s going to become a much bigger shock.>>From the 32-yard line on first down. Wheatley. Stopped by Na’il Diggs. So, Irvin Favre — there’s some video and film with — You see the young Brett there as a toddler. His dad was, as we said, his coach. Chowing down at the Favre household. And at the age of 58, Irvin Favre, yesterday, in his car — in his truck, actually — off the road. And they were saying the impact was not enough to have killed him, so it was something else, and, apparently, it was a massive heart attack that created the accident. Second and 10 at the 32-yard line. Mirer throws into traffic. And Jerry Rice will draw a flag over the middle.>>You know, and Brett used to always talk about his dad, you know, being his high-school coach. And he used to go out there to practice, you know, when he was young, and he would always throw the ball. He would always grab all the footballs and throw them all over the place. And then when he’d come to play for his dad, he wanted to, you know, throw the ball. I mean, all he ever wanted to do in life is sling the ball anytime he was in any kind of game. And his dad ran a wishbone offense. They didn’t sling it a lot in that.>>You know, John, the amazing thing is — if the tragic circumstance of yesterday don’t happen –>>There is no foul for defensive pass interference, as the pass is ruled uncatchable. The pass was actually thrown behind the receiver.>>So, no pass interference. If the tragedy of yesterday didn’t happen, we’d be talking about, “Isn’t it amazing that Brett Favre can do this with a fractured thumb?” And it’s because of the extraordinary circumstances we barely mention that.>>Right. And you can see that right thumb there. You know, he has a splint on it. Thumb is broken on the top knuckle, and he says the x-rays haven’t really changed that much.>>Packer fans having a lot of fun tonight here.>>I think there’s more Santa Clauses here than Packer fans.>>Third down and 10. Christmas has come early for the Packer fans. And they complete it to Rice. And then he has it batted out of his hands. But I think he comes up with it himself. Jerry Rice had it batted by Bhawoh Jue. It’s a 29-yard gain. And then has the presence of mind to find the football, fall on it, and keep possession.>>You know, he’s run that pattern three times from the left side, and, here, he’s gonna run it from the right side. He’s the outside receiver. He’s gonna come up and run the post in here. See, up. He lets the other guy clear. Then he comes to the inside, right in that seam. Rick Mirer hit him right when he got by the defender.>>Bhawoh Jue dislodged the ball, but he gets it back. And a big hole for Wheatley! Wheatley inside the 10 and then dragged down at the 7-yard line. Finally corralled by Hannibal Navies. Breaking out of a would-be tackle by Michael Hawthorne. 31-yard gain.>>You know, this is what the Raiders thought they could do, but to do this, they had to have the lead. They thought they could run on the Packers. Here’s Tyrone Wheatley here. And you see he just gets good blocks, good blocks. Missed tackle, missed tackle. And he runs right through. Tell you — Grady Jackson gets so much penetration, right there, off the bat, he takes himself right out of the play, number 75.>>And then Wheatley has to come out of the game, as he was tackled from behind. Charlie Garner is in for him. Football goes to Garner. And Garner gets taken down by Na’il Diggs a yard behind the line of scrimmage.>>Na’il Diggs looked like he was a little upset when he made that tackle, didn’t he?>>Mm-hmm.>>He got penetration, he came around there, and he was gonna finish Charlie Garner off. But this is what the Raiders thought they would do. You know, they thought if they could get a lead or be close that they would be able to run the ball on this Packer defense. When the score is 34-7, that’s kind of tough.>>Too late now. Second down and goal from the 9. Lofted. And then picked off by Hawthorne. So, an underthrown pass intended for Teyo Johnson, the tight end. Underthrown, and Hawthorne, the guy playing tonight because of the injury to Mike McKenzie, with the pick. And that’s batted away by Gibson. All right, let’s start talking about the Packers and their playoff possibilities. We touched on it earlier. Two wins and a Vikings loss at Arizona, Pack will win the division. Two wins and if the Seahawks lose at San Francisco Saturday, they get into the playoffs but don’t win the division. Two wins, a Seahawks win against San Francisco, and a Cowboy loss to New Orleans, and they could miss the playoffs. And that’s where we started to talk, before, about the craziness. Green. But for the NFL to avoid getting into this point-differential thing, they minimized the impact of that a couple of years ago and they put in something called strength of victory. And they also have strength of schedule. And part of that strength of victory is — they compare the teams that the playoff contenders faced and what those teams’s records are at the end of the season. And you don’t know what the record is until the season is over. And that is how the Packers could win two and be thrown out of the playoffs, dependant on the Pittsburgh-Baltimore game on Sunday. Third and 6. Fisher. Up to the 31-yard line. If Seattle beat Pittsburgh, that would come into play. And, crazily enough, if Dallas loses and Dallas then winds up with 10 wins — And they play New Orleans. And it’s a game where if Philadelphia wins, Dallas has really nothing to play for in the New Orleans game, and maybe they play a lot of subs. And Seattle wins and the Packers win twice, then, believe it or not, the Pittsburgh-Baltimore game, which may not mean anything either, if Cincinnati loses on Sunday, could determine whether Seattle or Green Bay gets into the playoffs, okay?