Green Has a Productive Day
Backup running back Ahman Green was quite a weapon for the Packers on Sunday Monday, October 16, 2000
Green Bay News-Chronicle

Backup running back Ahman Green was quite a weapon for the Packers on Sunday

By Doug Ritchay

Ahman Green spent the first 28 minutes of Sunday's game on the Green Bay Packers' sideline, waiting patiently for his turn to replace Dorsey Levens.

When he finally entered the game, Green made a statement, running for 20 yards on his first play. It was the start of what turned into a productive day for the third-year running back.

Green rushed for 40 yards, caught two passes for 25 yards and had his first two-touchdown game of his career. Not bad for a backup.

Because Levens is still slowed by a sprained ankle, Green has become an important player for the Packers, and that was evident Sunday. "I think he was extraordinary," Packers head coach Mike Sherman said. "He was the catalyst that got us going."

Green's biggest play was a 1-yard touchdown run where his second and third efforts were needed to cross the goal line and give the Packers a 28-21 lead in the fourth quarter. Green first tried to dive into the end zone, but was stopped when he collided with defenders in the air. Green, however, didn't fall down, so he ran to the right side and powered his way into the end zone with defenders hanging onto him. Hardly a play you expect from somebody who runs the 40-yard dash in 4.3 seconds.

"Basically, it's smashmouth play," Green said. "I told myself to put this in. The play before, they stopped us and talked some noise to me. That gets me going even more."

It may have been surprising Green was in the game, considering the fumbling problems he has had this season. Sherman, though, has always had faith in Green.

Last season, when Green and Sherman were in Seattle, Sherman convinced Seattle head coach Mike Holmgren to allow Green to be the short-yardage running back. That hasn't changed in Green Bay, and Sherman hopes today's game is the start of something positive for Green.

"That's hard to say," said Sherman, when asked if Green's fumbling problems are behind him. "That's like, 'Will Brett Favre throw an interception again? Will anybody fumble again?' He was in a situation there where they were going after the ball. He did a good job holding onto it. I hope it's behind him. I think he took a big step as far as fumbling goes today."

Green might get more chances in the future to prove the fumbles are in the past. Levens hasn't been healthy this season, so if Green can remain dependable, there will be no hesitation by Sherman to put him in the game.

Green, however, realizes the Packers are better with him and Levens healthy, even if it means Levens gets most of the carries.

"It keeps the defense honest," said Green. "When Dorsey's in there, he has his type of running style, and you get me in there and I have my running style. They have to adjust to that and it takes the defense a couple plays to adjust."

The Packers' running game overall might have taken a big step. Before Sunday's game, the Packers had one rushing touchdown, but they had three Sunday.

"That's a definite (plus) for our offense," Green said. "We like to establish that, because then it opens up the pass."

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