DETROIT - Brett Favre stood on the sideline for the start of a game for the first time since 1992, rubbing his salt-and-pepper beard in frustration because his body couldn't take another pounding.
His replacement struggled early and often, thanks to the New York Giants.
Brandon Jacobs ran for a go-ahead touchdown midway through the second quarter, Eli Manning threw a lead-padding TD just before halftime, and Ahmad Bradshaw added a 48-yard run to help the Giants beat Minnesota, 21-3, Monday night at Ford Field.
"Seems like I been hurt a lot worse," Favre said. "I can't believe something like this hasn't happened before."
Favre's NFL-record streak of 297 straight starts (321 counting playoffs) ended because of his banged-up right shoulder and numb hand in a game moved from Minneapolis because the Metrodome roof collapsed under heavy snow Sunday.
The Giants sacked Favre replacement Tarvaris Jackson four times, knocking him out of the game late in the third period and again in the final seconds.
New York (9-4) moved back into a first-place tie with the Eagles in the NFC East. The two will meet Sunday at the New Meadowlands Stadium. Minnesota, which went to the NFC title game last January, was eliminated from the race at 5-8.
Vikings interim coach Leslie Frazier said Favre "was having trouble with the numbness." Frazier acknowledged that putting the 41-year-old Favre on injured reserve, ending his season and possibly his career, is possible.
"That may be a possibility, but I'm hoping not," he said.
The game was switched from Sunday afternoon when the Giants couldn't get to Minneapolis because of the severe weather, then was moved to the Detroit Lions' indoor stadium with a steel roof. The Vikings were technically the home team at Ford Field - which was adorned with their logo at midfield and "VIKINGS" in the end zones - but they didn't have much of an edge.
"The whole thing is bizarre," Vikings radio analyst Pete Bercich said.
Nothing, though, was odder than seeing Favre watch a game, after having started every game for every team he played on since Sept. 27, 1992.
He stood on the sideline, trying to tutor Jackson at times, and sporting a purple knit hat, short-sleeved black shirt with a long-sleeved white shirt underneath, and black warm-up pants.
The game drew an announced crowd of 45,910 - there seemed to be at least 10,000 more people in the 65,000-seat stadium late in the first half - and some fans made the trek to see Favre.
New York has won three straight and eight of 10 games, improving its chances for a wild card if it doesn't finish ahead of the Eagles.
Jackson got off to a good start, completing his first two passes for 8 yards each, but struggled for much of the game. He wasted an opportunity to show his coaches and teammates he can be counted on to fill in for Favre for a game and perhaps in the future.
He completed just 12 of 22 passes, threw an interception directly to linebacker Keith Bulluck.
While Jackson didn't have the benefit of a running game - Adrian Peterson was held to 26 yards on 14 carries - Manning relied on a one-two punch that pounded the Vikings all night. Jacobs ran for a season-high 116 yards and a score and Bradshaw had 103 yards rushing.