They lived up to Reggie White’s legacy on the day his number was retired, playing with a menacing mix of passion, poise and precision.
Not the Green Bay Packers, the Cleveland Browns.
Trent Dilfer won for the first time in nine trips to Lambeau Field, guiding Cleveland over the mistake-prone Packers, 26-24, for new Coach Romeo Crennel’s first win. Dilfer threw an 80-yard touchdown pass to Braylon Edwards and a game-icing 62-yarder to Steve Heiden with 1:50 remaining.
Dilfer, who lost six times as a starter at Green Bay, completed 21 of 32 passes for 336 yards -- the second-highest total of his career -- and three touchdowns. His 62-yarder to Heiden, who slipped a tackle by safety Mark Roman, made it 26-17, too much for the Packers (0-2) to overcome even behind Brett Favre.
The Packers wanted desperately to honor White with a win. So did Dilfer, who like so many others, counted himself a friend of the “Minister of Defense,” who died unexpectedly last year at age 43.
Favre broke John Elway’s single-stadium NFL touchdown record of 180 with a four-yard toss to Tony Fisher with four seconds left. Brodney Pool recovered the on-side kick for Cleveland (1-1).
“I’ve been ‘Favre’d’ twice up here,” Dilfer said. “So I was a wreck on the sidelines. It was big to erase some of those demons.”
The Browns were backed up and facing a crucial third down after Favre, who also joined Dan Marino and Elway in the 50,000-yard passing club Sunday, pulled the Packers to 19-17 with a 19-yard scoring pass to Robert Ferguson with 3:40 remaining.
With the crowd chanting “Reg-gie! Reg-gie!” in honor of the late White, whose No. 92 was retired at halftime, Dilfer calmly hit running back Reuben Droughns for a 12-yard gain on third and five. Then, following the two-minute warning, he found Heiden over the middle to put the game out of reach.