Brett Favre got the last laugh on the Detroit Lions, despite a record performance by Barry Sanders.
Favre, ridiculed after throwing four interceptions against the Lions a week ago, hooked up with Sterling Sharpe for three TD passes Saturday, the last with 55 seconds remaining, as the Green Bay Packers defeated Detroit 28-24 in their NFC wild card game."Last week, everyone gave up on me, except the people that counted," Favre said. "That's why this feels so good."
The Packers (10-7) advanced to the NFC divisional playoffs against the NFC East champion Cowboys in Dallas next Sunday. The Lions (10-7) had downed the Packers 30-20 six days earlier for their second NFC Central title in three years.
Sanders, who hadn't played since spraining his left knee on Thanksgiving Day, came back to rush 27 times for 169 yards, both single-game club playoff records.
"Barry is very tired and sore right now," Lions' coach Wayne Fontes said. "Before the game we found out (backup) Eric Lynch wouldn't play a down because his hamstring tightened up on him. So Barry had to go the whole way."
Brett Perriman also set a club record with 10 catches for 150 yards, but it wasn't enough against the gritty Packers, who came from behind three times.
Sharpe, who broke his own NFL reception record with 112 catches during the regular season, had five catches for 101 yards. His touchdown catches covered 12, 28 and the game-winner of 40 yards.
Favre completed 15-of-26 passes for 204 yards with one interception, which Detroit's Melvin Jenkins returned 15 yards for a touchdown.
Erik Kramer, the hero of the Lions' late-season turnaround, completed 22-of-31 for 248 yards, including a 1-yard TD toss to Perriman. But Kramer also threw two interceptions, one of which George Teague returned 101 yards for a touchdown, giving Green Bay a 21-17 lead late in the third quarter.
Undaunted, the Lions took the kickoff and drove 89 yards in 15 plays for a go-ahead TD by Derrick Moore with 8:27 left in the game.