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Published: Monday, 9/14/2009

New year, same story: Favre, Peterson torch Browns

ASSOCIATED PRESS
The Browns' Brady Quinn scrambles and loses the ball behind him as Kevin Williams, left, and Ray Edwards close in. The Vikings recovered and pulled away in the second half. The Browns' Brady Quinn scrambles and loses the ball behind him as Kevin Williams, left, and Ray Edwards close in. The Vikings recovered and pulled away in the second half.
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CLEVELAND - After rolling into the end zone with his first NFL touchdown, Vikings rookie wide receiver Percy Harvin had to absorb an unexpected hit.

Brett Favre flattened him.

"I thought we were going to bump chests or something," Harvin said. "He wasn't slowing down. I took it, and we fell to the ground. It was a great feeling."

For Favre, the ageless quarterback with a boundless love for football, career touchdown pass No. 464 was as enjoyable as his first.

Favre looked pleasing in purple, throwing a six-yard TD pass to Harvin in his debut with Minnesota, and Adrian Peterson scored three touchdowns and ran for 180 yards as the Vikings overcame a sluggish start to beat the Cleveland Browns 34-20 Sunday.

"I had a blast," Favre said. "It wasn't a 400-yard passing game, but it doesn't have to be. As long as we win, that's what it's all about."

Making his 270th consecutive start after a will-he-or-won't-he flirtation that dominated NFL headlines this summer, the 39-year-old Favre, who holds every significant passing record, showed he can still fire it with authority - and that he hasn't lost his joy for playing.

After hooking up with the speedy Harvin, Favre sprinted into the end zone and tackled the young wideout, who was just 4 years old when his QB began his storied career.

"You don't find too many players like that who still love the game," said Harvin, a first-round pick from Florida. "That's what makes him special and separates him from a lot of people. For him to be that old - he's got a daughter my age - and still have a love for the game, going to meetings and all that stuff. He's by himself."

So is Peterson.

The league's leading rusher last season scored on a pair of one-yard plunges and capped his day with an electrifying 64-yarder in the fourth quarter, breaking five tackles along the way, to make it 34-13.

Peterson was held to just 25 yards in the first half, when he needed treatment for a cut left arm. He felt light headed and got intravenous fluids at halftime.

"I gagged myself a couple times trying to get everything in my stomach out," he said. "Normally it makes me feel better, and it did. I came in and got an IV and felt recharged and rejuvenated and was ready to go to work."

On his long TD run, Peterson used a stiff arm to get away from would-be tacklers before finally busting free and scoring.

"It was pretty good," Peterson said. "The only thing I did wrong was that I didn't go untouched. I was just determined to get into the end zone and try to stick that dagger in."

It certainly put away the Browns.

"When you play a player of Adrian Peterson's caliber, it only takes once," Browns coach Eric Mangini said. "He only needs that one time and he can exploit it."

Favre was 14-of-21 for 110 yards and appeared to be fully recovered from offseason surgery to repair a torn biceps tendon.

Mangini is now with Cleveland, and one game into his tenure, little has changed with the Browns. They fell to 1-10 in season openers since 1999 but did score their first offensive touchdown in seven games when Brady Quinn hit Robert Royal with 28 seconds left.

Quinn, picked by Mangini to start after a drawn-out battle with Derek Anderson, had a rocky opener.

Quinn went 21-of-35 for 205 yards, but most of his completions came on dumpoffs and short routes. He had one interception and the game's most comical moment when he had the ball pop out of his hand and fall behind him following a scramble.

"I didn't take care of the ball like I needed to," Quinn said. "It's going to hurt you in the end. The one ball that slipped out, I was trying to make a play. That sort of thing can really help you and maybe get you back in the game, but a lot of the time they end up hurting you if that ends up being the result."

Joshua Cribbs scored on a 67-yard punt return for Cleveland's first TD.



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