Green has career game
Monday, November 5, 2001
Green Bay News Chronicle


By Doug Ritchay
News-Chronicle

Tampa Bay defensive tackle Warren Sapp slowly walked off the field, and, when he reached the sideline, his frustration was quite obvious for those who can read lips.

He and his defensive teammates had just allowed a 63-yard touchdown run by Packers' running back Ahman Green, and, in the process, the Packers got back into the game, pulling within 17-14. Sapp's exact words can't be printed, but let's just say his mother didn't teach him that language.

Nobody on the Tampa Bay sideline could have been pleased with the defense's effort against Green, who accumulated a career-high 169 rushing yards on 24 carries, as the Packers rallied for a 21-20 win.

But it was Green's touchdown run that gave the Packers a chance to win a game they appeared headed to lose.

In Green Bay's two previous drives in the third quarter, it recorded one first down. It appeared Tampa Bay's defense was in control, and then Green broke loose with wide receiver Corey Bradford making a key block downfield to spring Green.

"What I saw was a perfect play," said Green, who has runs of 83, 63 and 61 yards this season. "Everybody got their blocks. The only thing I had to worry about was outrunning the safeties and the corners. As a running back, that's what you want.

"William (Henderson) picked up his block; the offensive line picked up their blocks, as they have been doing all year. They did their job on that play. It's what I call a perfect play."

Green had been contained since opening the season with back-to-back 100-yard rushing games. In his previous four games Green averaged 60 yards per game. He rushed for 59 yards on 15 carries at Tampa Bay on Oct. 7.

"He's definitely a threat any time he touches the ball," Packers' quarterback Brett Favre said. "Today was no exception."

Packers' head coach Mike Sherman said he didn't use as many shotgun formations in the second half to help Green and the running game. He wanted Green in the I-formation, so Green could get a better look at the Bucs' defense.

It wasn't that Green was struggling in the first half, however, as he gained 77 yards on 14 carries.

"I thought he was missing cuts coming out of that angle," Sherman said in regards to running out of the shotgun.

Green's performance was so good that Sherman wasn't even mad about Green's lost fumble in the second quarter. In an effort to gain more yards, Green was giving second and third efforts, and Bucs safety Dexter Jackson wrestled the ball away from Green on a 12-yard run up the middle.

"We'll hold him accountable for that, but not too harshly," Sherman said. "He really was trying to get another yard."

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