Green making Packers go
Monday, November 5, 2001
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- In Seattle, Ahman Green was considered a promising back who fumbled. In Green Bay, Green is looking as though the fumble occurred by letting him out of Seattle.
Brett Favre is so popular in Green Bay that they name the small road leading to his restaurant as Brett Favre Pass. Pretty soon, the town might have to name the airport runway -- Ahman Green Runway. He''s taking the halfback position to new levels.
During the Packers'' 21-20 comeback victory Sunday, Green rushed for 169 yards on 24 carries and led the receiving corps with six catches for 49 yards. That''s 30 of the Packers 57 plays and 218 of the Packers'' 352 yards. The Packers obviously are Favre''s team, but Green''s supporting role continues to expand.
"I tell our offensive line to give Ahman just a little push, so he can get some forward movement," Favre said. "He has such great feet and great vision so let him bounce around. It reminds me of Emmitt Smith when the Cowboys were good. No one touched Emmitt until he crossed the line of scrimmage. As a running back, it makes a difference. It''s like a quarterback who has a chance to step into his throw. If Ahman gets a little bit of breathing room, he makes a difference."
Green was the difference in the game. Even though he had a solid first half with 77 yards on 14 carries against a supposed good run defense, the Packers fell behind because of mistakes. Favre threw two bad interceptions and Green had a costly fumble after Bucs free safety Dexter Jackson stripped the ball from his arms.
The Bucs converted those turnovers into 17 points and had a 17-7 lead in the third quarter. Then coach Mike Sherman turned the Green light on with a perfectly executed running play that is called 92 blast. With strong safety John Lynch caught on the weakside, all Green needed was solid blocking up front and a William Henderson block on Dexter Jackson. He got both.
Green skirted 63 yards for a touchdown with 4:40 left in the third quarter to cut the lead to 17-14. Momentum had shifted.
"That was one of those momentum shifters," Green said. "It was a basic downhill play for us -- one of our bread-and-butter plays. It''s a play we usually run on first downs or third-and-shorts, but with what I call perfect blocking happening, all I had to do was outrun the safeties and cornerbacks to the end zone."
The play came on a first down.
The other amazing part about Green''s game is how valuable he''s becoming on third downs. Four of his six catches came on third downs. Two went for first downs.
"Usually, Ahman''s my third read out of the backfield, but if they dropped into zones, I take one quick peek and get him the ball quick even if he is my third read," Favre said. "I want to get it to him as fast as possible, so he can square up on guys. If teams take away the downfield stuff, Green can make a guy miss and maybe get the first down."
For the season, Green has 681 yards on 131 carries and four touchdowns. He leads the team with 35 catches for 293. He is becoming to Favre what Marshall Faulk is to Kurt Warner in St. Louis.
"He''s definitely a threat any time he catches the ball," Favre said. "Today was no exception. There may be times when he gets stuffed, but he was a difference-maker today."
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