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Favre revives Lambeau magic

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GREEN BAY, Wis. — Brett Favre griped at halftime about the way his talent was being wasted. Then he went back out and did something about it.

The Green Bay Packers heeded their quarterback's call to open up the passing game, and they scored 19 points in the second half of a 25-15 victory over San Francisco in the wild-card playoffs Sunday.

Favre, who improved to 31-0 at home when the temperature is 34 or colder, completed 16 of 21 passes for 226 yards in the second half after the Packers trailed 7-6 at halftime.

"I don't ever want to look back and say we left something on the field," Favre said.

As coach Mike Sherman and offensive coordinator Tom Rossley huddled at halftime, Favre piped up.

"Tom and Mike and the quarterbacks were kind of talking about what we could do and I said, 'Let's go get 'em. Let's lay it on the field,"' Favre said.

He had five completions of 15 or more yards after halftime, including a 51-yarder to Corey Bradford and a 19-yard touchdown to tight end Bubba Franks.

"You take away the interception, I don't think a quarterback could have a better game than that," Sherman said. "He took total control of that football game. He made something out of nothing on numerous occasions. He just played a Brett Favre-type game."

The Packers held the ball for 39 plays in the second half after they ran 19 in the first.

"When you come off the field," Favre said, "you don't ever look back and say we should have done this or should have done that."

Which is exactly what 49ers wide receiver Terrell Owens was saying after the Packers advanced to face the St. Louis Rams on Sunday.

"I don't feel I was involved enough in the offense," Owens said.

He caught four passes for 40 yards and no scores after leading the NFL with 16 touchdown catches in the regular season.

"I want to be the go-to guy on this team, but for some reason, the play calling doesn't go to me enough."

It did on a crucial call that helped seal the Packers' victory.

Owens beat cornerback Mike McKenzie and was wide open down the sideline for a possible touchdown with five minutes left and the Packers clinging to a 18-15 lead.

Jeff Garcia's pass hung, however, and McKenzie caught up, deflecting the ball just as Owens was about to haul in it. It caromed into Tyrone Williams' hands at the 7.

"That play didn't decide the game," Owens said. "But it was a big play. The pass hung up a little bit and their guy just got his hand on the ball."

McKenzie, a third-year pro who signed a five-year, $17.l million contract extension Friday night, said he was beaten so badly off the line that Garcia must have been taken aback.

"He was so wide-open, so I believe Garcia said, 'This is easy pickings.' He didn't want to overthrow him," McKenzie said.

Favre then drove the Packers 93 yards in eight plays, with the payoff coming on Ahman Green's 9-yard touchdown run.

Bradford stripped Paul Smith of the ball and recovered on the ensuing kickoff, and the Packers ran out the clock for their first playoff victory since the 1997 NFC championship at San Francisco.