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Packers Apply the Clincher Against Saints : NFC: Favre passes for 308 yards and four touchdowns in 34-23 victory. Green Bay earns playoff berth.

December 17, 1995|From Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS — The crowd from nearby Kiln, Miss., came to cheer Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre. It stayed to cheer for Reggie White.

Favre is from Kiln and is a hero in the small town, so it's understandable that family and friends would be thrilled with the job he did Saturday in Green Bay's 34-23 victory over the New Orleans Saints.

The crowd appreciated the effort of White, the Packers' defensive end who shook off what appeared to be a season-ending injury to play, albeit sparingly.

"Reggie! Reggie! Reggie!" the crowd chanted as White left the field.

"That was nice," said White, who played only in spots and had one tackle. "I'm glad I could get in. It gave my team an emotional lift."

At least 60 relatives and friends, plus about 3,000 members of his fan club from Southern Mississippi, where he played college ball, were on hand to watch Favre pass for 308 yards and four touchdowns as the Packers qualified for the playoffs for a third consecutive year.

The victory also positioned the Packers (10-5) to clinch their first NFC Central championship since 1972.

White, the NFL's career leader with 157 sacks, was expected to miss the rest of the season because of an injured left hamstring. But he entered the game on the Packers' third defensive play.

"We only played him in spots," Green Bay Coach Mike Holmgren said. "I was a little nervous about it, but he said he'd be honest with me if it was bothering him.

"It was a wonderful boost for the team."

On Wednesday, the Packers said White would sit out the final two games and the playoffs because of surgery scheduled for next week. But on Thursday, White returned to practice and showed he didn't need the surgery after all.

He injured the hamstring Dec. 3 against Cincinnati and sat out Sunday's game at Tampa Bay. It was the first game he missed because of injury in his 11-year career.

The loss guaranteed the Saints (6-9) a second consecutive losing season and a third consecutive non-winning year.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Scoring Machines

With one game remaining, Packer quarterback Brett Favre moved into a tie for third on the list of touchdown passes in a season.

Player (Year): No.

Marino ('84): 48

Marino ('86): 44

Favre ('95): 36

Tittle ('63): 36

Blanda ('61): 36

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