>>I was with you all the way until you brought Pittsburgh in. Then I got a headache. [ Both laugh ]>>Yougot a headache?>>I don’t know where I am now when Pittsburgh and Baltimore is in there.>>I don’t know what state I’m in. This is Najeh Davenport. To the 35-yard line.>>You’re in a state of knowledge. I’m in a state of confusion. But I think this is what, you know, as I said earlier, the NFL wants. I mean, they went to the four divisions. They went to these tie breakers. They want all this talk and all these teams that still have a shot right up till the end of the season. But the way Green Bay is playing now — I mean, forget Pittsburgh — I mean, the way they’re playing now, they look — Tonight, they look like a playoff team. And I think that’s a big thing. You want to be peaking the closer you get to the playoffs.>>Favre converts here. And Bubba Franks picks up the first down at the 50. John, we like to show pass charts. How about Brett in the first half?>>I have never seen a better pass chart than this. I mean, when you’re talking pass charts, this is what you’re talking about. The first area across there is 5 yards and under. And then between 5 and 15, you see he’s 3 out of 4, 1 for 1, 1 of 1. And then over 15, 3 for 3 to the right, 3 for 4 in the middle, 1 for 1 on the left side. But that’s a perfect rating and that’s a perfect pass chart. He was 15 out of 18, 311 yards, and 4 touchdowns.>>5-yard gain here for Ahman Green. And, of course, every time Brett throws a completion, something happens to the record book. 24th straight game with a touchdown pass. Johnny Unitas with the record, at 47. As we said before, he now is only behind Marino in career touchdown passes. And he has 31 this season to lead the league. And seven consecutive seasons — or seven seasons, overall, with 30 or more touchdown passes for number 4. Green again. To the 39. You know, we talk about records, and I bring up the Unitas thing, John. And you think about the fact that Favre has thrown a touchdown pass in 24 straight games, that’s the equivalent of 1 1/2 full seasons. But he is still 1 1/2 more seasons away from that mark by Unitas.>>Yeah, you know, and you wonder about the second half. You know what Brett Favre is going through. And then he had to get himself ready to come out here and play this game in the first half. Then you have to go in at halftime, you know, and then kind of regroup.>>6:15 to go in the period. Davenport. And Davenport finally gets gang-tackled after a gain of 5. That consecutive-game touchdown streak — There’s Unitas back in the late ’50s and into 1960. Marino, in the mid-’80s, had 30 — second most. And compared it to, like, Joe DiMaggio — There’s the mark there, 56. Pete Rose came the closest, with a 44-game hitting streak in 1978. He got closer, in effect, in terms of math, to DiMaggio than Favre is to Unitas. Second down and 4. Screen to Davenport. Close to a first. You know, John, the other thing about before when we were talking about his teammates and the love they have for him, can you think of another player in the league who commands more respect around the league, from the opposition, than this man?>>No. You know, we were looking at film, and sometimes, you get the feeling that no one is ever gonna take a cheap shot on Brett Favre. You know, they’ll rush him. They’ll compete. I mean, you watch Warren Sapp, over the years, go after him. All these guys go after him, but he’s a little like Wayne Gretzky was in hockey. You know, there’s something about this guy — He competes. And I think everyone plays against Brett Favre with respect.>>It’s kind of funny. We were just mulling it around in our little production meeting this morning, about the opposition, the Raiders, tonight. There’s such a respect, there’s a sympathy that they have to have for Brett. And, you know, they would never — Most guys would not cheap-shot him anyway, but, I mean, they have to be, you know, clearly aware of it. And you don’t know what the dynamic is on the other side of the ball in this situation.>>Well, you know, I was just watching them as they — You know, they come out the same tunnel here at halftime. And I was watching Brett Favre come by, and Tyrone Wheatley came up behind him and put his arm around him. And then Tim Brown did. You know, and you just saw them — And, you know, whatever they say. And that’s all about respect.