GREEN BAY, Wis. Dancing to avoid pass-rush pressure on third-and-goal, the leader of the Pack zinged an off-balance rocket through airtight coverage to his fullback for a touchdown.
It was the kind of throw No. 4 had made time after time.
Turns out No. 12 can do it, too.
And Aaron Rodgers added a few things Brett Favre rarely did in his final few years in Green Bay on Monday night, scrambling for first downs and plunging into the end zone on a quarterback sneak to clinch a 24-19 victory over the Minnesota Vikings.
Given all the drama of Favre's unretirement saga at the beginning of training camp, Rodgers was relieved to get his first regular-season start out of the way. Still, he seemed to be enjoying life as the starter.
"Tonight, knowing I was going to get the first snap was pretty special," Rodgers said. "And running out of the tunnel to the electric atmosphere that we had, it was a pretty special night."
And what about that "Lambeau Leap" he performed after scoring on the QB sneak in the fourth quarter?
"I've been dreaming about that for four years, to be honest," Rodgers said.
Rodgers who spent most of the past three seasons backing up Favre after the Packers drafted him in the first round in 2005 passed his first real test Monday, going 18-of-22 for 178 yards with passing and rushing touchdowns.
He got help from punt returner Will Blackmon, safety Atari Bigby and running back Ryan Grant to claim the Packers' fifth straight victory in a bitter division rivalry one that became even more intense when the Packers accused the Vikings of tampering with the then-retired Favre in the offseason, a charge that was dismissed by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell but hardly forgotten by either side.
"I'm happy we won, and that he played well," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "That's what's important. I don't really get caught up in all the other things. And it's important for him not to, too."
Rodgers didn't put on the feast-or-famine show that became Favre's trademark.
But he was effective. And, at times, pretty darn entertaining.
Most important, he walked off the field a winner for a team and fan base that had been cheering the same starting quarterback since 1992 and watched in disbelief as an ugly divorce between Favre and the Packers played out in camp.
Now Favre is playing for the New York Jets and Rodgers seems to have won over the fans at least for this week. The Vikings' own quarterback questions, however, remain unanswered.
Tarvaris Jackson, who hadn't played since after injuring his knee in an Aug. 16 preseason game against Baltimore, was 2-of-7 for 16 yards in a rough first half.
He seemed to find his rhythm in the second half, directing two fourth-quarter scoring drives. But he was intercepted by Bigby to end the Vikings' hopes of a comeback.
"It was just too wide open for me not to complete that pass, point-blank," said Jackson, who finished 16-of-35 for 178 yards with a touchdown and an interception. "I just knew we were going to win."
BRONCOS 41, RAIDERS 14: At Oakland, Calif., Jay Cutler threw for 300 yards with long touchdown passes to rookie Eddie Royal and Darrell Jackson that helped the Denver Broncos beat up on their AFC West rivals in a 41-14 victory over the Oakland Raiders on Monday night.
Cutler completed 16 of 24 passes and confidently picked apart Oakland's rebuilt defense in a dominating season-opening performance despite missing suspended big-play receiver Brandon Marshall.
The Raiders lost their sixth straight season opener and only avoided their third straight shutout on Monday Night Football when JaMarcus Russell threw two meaningless fourth-quarter touchdown passes.
Royal, a second-round draft pick out of Virginia Tech, caught nine passes for 146 yards.