Brett Favre fell backward onto the turf after a crushing sack from Patrick Willis, a play eerily similar to the hit he took from blitzing Kansas City linebacker Corey Mays in his first preseason game of 2009.
"I think the one last year was a little cleaner. That's not to say that one was a lot of fun," Favre said.
No wonder the 40-year-old quarterback was admittedly stiff after all of four plays and one series in his highly anticipated first game back with the Minnesota Vikings, a 15-10 loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday in a nationally televised preseason game that was the only NFL show of the night.
"We scripted that," Vikings coach Brad Childress joked of Favre taking another blow.
Favre completed a 13-yard pass to Adrian Peterson on his first play from scrimmage but was sacked by Willis two plays later and the Vikings wound up punting. Favre took the field just four days after his first training camp practice of the year. He decided to return for a 20th season and make yet another run at a Super Bowl title.
"There's no substitute for getting in a game, calling plays, having a 40-second clock that you have to pay attention to," Favre said. "They blitzed on the last play. We technically could have picked it up, I could have made a call, but the mind wasn't working quick enough. ... That was obviously not a positive play but it's what you do with it from here on. I'll look at the film. I would hate for that to happen the first game in real action against New Orleans."
It's hard to make much of the small sampling. Not that Favre's numbers mattered to the Vikings, who are just thrilled to have him back.
Alex Smith, Favre's 49ers counterpart, went 9 of 13 for 88 yards in a solid first half. Willis had four tackles playing only nine snaps.
After that single series, Favre headed to the bench and gave way to backup Tarvaris Jackson -- who had been in line to be the starter before Jared Allen, Ryan Longwell and Steve Hutchinson flew to Mississippi early last week to recruit Favre back to the Twin Cities.
Favre, sporting a 5-o'clock shadow peppered with gray, could be seen laughing on the sideline in the second half.
Childress had planned to give Favre 10 plays, but that changed when it took so long for the Vikings offense to finally get on the field.