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FAVRE TOSSES BALL AROUND BUT COOKS WITH RICE

THE BALTIMORE SUN

MINNEAPOLIS - - The chemistry between Brett Favre and Sidney Rice appears to be coming along quite nicely, considering that it produced two of the biggest plays in Sunday's 33-31 victory over the Ravens at the Metrodome.

The 63-yard reception that set up Ryan Longwell's third-quarter field goal came on a play that Favre changed from run to pass. And the 58-yarder that led to Longwell's game-winner late in the fourth quarter came on a play in which Rice changed his route while trusting that Favre would understand why, which, of course, he did.

On the 58-yarder, Rice was supposed to run a 12- to 15-yard comeback route. When he saw an advantage in man coverage with cornerback Frank Walker, he changed to a go route.

Favre spotted the same advantage, bought enough time in the pocket to set up for a deeper throw and launched a ball that wasn't pretty but sufficed. Despite Walker's grabbing his jersey for several steps downfield, Rice caught the ball and was downed at the Ravens' 18.

"That's the type of plays [Rice] can make," Favre said of his 6-foot-4 receiver. "Sometimes, you have to adjust. He just felt like he had the advantage. We have had that discussion in the past, that if he feels like he can get on top, or can win, then do it."

Now in his third season, Rice caught six passes for 176 yards (29.3 yards per catch average) against the Ravens. It tied his career high for receptions and was a career high for yardage by 94 yards. It also is the ninth-best receiving total in team history.

Favre threw to eight different receivers, completing at least one pass to seven of them. Rice's 63-yard reception was high for the game and his career.

"I didn't think he had changed the play," Rice said. "When I saw the safety pass my face, I kind of looked in and that's when he let the ball go. Hit me right in the chest and I was able to dodge a couple defenders and get to the sideline."

"He distributes the ball to everyone," Rice said. "Everybody gets their touches. Nobody is complaining. Everybody is happy with 6-0, and it's great."

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