Minnesota's recruiting pitch to Brett Favre was heavy on the no-pressure part: just steady the offense, let the running game and defense do most of the work, and join in the fun.
The Vikings are enjoying themselves, but Favre's surgically repaired right arm is doing a whole lot of work.
Favre completed 32 of 48 passes for a season-high 392 yards and three touchdowns, and the Vikings intercepted Jay Cutler twice in a 36-10 victory against the Chicago Bears on Sunday.
"I figured we'd have to throw it some," Favre said. "I didn't come just to hand it off. I love to play."
But the 40-year-old has been surprised by how much he's been heaving the ball. The Bears were blitzing and playing a soft zone coverage a lot in the first half to bottle up Adrian Peterson, so Coach Brad Childress ordered offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell to keep calling for passes.
Fine by Favre, even if it's more than he expected. Left guard Steve Hutchinson, one of several players who tried to sell Favre on coming to Minnesota, teased him on the sideline about his you-won't-have-to-do-too-much pitch.
"It's not like I wake up in the morning and don't have any aches and pains, because I do," said Favre, who matched former Vikings defensive lineman Jim Marshall for the NFL non-kicker record of 282 straight games played. "I'm sure when it's all said and done, I'm going to be like, 'What did I do all this for?' But my arm feels great."
The Vikings (10-1) outgained the Bears by a whopping 537 yards to 169 and breezed to their fifth straight win, despite two more fumbles and a pedestrian 85 yards on 25 carries by Peterson, whose short, late touchdown run put Minnesota over 32 points for the sixth time this season. The Vikings had 31 first downs, the Bears just eight.
"I think pride is going to become an issue here," Bears defensive end Alex Brown said. "It's going to be heart, pride and who really enjoys playing the game of football."
In the second half, the Bears (4-7) ran 12 plays - and netted 2 yards.
"It's a tough one," said Cutler, who completed 18 of 23 passes for 147 yards and one touchdown. "I didn't expect this. We had a good week."
He added: "With as good a football team that I think we have in here, to go out week after week and not live up to our own expectations, that's the tough part."