Offense Pounds Bears

Ahman Green dislocated his finger late in the Packer's 17-7 victory over the Bears, but that was nothing compared to the position he put Chicago's defense in Sunday afternoon.

Against the No. 3 rushing defense in the league (No. 1 in the NFC), Green gained 125 yards on 29 touches, becoming the first running back to break the 100-yard mark on Chicago in 21 games. That mark in the win column takes precedence, giving the Packer's a season sweep of Chicago and putting them in a first place tie for the NFC Central Division lead at 9-3, but Green couldn't help but take a bit of satisfaction in messing up his opponent's streak, as well.

"The offensive line takes pride in getting me over 100 yards and to get this was a big motivating factor," Green said.

On Sunday, that offensive line sported a new look, but they didn't miss a beat. Right guard Marco Rivera broke a bone in his left hand in practice on Dec. 6 in a 9-on-7 drill and played with a cast on his hand. He was spelled throughout the game by right tackle Mark Tauscher, who moved over to guard, a position he last played at the University of Wisconsin. When Tauscher shifted over, veteran Earl Dotson came off the bench to assume his old starting position at tackle.

"Tauscher moves down to guard, but he's played right next to it and he knows what a guard's doing 99-percent of the time," center Mike Flanagan said. "And Earl's got years of experience. Maybe it's a little stress for Tauscher because he hasn't played (guard) at this level, but he did a hell of a job today."

All told, Green Bay had 160 yards on 36 carries against a team surrendering just 76.5 yards per game on average. Dorsey Levens kicked in with 26 yards on five carries and moved into fourth on the Packer's all-time rushing list, passing Clarke Hinkle who had 3,860 yards.

"Our confidence was real strong in our running game," Green said. "We got myself, William Henderson, Dorsey Levens – a great backfield, and an offensive line that's been doing their job all year. It makes our job a lot easier when (the offensive line is) putting people on their back or just giving us a crack to get to the hole. Six inches is enough to get us up and down the field."

For most of the afternoon, Green was like a leaky faucet, dripping three and four yard runs between mammoth Chicago tackles Ted Washington (6-foot-5, 355 pounds) and Keith Traylor (6-foot-2, 320 pounds). Along with the play of his six offensive lineman, Green also benefitted from the play of his fullback Henderson, who routinely blew up defenders at the point of attack. Quarterback Brett Favre also kept the Bears honest with 207 yards and a touchdown through the air. Hardly a repeat of his Monday night performance in Jacksonville, but enough to force Chicago to be conscious of the threat.

But with 5:12 left in the third quarter, Green burst around the right end for 29 yards – his longest run of the day. Four plays later he went around the left side, juked cornerback Walt Harris, then rolled in for a 12-yard touchdown that put Green Bay up for good, 14-7.

"It was a play that we've been running all day, the counter-trey," Green said. "They had been spilling it to the outside so I just took it where they were taking us. I got to the outside and out ran a couple of people to the end zone and had some great blocking." Tauscher agreed.

"We love it when we can run the ball," he said. "it's a great feeling to come out of here beating them at their own game."

By that time, the chatter from the defense had subsided and Green saw their confident stares give way to fatigue and frustration.

"You could see it in their face and I knew if we kept running the ball we were going to wear them out," Green said. "They were all riled up in the first and second quarter running their mouths, jibber-jabbering. That's something I'm accustomed to. A lot of guys jibber-jabber at myself, at my teammates ... get in their face. But we know if we keep pounding the ball, they're going to eventually wear out and be quiet."

Green recorded his fifth 100-yard game of the season. Only Jim Taylor (7 in 1962) and Levens (6 in 1997) have more in a single season. With 1,094 yards this year, Green becomes just the third player in Packer history to post back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, joining Taylor and John Brockington. Taylor had five 1,000-yard seasons in a row (1960-64) and Brockington three (1971-73).

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