>>Davenport. I don’t think we’ll see Brett Favre pulling any cellphones out of goalpost padding.>>No. No, Brett Favre has true emotion. There’s nothing premeditated. It’s just when something happens, it’s a reaction. I mean, he has as much love and passion for this game as one can have. He wants someone to hurry up. This Najeh Davenport is a load, isn’t he?>>Yeah.>>He ran that kickoff back and he’s made a couple runs here. And some of those tacklers don’t look like they have quite the interest in the collision that they should have.>>The Raider fans, The Black Hole. It’s been a Black Hole of indifference for it this year. Ahman Green is that tough in short yardage, and that’s the situation here. Fourth and inches. He’s been the man. He figures to get the ball. He does. And he somehow figures out a way to cut it back inside. There’s a flag down. And for the moment, has a first down. But a holding call, as you saw, from the head linesman will negate this.>>Yeah, they put Nick Luchey in there to lead, and he makes a good lead block.>>Holding — offense, number 89. 10-yard penalty. Repeat fourth down.>>Now this makes some kind of kicking situation, I would imagine, here, because they were fourth and inches and they were going to go for it on that fourth-down situation. On this one, I think this is a punting situation.>>Yeah, because, otherwise, you’re gonna try a 57-yard field goal on this soft, moist grass. And the downside is a ball going to the Raiders at the 47. So, Josh Bidwell will punt. Phillip Buchanon comes into the game to run it back. And it’s heading for the end zone. And it’s into the end zone for the touchback. Started the season with the Redskins as the backup to Patrick Ramsey, and they let him go at the end of October. And the Raiders picked him up, and he was on the roster as of November the 9th. So, Johnson takes over for Mirer. And Tyrone Wheatley picks up a hard yard to the 21. And we go to Lisa.>>Well, if you’re a red-blooded American male, all kinds of images probably come to mind when you hear the word “Raiderette.” I bet one of those images is not grandmother, but think again. Kathy Ferrin, 41 years old, was originally a Raiderette in 1986. Then she took time off to raise her daughter, Kara. And this season, after a 17-year layoff, she tried out and made the squad again. Her daughter’s now 20 and gave birth 7 weeks ago to a baby girl, Mackenzie, giving Grandma Kathy something to cheer about.>>Grammy. Johnson takes off. Goes to the 36-yard line. Marques Anderson makes the tackle. And there she is, Grandma Kathy.>>Old Raiderettes never go away. They just have children and come back.>>And come back. Right. Hey, why not, you know? Morten Andersen is still kicking. Doug Flutie’s still playing.>>How about Jerry Rice?>>Jerry Rice is still playing.>>Tim Brown.>>Sure.>>Trace Armstrong was.>>There’s another 41-year-old.>>Rod Woodson. All kinds of them around here.>>Johnson. Slings it incomplete, Brown. Second down and 10. Tim Brown has been stuck just short of a milestone. He has caught 99 touchdown passes in his career, but it’s taken him a long time, and he hasn’t caught one since very early in the season. And Lincoln Kennedy, right now, is the man who is down on the field. We mentioned before that it appears that Lincoln, in his 11th season, is about ready to hang it up. Nothing official. He gets up and gets saluted.>>I think it’s gonna be very close to be official that this is Lincoln Kennedy’s last year. In fact, he talked about retiring after last season. You know, you were talking about Tim Brown, you know, that he would like to be here another year and play one more year for the Raiders. And, you know, you don’t know. You don’t know what that situation is gonna be.>>Chad Slaughter comes in in place of Kennedy. Flag. Johnson gets sacked. That’s not unusual. Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila. John, I mean, one of the biggest questions for the Raiders, in addition to, “What do they do with the coaching staff?”, is — “What do you do with Rich Gannon next year?” MVP last year. Shoulder surgery. Closing in on, you know, 40. What do you do with Rich Gannon?>>Well, that’s the thing. And, you know, it depends on his contract and it depends on how that surgery went. I mean, I think if Rich Gannon can come back –>>Illegal use of the hands, hands to the face — defense, number 31. 5-yard penalty. Automatic first down!>>I think if Rich Gannon could come back like he was two years ago, you’d like to have him. But I think he has to be tested to see if he can still play. That’s hands to the face. And I’ll tell you one thing about Jerry Rice — he’s been around too long. And he said, “Hey, you talk about respect. We have to respect each other. Man, you’re not showing me any respect with that stuff.”>>He’ll take you down by the hair if you don’t watch it.>>And that is legal, because the hair is part of the uniform, as we know.>>As Ricky Williams knows. Here’s Wheatley. Tim Brown — By the way, Gannon was 38 on Saturday. And here’s what Tim Brown told Lisa about wanting to remain a Raider.