DETROIT -- This was the moment Brett Favre fought so hard to avoid.
As he stood there on the sideline, watching another quarterback direct his team, an empty feeling set in. After all those years of playing through pain, Favre was finally a spectator, his streak of starts over and his career possibly finished as well.
"It wasn't really a flood of emotions," Favre said. "I just couldn't play. I didn't feel like I could function good enough. You never know if you're going to play a whole game but I didn't think I could function good enough to help us win."
After 297 consecutive regular-season starts over 19 years, Favre ran into an injury he couldn't beat and sat down Monday night. The 41-year-old quarterback, who fought through broken bones, aches and pains to play week after week, couldn't make it for the Minnesota Vikings in their 21-3 loss to the New York Giants.
Favre was sidelined by a throwing shoulder too damaged for even him to overcome and a hand too numb to take the field with. Tarvaris Jackson started in his place, and Minnesota's offense sputtered.
The Vikings and Giants played at Detroit's Ford Field after the Metrodome roof collapsed. The one-day postponement gave Favre more time to recover, but it was no use.
"We revisited it before the game and just wanted to see if things had improved," Minnesota interim coach Leslie Frazier said. "It wasn't a hard decision not to put him out there."
Favre was injured when Buffalo's Arthur Moats hit him square in the back and sent him to the turf on the third play from scrimmage in Minnesota's previous game.
Brandon Jacobs ran for 116 yards and Ahmad Bradshaw ran for 103 for the Giants (9-4), who moved back into a tie with Philadelphia atop the NFC East. Eli Manning threw two early interceptions, but Jackson wasn't any sharper.
And Minnesota's new starting quarterback hurt his knee early in the game. He was able to return, but the minor injury was perhaps a fitting turn of events on the night Favre's remarkable run of durability came to an end.
It's uncertain if Favre will play again in this, his third comeback season from a brief retirement. Neither he nor Frazier would rule it out, but this injury is obviously serious if it was enough to keep him out of even one game. The numbness in his hand appeared to be the final straw, an odd sensation Favre couldn't seem to shake.
"It's been a great run," he said. "It's a very difficult thing to do. I realize that more so now because it seems like I've been hurt a lot worse. I can't believe something like this hasn't happened before."
Favre previously has said he will indeed retire for good after this season. It's been one of his toughest. He's taken a beating on the field and played not only through two fractures in his left foot and elbow tendinitis but 10 stitches in his chin along with aches in his neck, back and calf. Then he was crunched by Moats.
He's also been the subject of an NFL investigation into allegations he sent inappropriate messages and photos to a game-day hostess when both worked for the New York Jets in 2008. The investigation has lasted for more than two months now, and the lawyer for Jenn Sterger was vocal last week in trying to get a ruling announced.
Favre was definitely missed by the Vikings, though. They led 3-0 after the first quarter but did almost nothing after that. Jacobs scored on a 1-yard run in the second quarter to give New York the lead, then Manning threaded a 6-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Boss with 3 seconds left in the half.
Bradshaw's 48-yard touchdown run in the third quarter made it 21-3.
The game was switched from Sunday afternoon when the Giants couldn't get to Minneapolis because of the severe weather, and it was moved after the problem with the roof at the Vikings' dome.
"The word of the day is resiliency," Giants defensive lineman Justin Tuck said. "We've flown all over the midwest this week. I'm all for stopping in Indianapolis, St. Louis, Chicago -- make some more stops on this midwest tour."
The Vikings were technically the home team at Ford Field -- which was adorned with their logo at midfield and "VIKINGS" in the end zones. The game drew an announced crowd of 45,910, although there seemed to be at least 10,000 more people in the 65,000-seat stadium late in the first half.
"It didn't feel strange," Giants defensive lineman Barry Cofield said. "I would honestly say, once we got to Detroit and got into our normal pregame mode and pregame rhythm, I think it felt like a normal road trip."
Minnesota (5-8) is now eliminated from the playoff race. The Vikings will have to find out where they're playing next week, when they have another home game against Chicago on Monday night.
They're also not sure who their quarterback will be for that one -- an unusual dilemma for any team with Brett Favre on its roster.
"I've had several people in passing say, 'I'd hate for the streak to end like this,"' Favre said. "End like what? It's been a great run."