Green Re-Charges To Find End Zone, Team Record
Monday, October 23, 2006
MIAMI - Running back Ahman Green spent most of the third quarter on Sunday in the Packers locker room getting two bags of fluids through IVs to restore his energy.
But when he got back on the field, he made it count, both on the scoreboard and in the team's record book.
Green busted loose for a 70-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter and by the end of the game, he had become the franchise's all-time leader in yards from scrimmage.
Green, who missed the Packers' previous two games with hamstring troubles, finished with 18 carries for 118 yards to mark the biggest rushing performance by a Packer this season and push him past James Lofton in career yards from scrimmage with 9,909.
"It's meaningful because I didn't do it by myself," said Green, rattling off the names of nearly every offensive lineman who has blocked for him in his seven seasons in Green Bay.
"All those guys are the main reason. It's a team sport. If it was me against 11 guys on defense, I wouldn't get one yard and I'd get my butt kicked every play. But with those guys, it makes it a lot easier."
Green also scored his 50th career rushing touchdown and his 49th as a Packer, moving him just one behind Paul Hornung for No. 2 on that list in Packers history. The 100-yard rushing game was his 30th in a Packer uniform, and his 63rd touchdown overall as a Packer moved him into sole possession of fourth place in team history, just ahead of Hornung.
With Green Bay, Green now has 7,436 yards rushing and 2,473 receiving, putting him 91 shy of 10,000 in his Packers career.
Green couldn't find much room to run in the first half, gaining just 30 yards on 12 carries. The on-field temperatures around 100 degrees took their toll, however, and despite preparing as well as he could to play his first game in four weeks in such harsh conditions, Green was cramping up and needed IV fluids at halftime.
"Just went in and got an oil change," Green joked. "Went to Jiffy Lube."
Because he required two bags of fluids, Green was gone longer than expected and didn't return to the field until about four minutes remained in the third quarter. He carried twice for 8 yards during a three-and-out possession, but the next time the Packers got the ball, he took a handoff left and broke through.
Both Green and center Scott Wells said the play was blocked perfectly.
"Tony Moll did an excellent job getting the nose tackle cut, getting that guy on the ground," Wells said. "I was able to wall off the backside (line)backer, the left guard and tackle were able to take the end and play-side backer, so it put the fullback on the safety.
"You pick everybody up and there's nobody to make the play, so Ahman hit the hole, the hole opened up wide, and he was able to get all the way to the end zone."
Green said when he got through the point of attack, he could see the backside safety taking a poor angle and it would be a footrace to the end zone. With teammates and coaches jumping and hollering as a sideline escort, Green won that footrace to give Green Bay a 27-16 lead with 13:14 left in the game.
"That's what you're looking for," Head Coach Mike McCarthy said. "You're looking for the 3, 4, 5 yards in the first, second, third quarter and that's when he's going to come out the back door. That's a great illustration."
Green surpassed Lofton (9,901) on an 8-yard run on the opening play of the Packers' final touchdown drive in the fourth quarter, but it was the big play that was all the buzz after the game.
Before Green's breakout run, the Packers' longest rushing play of the season was a 19-yard gain by Noah Herron on a draw play. The offensive line has shown steady improvement all season with the zone-blocking scheme, and to finally bust a big one provided definitive proof.
"It means a lot to know that something finally came," Wells said. "We'd been working and we hadn't had any explosive runs. We've been struggling getting the ball in the end zone running. To get that on one play really gave us a boost. It definitely is encouraging."
For Green, it was his first rushing touchdown since December 2004 and his longest run since a 90-yard TD against Dallas two months earlier.
"I knew before that it was just a matter of time before we'd get a big run and have a big game rushing," Green said. "For me with the zone scheme, I ran with it at Nebraska and ran with it in high school. It takes time, but once everybody is on the same page, it can be a deadly weapon."
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