EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) - Brett Favre sauntered out to the huddle with 4:39 left to play, his Minnesota Vikings down 14 points, his head coach in danger of being fired and his 20th NFL season on the brink of disaster.
He'd been in this situation four times already this season, with his team needing a touchdown late in the game, and had fallen short each time.
But even at 41 years old, with a bad ankle, sore elbow and 10 stitches in his chin, Favre has never been better than he was late in the game Sunday as he rallied his team for a 27-24 win over Arizona. And the Vikings have rarely needed him more.
Even after the game was over, Favre kept throwing darts at his teammates.
The team captain acknowledged again he doesn't always see eye-to-eye with embattled coach Brad Childress, who faced questions about his job security all week following his decision to cut Randy Moss and a heated confrontation with Percy Harvin during practice Friday.
But he challenged the rest of his team to put aside any personal differences they have with the coach and take some personal pride in their performances as they try to turn this season around.
"Those younger guys in there, they want new contracts, they want to be in the Pro Bowl and the best player at their position," Favre said. "They can't look at it from, "Who's my coach?' It's still football. You have to run routes, you have to block, you have to tackle, you have to make the right reads; you have to overcome adversity.
"A head coach is a head coach. Individually, that's the way it should be and that's the way I approach it."
He continued to preach to his teammates to play for themselves, first and foremost.
"To say the coach, coordinator, running back or quarterback is at fault is being a coward," Favre said. "You've got to look at the mirror and say, "What can I do to make this team better?'"
Players throughout the locker room said they were doing just that, which was music to Childress' ears.
"The big thing is I preach that to them, you play for each other, for your brother on your right and your brother on your left," Childress said Monday. "That's the way it is. That you're doing the right thing, that you're competing, that you're doing everything for the guy on your right and the guy on your left."
Favre was perfect for every Viking as he led three scoring drives in the fourth quarter and overtime to rally Minnesota over the Cardinals. He went 8-for-8 for 147 yards and one touchdown in his 46th career fourth-quarter comeback, leading the Vikings to 17 points in 6:58 to steal the win.
"I feel like I flourish in those situations, maybe because of my mechanics or I'm willing to take chances maybe where other guys wouldn't," Favre said. "My track record has proven that. At that point in the game, you've got no other choice but to take chances. I feel like that's been my forte throughout my career."
It hasn't always ended well for Favre in these kind of scenarios, particularly in the NFC title in January when he was picked off with the Vikings in Saints territory at the end of regulation. He was unable to come through against the Packers late in Green Bay or against the Saints in New Orleans on opening night.
"This week I've seen in Brett what I haven't seen since last year, when it comes to energy that comes across from him," tight end Visanthe Shiancoe said. "It definitely showed."
It was the 12th time in Favre's career that he has led his team on a drive for a touchdown in the final 2:30 that either tied or won the game.
"The dude is awesome," said defensive end Jared Allen, who had 21â„2 of the defense's six sacks. "He really is. I think the most important thing was everybody played a part of it. Everybody played a role."