>>It’s gonna be a very tough decision if I have to make that, but it’s one that you have to cross when you come to it. And we’ll see what happens. But, you know, I think if I went to Mr. Davis and said, “Hey, look, you know, let me get one more year in,” for whatever reason, you know, I think we can probably work that out. I would hope so. After 16 years, you’d think I would deserve it.>>Wheatley comes limping off. Brown is 37 years old. He’s been a lifelong Raider. Started in L.A., of course, in ’88, out of Notre Dame.>>You know, there was a point that Tim Brown was gonna leave here. But he’s been a heck of a player for the Raiders over that 16-year period.>>Second and 9. Here comes the blitz. Johnson gets it off. And it’s incomplete. But the pressure was put on by “KGB.”>>I think when you see Rob Johnson in there at quarterback, the first thing you think is, “Pressure him,” because he has to lead. I mean, I don’t know the number of plays. Rob Johnson has to take more hits and have been sacked more than anyone. In fact, you can’t even see his number anymore. But I think it’s just a feeding frenzy for defensive linemen whenever they see Rob Johnson at quarterback. They know where they’re gonna be and they’re gonna beat him to that point.>>And there’s the illustration. 1 sack every 6.7 dropbacks. And that’s why they love to blitz him, and they get in his face. And they knock it away. It’s knocked away. Marques Anderson, on the safety blitz, came in and swatted it.>>Yeah, that’s the thing that they’re gonna do. I mean, as I said, when they see Rob Johnson, they’re gonna bring the house. I mean, here comes the safety. Here comes the other safety right behind him, right in Rob Johnson’s face.>>If you’re a pass-rushing defensive end, you have to be licking your chops when Johnson’s in the game. And Lechler’s kick is a monster boot that bounces at the 6 and softly lands near the hole. Ronald Curry. And the rest of the putt is good.>>Not bad.>>[ Laughs ] Nick Luchey. Ahman Green breaks one for a first down. And, of course, when you think about the beginning of this season, John, and all the big stories, that was the biggest. Parcells comes back. And did he ever.>>You know, it was interesting. Today, Bill Parcells told his assistant coaches, “Don’t accept kudos.” And he said, “The one thing you know, in this position, you never admire your work.” He said, “You can have pride in your work, but you never sit and admire it.” And I think that’s true in anything.>>With a look at the Bay Bridge. Al Michaels, John Madden, and Lisa Guerrero in Oakland. 34-7, Green Bay, as we start the fourth. “SportsCenter” on ESPN, local news on ABC following the game. And Green Bay up by 27. Favre gives it to Green, who — or, rather, yes, to Tony Fisher, who starts the period with a carry here. I started to mention Green, because Green, along the way, has had 109 yards rushing tonight. And, of course, with Brett Favre being Brett Favre tonight, who’s noticed? But there is Ahman Green this season. Third in rushing, fourth in yardage. And, of course, he broke that mark held by Jim Taylor for 41 years — most rushing yards in a season for probably the most favored of franchises, along with the Chicago Bears, the Green Bay Packers. Ahman Green for a couple.>>And you notice he doesn’t wear those black rubber elbow pads anymore.>>Your advice.>>Well, yeah, because you could just see they were getting wet and they were getting slippery. And he was holding the ball against them. And he’d get hit, and the ball would just go sliding out of there. He took them off, put these on and hasn’t taken these off since.>>And hasn’t fumbled since. And when he took them off that night, John, on Monday night against Philly, he wound up with 192 yards that evening, against the Eagles. And that was another Green Bay record. Third and 9 from the 35. Screen, Green. Taken down in the open field by Eric Barton. So, they’ve been the culprits. Bidwell’s kick. Deep. 14-yard line. Buchanon. To the 23-yard line. And, here, you have the sleeves. And I’ll bet you those rubber sleeves aren’t in there anymore, John.>>You have the slick ones and the not-so-slick ones.>>Johnson throws. Caught. 11-yard gain. Jerry Rice makes the catch. We’ve discussed the NFC playoff picture. AFC is considerably simpler. New England, Kansas City, and Indy are in, along with, at the moment, Baltimore. If they win, they’re in. Otherwise, if Cincinnati loses, they’re still in. Wild-card teams are Tennessee and Denver. That’s a lock. So, it’s Baltimore and Cincinnati. That’s it. Five of the teams are set. One remaining berth. Tennessee still has a shot to win that division. So, they’re in, has, at worst, a wild card.>>And Pittsburgh can affect the Green Bay Packers.>>And the Pittsburgh-Baltimore game, whether it means anything or not, could affect whether Green Bay or Seattle goes to the playoffs.>>That’s where you lost me.>>Yep.>>I got discombobled right in that one.>>I started to tell the Packers about that before the game, and they had that glazed-over look.>>Yeah.