Green Gets Red Hot

A perfect play on a nearly perfect day. That summed it up for Packer running back Ahman Green on Sunday.

And after a career-high 169 yards rushing on 24 carries, who could argue with him? Green Bay trailed 17-7 with 4:49 remaining in the third quarter when Green took the handoff from quarterback Brett Favre and hit the right side of the line behind guard Marco Rivera and a jaw-rocking block from fullback William Henderson. With daylight in sight, there was never a doubt. Sixty-three yards. Touchdown.

"Everybody made their block, hit the guys they were supposed to and as a running back, the only people you have to deal with is the safeties and corners and I ran it to the end zone," Green said.

The burst down the sideline pushed Green over the 100-yard mark for the third time this season and the seventh time in his career. He added a team-leading 49 yards on six receptions to give him 218 total yards of offense on the day.

"We didn't run too many different plays today, a set three or four plays, but I was taking what the defense was giving me and when they didn't wrap up, I was picking up more yards." But on one attempt to pick up extra yards in the second quarter, Green had the ball stripped by safety Dexter Jackson and recovered by tackle Warren Sapp.

"You're going to have a play or a letdown," Green said. "It was a great play by their defense, they saw me working for yards, pushing, knocking guys down trying to get more yardage and it's kind of hard when you've got two or three people pulling at one arm."

And while that prevented a perfect day for Green, the Packer's will take a performance like he had against the Buccaneers any game. Getting defensive: Maybe it was the pregame speech Reggie White gave to his former teammates that inspired them. Or maybe they were just out to prove that the 35 points they gave up to the Minnesota Vikings two weeks ago was a fluke.

Whatever the case, the Packer defense showed up in a big way on Sunday, racking up seven sacks while holding quarterback Brad Johnson to just 177 yards. They also limited the potent backfield combo of Warrick Dunn and Mike Alstott to a mere 61.

"You try to calculate things in sacks, but it's not really sacks, it's the pressures and our early down defense was outstanding today," defensive tackle Santana Dotson said. "If you watched, they were typically in second-and-long, third-and-long situations and then the pressure will come. But early downs, Gilbert (Brown) and those guys did a great job of stuffing the run and holding down two outstanding backs in Alstott and Dunn."

Linebacker Nate Wayne led the hit parade with 1.5 sacks, with the other half-sack picked up by linebacker Bernardo Harris. Lineman Vonnie Holliday, John Thierry, Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, safety LeRoy Butler and cornerback Tod McBride chipped in with one each.

"We wanted to get Brad on his heels and it worked," McBride said. "(Defensive coordinator) Ed (Donatell) did a great job of scheming and we just wanted to get him a little rattled. Guys were out there making plays and hunting."

Butting up to history: With his 9-yard takedown of Brad Johnson to end a third quarter Tampa bay drive, Packer strong safety LeRoy Butler has 20.5 career sacks. He became the first defensive back in NFL history to have 20 sacks in a career.

State of confusion: Spiking a ball isn't supposed to be this eventful, neither is making the proper call on the field. But with first-and-10 at the 50-yard line and nine seconds remaining, a simple play took on a life of their own.

As Johnson attempted to spike the ball to stop the clock, the ball slipped out of his hand, hit right guard Cosey Coleman's leg and was picked up by Vonnie Holliday. But officials assessed Coleman a five-yard penalty for illegal touching of the ball after it hit his leg, meaning there was no play. Despite that call, the play was then reviewed and officials determined that Johnson did in fact fumble. That negated the penalty of Coleman, but it also meant it should've been the Packers' ball. But it was then determined that an inadvertent whistle made it a dead play, which of course, gave the Bucs second-and-11 at the 49 yard line. Confused? You're not alone.

"The refs were saying it was our ball, Tampa Bay was saying it was there ball," safety Darren Sharper said. "There was a fumble, but no one really clarified what was going on so we thought they gave the ball to us, then Tampa said, 'It's first down, we're going with the ball.' So I'm like, 'Let's hurry up make a play and get them off the field and let the time run out.' "

Extra points: The Packers have the league's longest home winning streak at nine heading into Monday night's game... Green Bay's 5-2 after 7 games for the first time since 1998...Sunday's game was the 21st time Favre has led his team to victory after being tied or behind at the start of the 4th quarter... Favre's first quarter scoring toss to Antonio Freeman was the 54th time they hooked up for a touchdown, eighth all-time in NFL history. ... Six of the past seven games between Tampa Bay and Green Bay have been decided by 7 points or less.... Brett Favre is 10-0 at home against the Bucs. ... Tampa Bay's next visit to Green Bay will be in 2005.

Packer Report Top Stories