Play of the game: Setting the tone

Ahman Green's 11-yard run to open the game didn't lead to points, but it triggered a big day by the Packers' fast-improving running game.

The play of Sunday's game didn't lead to any points. It will not be featured in any highlight reels. It won't even be a footnote when we look back at the season.

It did, however, set the tone in the Packers' 31-14 drubbing of the Arizona Cardinals, which gave coach Mike McCarthy his first Lambeau Field victory.

On the first play of the game, Ahman Green rumbled through a huge hole and picked up 11 yards. The drive eventually ended in a botched fake field goal, but it was important for the Packers' young offensive line to prove — especially to themselves — that the strides made last week at Miami were tangible.

As was the case in Green's 70-yard touchdown run against the Dolphins, this play could serve as a tutorial on how to operate the zone blocking scheme.

The play was a run to the left, but the key block may have been delivered by rookie right guard Jason Spitz against rookie defensive tackle Gabe Watson, a fourth-round pick out of Michigan. Watson was lined up to Spitz's left, between Spitz and center Scott Wells. With the play going left, Watson would be flowing that direction, meaning Spitz had a longer distance to travel to make his block.

Spitz, however, was quick off the ball, and expertly chopped Watson to the turf.

Wells, meantime, stepped to his left to wall off a linebacker. Left guard Daryn Colledge blew defensive tackle Darnell Dockett 5 yards downfield. Left tackle Chad Clifton handled defensive end Bertrand Berry.

The only player with a chance to make a play even close to the line of scrimmage, middle linebacker Gerald Hayes, slipped to the turf — maybe to avoid an oncoming Wells — but probably would have been taken care of by impressive rookie fullback Brandon Myree, who drilled the prone Hayes.

With all the Cardinals' players positioned near the line of scrimmage taken care of, Green wasn't even touched until had had run 8 yards. That's where safety Robert Griffith hit Green, but by that time, he had so much momentum that he picked up an extra 3 yards, giving him an 11-yard gain and a first down.

The momentum from that run — and Green's big run at Miami — translated into a dominating day by the Packers' fast-improving running game. Ahman Green (106 yards) and Vernand Morency (101) each rushed for 100 yards, the first time a pair of Packers backs had done that since the Snow Bowl victory over Tampa Bay 21 years ago.

"I'm really happy for those guys in the locker room," said offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski, the zone-blocking guru who brought the scheme with him from Atlanta. "I knew what (the scheme) was supposed to look like because I've seen it before. I was impatient because I knew what kind of guys we have up front. (General manager) Ted (Thompson) drafted athletic guys, and we're going to keep getting better and better. I told (offensive line coaches) Joe Philbin and James Campen after the game that they've really done the hardest part of installing this thing, showing it and having some success, because the guys that come in after them will have a model to look at. We didn't."

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