>>And I had that glazed-over look. So, you know, just a whole bunch of glazed looks. [ Laughs ] Look at Brett Favre right now. And, of course, you can imagine the things that go through his mind as he stands on the sideline. And that’s caught. And the ball comes loose. And it is incomplete is the ruling. They’re gonna say “no catch” by O.J. Santiago. Let’s check in with Lisa.>>Well, Al, as you know, three weeks ago, Packers running back coach Sylvester Croom made history when he was named the first black head coach in the SEC, for Mississippi State. But, actually, this is not the first time he has been a pioneer. He was in the first racially integrated class of Tuscaloosa High School, in 1968. He was one of the first black football players for Bear Bryant at Alabama. And by his senior year, he was voted team captain. A true trailblazer, Al.>>And our congratulations to “Sly.” And we wish him much success in Starkville, in the Golden Triangle. Johnson throws. Brown — Unh-unh. Oh, now they’re gonna say “yes.” Al Harris said he was out of bounds. And this has the makings of a review, challenge.>>And I think we’re gonna have a penalty on roughing the passer, too. I think after — I think Rob Johnson got hit after he threw that one.>>Marques Anderson came through on the safety blitz.>>I think it was Marques Anderson is the guy that hits him. You see he’s number 20, right there.>>…roughing the passer — defense, number 20. 15-yard penalty will be added to the end of the play. Automatic first down!>>Yeah, that’s that whole thing — you know, the quarterback is out of the pocket, so he loses his protection, when he starts to become a runner, but if he throws the ball, you still can’t hit him well after he throws the ball.>>And if Green Bay wanted to challenge, even if he had won the challenge, you still would have had Oakland with the ball and a first down after the personal foul. Lincoln Kennedy is back in the game. Johnson. Near sack. Connects along the sideline. Jerry Rice hauls it in. So, the dancing along the chalk, and Jerry Rice makes another catch. Chukie Nwokorie was chasing Johnson. 15-yard gain.>>They’re coming after Rob Johnson, but he’s getting the heck out of there. He’s not gonna stand in the pocket. He makes a little move there. Then he makes another move there. And then he gets the ball out. That’s pretty good. Rob Johnson made two pretty quick moves there.>>And that’s 6 catches and 104 yards for Jerry Rice. And 100-yard performances for Jerry this year don’t come around every weekend. Mm! [ Laughs ] We said before Gbaja-Biamila — I mean, that’s just like seeing raw meat back there when you see Rob Johnson.>>Right. And he did have Jerry Rice on a post. I mean, Jerry Rice was open. He could have hit him. But Gbaja-Biamila comes, from this right side, unblocked. And that becomes Rob Johnson’s back side. See, no one blocks him. I mean, that’s tough there. You have to know who Gbaja-Biamila is and you have to get him. Look at Jerry Rice. I mean, he had a shot there. When they came on that blitz, he had a shot. He had a shot that he could have hit Jerry Rice.>>Three sacks for KGB tonight. Second down and 16 now for Oakland. [ Whistles blowing ] You know, John, we’ve been watching Favre tonight. And he’s been immune, for the most part, to criticism.>>Prior to the snap, false start — offense, number 80. 5-yard penalty. Remains second down.>>And from the time he was green and kind of a wild kid under Holmgren — But then it was interesting. We had him Chicago this year, early, on a Monday night in September. And he was hurt. He was very hurt because one of the local Packer writers — I think Milwaukee — had written a column, you know, questioning his efficiency and whether he still had it and all that. And you would think that a guy would be able to just blow that off, but he came into the meeting, and that what was on his mind. He kept bringing it up.>>Well, like Mike Sherman told us yesterday about that — he said, you know, he hadn’t been used to criticism. I mean, he hadn’t had it when he was in college. He hadn’t had it as a pro. And, you know, you get it, and who does know how to handle it well?>>You know, it was Murray Kempton, who won a Pulitzer Prize, a columnist — I believe it was in regard to critics, where Kempton said, “They are the people who come down from the hills after the battle to shoot the wounded.”>>And that’s — You know, when you get on Brett Favre, I mean, you’re looking for something to criticize, aren’t you?>>Well, you have to be. He either said that about critics or about editorial — It was a line, I think, from Kempton years ago. Third down and 16.>>”Come down from the mountains and shoot the wounded,” huh?>>Shoot the wounded. Come down right after the battle. And that’s caught over the middle by Alvis Whitted, who makes the acquaintance of one Michael Hawthorne.