Green and growing
Packers back builds on super-style year
Tuesday, November 5, 2002
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Packers back builds on super-style year
By LORI NICKEL
Last Updated: Nov. 5, 2002
Green Bay - Think of the encyclopedia illustrations of the Egyptians who somehow hauled slabs of stone to build the pyramids. That's what Green Bay Packers running back Ahman Green epitomized against the Miami Dolphins.
With mind-boggling strength and muscle, Green dragged multiple defenders with him Monday night as if he were building another monumental 1,000-yard season with Pro Bowl - and Super Bowl - intentions.
Quarterback Brett Favre said that in past years, when he played through injuries, he could credit his teammates for elevating their play. That was the case again, with Green.
While Green has got to thank offensive linemen Mike Wahle, Marco Rivera and Mike Flanagan for many blocks to get him his 143 total yards, Green was an awfully tough guy to tackle in the Packers' 24-10 victory.
"He does that every week," said Flanagan. "You never see Ahman running backwards. He's always falling forwards, even when someone lays a hit on him, he's going to lay that shoulder and going to get that extra inch, that extra yard.
"He does that every week, and sometimes I think we just take that for granted. But he just had a hell of a game."
In traffic, Green often hauled defenders with him - if he had not completely shaken them in the first place. He'd drag a Dolphin or two who'd been clinging to his hips, knees and ankles, and create a dust cloud in their feeble attempt to bring him down.
"He puts his shoulder down and he's going to get at least two or three yards on his own," said Rivera. "He runs hard. We know if we give him a little crack he's going to make something happen."
With Green as a constant threat, the Miami defense couldn't concentrate solely on Favre, who returned to action after a knee injury knocked him out of action more than two weeks ago.
Green had 72 rushing yards in 19 carries and 71 yards on six receptions, and he scored twice.
"With a guy like Ahman, everybody kind of expects him to make yards after contact," said Packers offensive lineman Bill Ferrario.
His second touchdown came on a 23-yard pass play. Green drew Dolphins linebacker Zach Thomas to the line of scrimmage, then ran down the line to the right to receive Favre's pass. Wide open, he got blocks downfield from Flanagan, Rivera and receiver Javon Walker to run the final 15 yards and score.
"They had two big screens on us that hurt us," said Thomas, and his coach, Dave Wannstedt, echoed the comment.
"That's his blitz pickup," said Rivera. "First you pick up your blitz and protect, then you get rid of (the linebacker) and you go. That's what we practice and it just worked out."
Receiver Donald Driver was also a major contributor with big-play catches.
After a narrow miss in the first quarter - a deep pass glanced off his fingernails - Driver responded with a gutsy athletic play. He outjumped cornerback Sam Madison and safety Brock Marion for a 27-yard catch at the start of the second quarter.
"I don't know if everybody's seen the Don Driver story that was on ESPN this weekend, but what a great guy, what a great person," Favre said.
"What a great player for our team. Most people probably wouldn't even believe he's been on our roster as long as he has. He has no-quit attitude.
"If we had 53 Donald Drivers, I'd bet money right now we'd win the Super Bowl."
The second-quarter drive was further propelled by an 18-yard reception by Green, who followed the lead of Flanagan, Rivera and Frank Winters to run about 15 of those 18 yards.
From the 1-yard line, Green danced right, then cut hard left behind the block of fullback Tony Carter for the Packers' first score.
Green surpassed Eddie Lee Ivery (1979-' 86) to take ninth place on the Packers' career list for combined rushing and receiving yards.
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