It’s a good thing Ty Montgomery likes playing running back.
Because based on Sunday’s performance, chances are he’s never going back to wide receiver.
Montgomery ran over and past the Chicago Bears for 162 rushing yards, two touchdowns and an explosive 10.1-yard average as the Green Bay Packers extended their winning streak to four games with a 30-27 victory on Sunday.
Montgomery might have been a receiver at Stanford, last year as a rookie and throughout training camp this year, but he certainly doesn’t run like one. By our unofficial count, Montgomery piled up 148 yards after contact and broke 10 tackles.
“That’s what he does,” quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. “He’s a strong guy. I think people don’t understand how built he is. He’s a compact 220-pound guy who has good quick-twitch but he’s also got a really good stiff-arm. He had a number of yards after contact, which says a lot about his ability to make something out of sometimes not much. The line did a really good job of blocking, both in the passing game and in the running game, but we rely on the backs to get those extra yards or break those tackles.”
By himself, Montgomery eclipsed the Packers’ season-high rushing total of 147 yards, set vs. the Giants on Oct. 9. Montgomery not only set a career-high rushing figure but he beat Eddie Lacy's career-high total of 150.
At times, he was unstoppable. On his opening 4-yard touchdown, he got around cornerback Tracy Porter and used a stiff-arm to turn a 2-yard loss into six points. On the offense’s first play of the second quarter, he broke four tackles within about 5 yards of the line of scrimmage and was off to the races for a gain of 61. While that drive didn’t end in points, his next big run gave Green Bay a field goal right before halftime. Montgomery’s 36-yard run included him stepping through a tackle just past the line of scrimmage and carrying defenders for the final 14 yards. In the third quarter, he broke two tackles near the line of scrimmage for a 26-yard run that set up his 3-yard touchdown.
“That’s just what we’re coached to do,” Montgomery said. “That’s how I was raised as a kid. It’s just ingrained in me. To be honest, I think the O-line did a great job of creating some seams and the perimeter guys, the wideouts and tight ends, they did a good job blocking in the secondary to get us some big runs.”
Montgomery started working extensively with the running backs before Lacy’s season-ending ankle injury, so this was part of McCarthy’s vision. But without Lacy and with an ineffective (and, on Sunday, inactive) James Starks, Montgomery has come to the rescue on offense. He entered the game with a career-high nine carries but matched that at halftime. With the Packers marching toward the playoffs, Montgomery figures to be the backfield’s focal point for the rest of the season.
“He definitely classifies as a big back,” McCarthy said. “He’s 225 pounds and he’s big, breaks tackles but he also has that second gear to get going and get to work on the second level. He’s outstanding out of the backfield. You always look for bigger backs. It’s my personal preference and you want them to be three-down players. The fact that he’s a really good pass protector, he’s really developed into that, very intelligent, so he can play both the running back, the displaced running back, run a multitude of routes – probably more than the normal running back. He’s been a good weapon for us and he’s been very productive. I’m very proud of what Ty’s done so far.”
The sky appears to be the limit.
“I’m just glad things worked out the way they did,” Montgomery said before adding in typical modesty, “and I’m glad that we won.”
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.