>>You know, I think he’s in there because Jerry Porter, for whatever reason, was out of practice the other day, the Raiders’ practice. And Jerry Porter kind of tweaked something and didn’t practice that day. Then they said he’d be okay. He came out here for pregame warm-up. He tried to do whatever he was gonna do, reinjured himself. And, of course, he’s the speed in this offense. And then when you don’t have him, you don’t have the speed, and that’s why you put Alvis Whitted in there. He’s kind of taking Jerry Porter’s place.>>You just saw Porter. Johnson almost gets sacked. You saw Cletidus Hunt banging the ground in frustration. And that pass is incomplete. And they’ll turn it over. Little time lapse on the Bay Bridge. Boy, wouldn’t that be great, John, to get across the Bay Bridge like that?>>Yeah, with that little traffic, too. I’ve never seen it like that, where you have that big a gap that you can go that fast. I mean, it’s usually, like, you know, bumper-to-bumper.>>It’s a parking lot. 23-yard line on first down. Ahman Green for 2. John, Brett Favre is still in the game at this point, up by 27. What do you think?>>I think that he made a commitment that he was gonna play in this game and I think they made a commitment to him that this is his game. And I think the worst thing that they could do is take it away from him now. I think that this is gonna be a long night for him. And after this game is over, it’s gonna be very difficult for Brett Favre, and I don’t think you want to speed that up.>>Injury time-out. Nfl.com — interesting information there. Always available. Second down and 8. And the pass to Ferguson is incomplete.>>Are there any better-looking bridges than the bridges in this San Francisco Bay Area?>>Absolutely not. I mean, two phenomenal structures. The Bay Bridge, of course, which is a dual bridge, with the four towers, and then Yerba Buena Island and Treasure Island and the cantilevered portion, which they’re redoing, by the way. There it is. And the cantilevered portion — I’d use that telestrator, but you know me and the telestrator. And that’s in the foreground there. And then the island in the middle. And then, of course, the Golden Gate Bridge. Third down and 8. Favre is gonna launch this one. And in between two defenders is Donald Driver to haul it in. Derrick Gibson was there on one side. Terrance Shaw on the other. And that’s good for 41 yards.>>Amazing. They get Phillip Buchanon out of there. We talked about that. And they put Terrance Shaw in there. He’s number 22. And you’re gonna see he’s running right there with him. And, again, the Raiders’ defensive backs — They’re throwing right into coverage. And they have pretty good coverage. They’re just misjudging the ball. Brett Favre is having one of those nights, and his receivers are having one of those nights that anything they throw up, he’s gonna get.>>First and 10 at the 34-yard line. Favre has now thrown for 386. Here’s Green. You know, John, you’re talking about the bridges. You were there yesterday. We were having our meeting with the Packers, and Brett Favre is sitting at the end of the table. And I’m off his left shoulder. And there’s a big window there at the Claremont Resort in Berkeley. You can look out the window, and about 10 miles out yonder, as Keith Jackson would say, is the Golden Gate Bridge. And Brett Favre’s talking about, you know, how the young kids sometimes have trouble falling asleep in meetings, not paying attention. He looks at me and he says, “Like you now.” And I said, “Wait a second. I have your profile in the foreground and the Golden Gate Bridge in the background. I’m looking at two American icons right now.>>Is that what you were thinking, though?>>Exactly what I was thinking.>>He wanted to know what you were thinking.>>And that’s exactly what it was. Najeh Davenport to the 23-yard line.>>You know, I think that gives us a little more insight to Brett Favre, too. I mean, you know, that he’s very observant, you know, I mean, to those things. I mean, he’s looking at you and asking you what you’re looking at or thinking. And you tell him. And you kind of hit that right on the head. I mean, we are talking icon.>>Sure. I mean, he’s looking out of the corner of his eye, saying, “Are you really paying attention to what I’m saying?”>>You know, talking about paying attention, he’s hit 11 different receivers tonight.>>Amazing.>>They all better be paying attention.>>First and 10. And here’s Davenport tackled by Barton.>>Eric Barton’s made a lot of tackles tonight. And he plays that weak-side, or Will, linebacker they call it. You know, they took Napoleon Harris and they took him out of the middle, put Tim Johnson in the middle, and then they put Harris at the strong, or Sam, linebacker. And the only reason was — they wanted to keep Eric Barton at that weak linebacker, because he makes a lot of tackles. And that’s what he’s done tonight.>>Second and 10 at the 21. Six tackles for him tonight, for Barton. Green. 120 yards so far.>>Yards from scrimmage — over 2,000. Nine 100-yard rushing games. Tonight, he has 120. Third down and 9. Favre picks up another first down. And all night long — In the first half, it was the key. On third and long, they convert that time to his great and good buddy Antonio Freeman, who becomes the 12th different Packer to catch a Favre pass tonight.