Green singes Patriots' run defense
Ahman Green rushed 31 times for 136 yards in helping the Packers defeat New England Monday, October 14, 2002
Green Bay News Chronicle

Ahman Green rushed 31 times for 136 yards in helping the Packers defeat New England

By Doug Ritchay
News-Chronicle
FOXBORO, Mass. - The New England Patriots ranked 28th in the NFL against the run and first against the pass entering Sunday's game against the Green Bay Packers.

So anybody with a half a brain can figure out how to attack the Patriots' defense: Run the ball. When you have quarterback Brett Favre at your disposal, however, forgetting the running game can happen from time to time, and understandably so.

But Packers head coach Mike Sherman didn't forget running back Ahman Green on Sunday. For the first time this season, Green had more rushing attempts than Favre had passes, and the strategy proved correct as Green carried a career-high 31 times for 136 yards, while catching three passes for 21 yards and a touchdown in the Packers' 28-10 win.

"Our offensive line came off the ball and secured the blocks," Sherman said. "Our tight end (Bubba Franks) did a nice job. He ran extremely hard and powerful."

Not only that, Green, who had fumbling problems early this season, didn't fumble once as a constant mist fell throughout the game, and on the wet field he didn't seem to have trouble with his footing.

"It wasn't difficult at all," said Green, who scored his first two touchdowns of the season Sunday. "I've been in a lot worse than this."

Green said after the game he thought he might get more rushes than his season average of 22 because of the Patriots' defense and the Packers' defense liabilities. Not knowing how good the Packers' injury-depleted defense would play, running the ball to take time off the clock to shorten the game was an obvious strategy.

Green said the Packers' fast start to the game helped him become a major factor.

"Today, we got ahead early, so we were pounding the ball," Green said. That pounding caught up with the Patriots, who have allowed four running backs in a row to rush for more than 100 yards. On the final play of the third quarter, Green broke through the Patriots' defense for a 38-yard run, and he capped the drive with a touchdown to put the game out of reach at 28-3.

"The more you pound the ball, the more likely you can have a long run," Green said. "We had to grind for what we got."

Green recorded his 13th 100-yard rushing game with the Packers, and the Packers are 13-0 when that happens. Green said the key to his success Sunday was patience.

"I gave my offensive line and (fullback) William (Henderson) the time to pick up their blocks," Green said. "For myself, it gives me time to read the hole."

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