Packers Run Over Listless Cardinals
Monday, October 30, 2006
Ahman Green is back making big plays for the Packers. His performance against the Cardinals could ultimately help send Dennis Green packing.
The veteran running back, who struggled early this season after returning from a torn right quadriceps, scored two first-half touchdowns as Green Bay beat Arizona 31-14 at Lambeau Field on Sunday.
Green and backup running back Vernand Morency both surpassed the 100-yard rushing mark on Sunday, and Brett Favre added a rare rushing touchdown of his own as the Packers (3-4) won their first home game under first-year coach Mike McCarthy.
The Packers have won two straight after losing four of their first five, including three at Lambeau.
The Cardinals (1-7) came into this year with playoff expectations, but have lost seven straight since opening the season at their new stadium with a victory over San Francisco _ a losing streak that is likely to stoke speculation that Green will be fired before the end of the year. Arizona has a bye next weekend.
The Packers sacked rookie quarterback Matt Leinart four times and held him to 61 passing yards in the first half. Leinart, the No. 10 overall pick in the draft, finished with 157 passing yards and a touchdown, but is 0-4 as an NFL starter. Packers cornerback Charles Woodson intercepted Leinart near the end of the game.
The Cardinals continued to give the ball to running back Edgerrin James, with disappointing results. James rushed 24 times for 84 yards with a touchdown as the Cardinals' offensive line continued to have a hard time opening holes.
The Packers' first possession ended with a botched fake field-goal attempt, but they scored on their next three drives to take a 21-0 lead.
Favre threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end David Martin in the first quarter, and Green added touchdown runs of 4 and 2 yards in the second quarter.
The Packers held the Cardinals offense to 108 net yards in the first half, allowing their only touchdown to James on a fourth-and-goal play just before halftime.
Favre was 17-of-25 for 180 yards, and added a rushing touchdown on the Packers' first possession of the third quarter _ his first rushing touchdown since a Dec. 3, 2001, game at Jacksonville.
Favre froze a defender with a pump fake and dived into the end zone, then jumped into the stands for a rare 'Lambeau leap.'
He ran back to the Packers bench celebrating with Green, who had his first game with two rushing touchdowns since Oct. 31, 2004, against the Washington Redskins.
Green missed most of last season after rupturing his right quadriceps tendon in a game at Minnesota on Oct. 23.
He returned to Green Bay on a 1-year contract, but struggled with fumbles early in the year and missed two games with a hamstring injury before returning with a 70-yard touchdown run in a victory at Miami last Sunday.
Green had 106 rushing yards, and Morency had 101 _ the first time the Packers have had two 100-yard rushers in a game since a Dec. 1, 1985, victory over Tampa Bay at Lambeau.
Leinart threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Troy Walters near the end of the third quarter, cutting the Packers' lead to 28-14.
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