>>And Mike Sherman says that, you know, Antonio Freeman is not what he once was, but Brett Favre has confidence in him. And he said he puts him in in zone situations, that there’s no one better against a zone than Antonio Freeman.>>Keep it on the ground here. And going nearly untouched into the end zone is Ahman Green. Longwell for the point after. That was some night’s work.>>Yep, you have a feeling they just told Brett Favre that “that’s it” and “thanks for a great night’s work” and “we’re all here to support you.” He made the decision to play, and that’s all that everyone else could do is just go along with him and support him. The Packers have looked like they’ve done that tonight.>>One of the more fantastic nights of his career. I mean, just think of the first half. Deanna’s on the field right now. And the second half, of course, it was just a case of playing a little clock ball, just making sure the Raiders didn’t get close. But that first half was off the charts. 24-yard line, O.J. Santiago. [ Whistles blowing ] And the Packers go back and meet Denver. It’s a game that — Well, the Broncos are already in, and they can’t win the division, so not much there. And there, of course, is Deanna with Brett Favre.>>Yeah, she started down on the field tonight. I was down there a couple of hours before the game. And Deanna was down there, and I said hello to her and offered her condolences. And then she came up and she was in the box, and now, at the end of the game, she’s down there. I think she came out of the locker room. And then, as you said, she’s gonna fly back with Brett and the team on the charter to Green Bay.>>That’s our understanding, as of this afternoon, that was gonna be the plan, then head down to Mississippi. Service is on Wednesday. Tim Brown makes the catch here.>>You know, we were talking about coaches and their sons being quarterback. And we were talking, you know, Brett Favre — Obviously, Irvin Favre was a high-school football coach. Rick Mirer’s dad was a coach. Rob Johnson’s dad was a coach.>>Johnson.>>You know, someone’s gonna do a study on that sometime — why there’s so many NFL quarterbacks that their dad was coaches. I mean, is that heredity or is it environment?>>I would think it’s a combination. I mean, you grow up in a situation where, you know, football is the life of the house, you can’t avoid the talk about it, thinking about it. You know, it consumes what’s going on in that environment.>>And then, the other thing, like we were kidding with Brett Favre yesterday, you always have the football.>>Yeah. Picked off, Michael Hawthorne.>>You know, and as a kid, it was always the guy that had the ball that was gonna be the pitcher or the guy that has the ball was gonna be the quarterback.>>Hawthorne’s second pick of the night. But the interesting thing, John — and we discussed it before — is that his dad made him a quarterback in a wishbone offense. So, in effect, he wasn’t the star.>>No, but at the time, he didn’t know Brett Favre was going to be Brett Favre. You see what Hawthorne did was — he played the slant, and Jerry Rice was running an option. Jerry Rice started in on a slant. Then he went back out. And Michael Hawthorne, the corner, still played the slant. Rob Johnson, the quarterback, still threw the slant.>>First and 10 at the 37-yard line. In terms of the Raiders and what they’re gonna do with their coaching staff, who knows? I mean, it’s a very secretive organization and has been. Figure to be a number of changes, of course, this year around the NFL. One already in New York — Jim Fassel coaching out the season, but today, the Giants — And that means Ernie Accorsi. And there’s Al Davis behind Jim Otto. Ernie Accorsi and John Mara, Wellington’s son, met with Tom Coughlin. And that’s no surprise. Coughlin very much in the mix to succeed Fassel in New York. Doug Pederson on second down and 8 right now at the 34-yard line. Fisher.>>You know, it just shows this league and kind of how fragile everything is, where a year ago — And it’s still amazing that this team, the Raiders, were in the Super Bowl. I mean, they were the AFC champions. And, like Mike Sherman was talking about, about getting his team ready for this game, he kept saying, “We’re playing the defending AFC champions.” And then, here, they fall, where they’re just playing games, at the end of the season, to be a spoiler. And, of course, part of it is they’re, you know, not as good as they were. Part of it is guys got older. Part of it is injuries and so on. But some of these bad things started to happen to them before they got the injuries.>>No doubt. Early, it started. Yeah, and I think you’re right, John. There’s no question it started on the 26th of January last year with that performance against Tampa Bay and then the long off-season and then there was a bit of a maelstrom in training camp, as well. And then Charles Woodson, in the middle of the year, said, “Players don’t trust the coaches. Coaches don’t trust the players.” And other guys got involved in that. It’s simmered down here a little bit, but who knows what’s gonna happen?