Last run makes Green's day
Packers' running back Ahman Green carried 27 times for 118 yards in Sunday's win with 39 yards coming on his last carry Monday, December 11, 2000
Green Bay News-Chronicle

Packers' running back Ahman Green carried 27 times for 118 yards in Sunday's win with 39 yards coming on his last carry

By Doug Ritchay

Up until his 27th carry in Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions, Ahman Green was having a workmanlike game.

He had 79 yards on 26 carries and, as the numbers suggest, hadn't made any big plays. Still, the third-year running back from the University of Nebraska was running as if his life depended on it.

Green was running as hard as he has this season, rarely getting brought down by the first defender. In the end, Green was rewarded for his effort.

With the Packers leading 19-13 and looking to run time off the clock in the final two minutes, Green broke through the Lions' defensive line and sprinted 39 yards for the game-clinching touchdown, helping the Packers defeat Detroit at Lambeau Field. Just like that, Green goes from having an average game to another good performance.

"I had been watching ... how their linebackers flowed over top, peaking at the cutback," Green said of his touchdown run. "I kept getting playside the whole game, and I thought that cutback was going to open up, and it did. All I saw was the end zone."

"Ahman's just steadily getting better," fullback William Henderson said. "When we needed him to make the burst, he got a touchdown."

That is what Green can do for the Packers. He was contained for most of Sunday, but the Packers know if they keep feeding Green the ball, his breakaway speed makes him a constant threat to break one.

What Green has given the Packers this season is a featured runner with blazing speed. The Packers haven't had a featured running back like Green since Eddie Lee Ivery came to Green Bay in 1979.

Green's explosiveness has him at 940 yards for the season, giving him a solid chance of attaining the magic 1,000-yard mark next week at Minnesota.

"That says a lot about Ahman," Packers' quarterback Brett Favre said.

"Ahman Green, I can't say enough about the way he's played this year." "It would be a great accomplishment for myself, for my offensive line and my teammates," Green said of the 1,000-yard possibility. "At the beginning I didn't expect myself to be in the position I'm in now.

This is hard work paying off. I came here thinking I would be a spot player - spell Dorsey from time to time - and be a big-time contributor on special teams. Right now, it's just the opposite. I'm proud of the way it's coming out."

The Packers turned to Green early and often against the Lions. In the first half, Green carried 18 times for 59 yards as the Packers attempted to establish the run. His 27 carries for the game was a career-high.

In three of his last four games, Green has carried at least 20 times a game. Used only sparingly as a backup with Seattle his first two seasons, Green has developed into a workhorse, bringing back memories of college.

"That's something I was accustomed to coming out of college," Green said. "I averaged 25-some-odd carries. I'm not a stranger to it at all. It's just a little bit new to me because it's been a couple years since I have had big-carry games or big-yardage games."

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