>>It basically was the same coaches that went to the Super Bowl the year before.>>Sure. Fisher. But one of the craziest things — And it’s not just football. I mean, it’s all sports now. I was thinking, recently, in the NBA, Hubie Brown, who comes out of retirement, in his late 60s, to coach the Memphis Grizzlies, has now been the coach of the Grizzlies — and he’s only been there a little over a year — longer than more than half the coaches in the NBA. That’s amazing.>>Yeah.>>It’s that instant-gratification thing. “Do it for me now.”>>Yeah. And that’s the thing. And that’s the way coaching is today. You know, you do it now, and then you have someone like Bill Parcells come in and do what he did with the Dallas Cowboys, and it makes everyone else that doesn’t win look bad.>>Can’t convert on fourth down. Tee Martin is now the quarterback for the Raiders. Jerry Rice makes the catch. So, Lisa will be talking to Brett at the end of the game. That’s a 14-yard pickup.>>Isn’t that something? They’re still — This is the third quarterback the Raiders have played tonight, and the one constant they’ve had is — they keep throwing to Jerry Rice.>>You know, that’s Tee Martin’s first NFL completion. So let it be duly noted that Tee can tell his grandchildren, “My first NFL completion? Guy named Rice.” Martin slings it. And his second one is to Jerry Rice.>>”Yep, we’re playing the Green Bay Packers one night in Oakland. Brett Favre has a hot night. But I come in.”>>”But I come in.”>>”And I throw to Jerry Rice.”>>Yeah. “And I think I’m dreaming.” An unbelievable night. And take a look at that. The rating is the highest of his career. Tee Martin taking off. And he’s tackled in the open field by Hannibal Navies.>>Remember, last year, we did the wild-card game, and it was Mike Vick was running all over the place. And the Packer defense, I think, was exposed because they didn’t have much speed. And now they went out and got Nick Barnett. They got Navies. They did get speed for plays like that.>>Jerry Rice makes the catch. First and 10 here. The ball at the 20-yard line. Well, this is our final Monday night game. And our executive producer — Mike Pearl. Bob Toms is the senior producer. And our man, Fred Gaudelli, producing Monday night so brilliantly. His second season. As Jerry Rice makes the catch. Drew Esocoff, Steve Hirdt, Joey Abbenda — all of those great teases — Mark Teitelman, Brian Fahey. And we wish “Gordo” a lot of success as he goes to Indianapolis. Steve Nagler and Chris Mallory and this entire gang traveled around the country. Vinny Rao — spectacular. Bob Braunlich handling the numbers so beautifully and brilliantly. And our man, George Hill. Kelly Hayes. “Malibu” Kelly Hayes and the gang. And it’s just been a treat, John, as we wrap it up. We do the wild card, but — Melissa Horton, in the booth, keeping this kennel in order. Just the best, just the greatest people.>>I’ll say this — that they sure make it enjoyable. I mean, it’s something that, you know, every week, you look forward to this experience of Monday night. And they’re such a big part of it. And I’ll just say it’s another year that was really something special and enjoyable.>>Well, partner, I savored every minute of it. It’s been great. We’ve had a lot of fun nights. And we’ll reconvene on the third night of 2004 for a wild-card playoff game. As Martin slings one incomplete. Intended for Rice. Bhawoh Jue, the coverage.>>Yeah, we were talking about, you know, Brett Favre and what a competitor he is. Well, how about Jerry Rice? You know, you can call this a meaningless game. You can call it garbage time, whatever, but this guy is still out there playing. Now, they’ll say, “Well, maybe he’s playing for a job next year. Maybe he wants –” Jerry Rice doesn’t need those things, believe me. I mean, there’s a game to be played, there’s time on the clock, so he wants to be out there playing. And Tim Brown’s out there, too.>>Second and goal. Martin — 4 out of 4 and they’re all to Rice. And then he loses the ball. So, reality bites, as it’s extracted by Aaron Kampman. And there’s a penalty on the play.>>The Oakland fumble was recovered by Green Bay. Personal foul, grabbing the face mask — offense, number 78. This penalty is declined. Result of the play — first down.>>Well, I think what happened — I think that the Packer offense carved them up so well, they didn’t have any chance to be penalized.>>And for Mike Sherman, he sends Craig Nall into the game to get some experience and say he played on Monday Night Football. He’s the number-three guy, out of Northwestern State, in Louisiana. And one more kneel-down, and the Packers can head home. And, again, this doesn’t cement a spot in the playoffs for them. Even had they lost, they wouldn’t have been eliminated. It’s still up for grabs. Minnesota, Seattle, and Green Bay in this little triangle right now, and 2 of the 3 will go to the playoffs. With all the permutations — we talked about those. But this night will be remembered for Brett Favre — period.