Commentary

BenJarvus Green-Ellis sparks the run

Patriots' running game against Vikings makes up for passing struggles

Updated: November 1, 2010, 9:20 AM ET
By Mike Reiss | ESPNBoston.com

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Sometimes all it takes is one run to open the floodgates. BenJarvus Green-Ellis delivered it midway through the third quarter with a 10-yard burst up the middle.

"Once you get things going, when we get in that rhythm, it's kind of hard to stop," Green-Ellis said.

[+] EnlargeBenJarvus Green-Ellis
Jim Rogash/Getty ImagesBenJarvus Green-Ellis' two TDs Sunday gave him his first career multiple-touchdown game.

Prior to that run, the New England Patriots had totaled just 9 rushing yards on nine carries. They finished with 122 yards on the day in their 28-18 win.

Green-Ellis' 10-yard run turned things around, and suddenly, the Patriots turned into a ground-and-pound type of offense, with the running game bailing out a passing offense that struggled to find its rhythm.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick credited a halftime adjustment for the revived running attack. Minnesota Vikings coach Brad Childress explained what the adjustment was from his view.

"I think they got a little bit of their counter game going inside, pulling the linemen," Childress said. "That kind of broke our back."

Green-Ellis had been quiet in the Patriots' past two victories, totaling 20 yards on 10 carries against the Ravens, and 24 yards on 11 carries last week in San Diego. It looked as if he was headed to a similar type of day at halftime Sunday, as the Patriots couldn't generate a spark on the ground.

"We came in and made some halftime adjustments and kind of got accustomed to how they wanted to play the game, and we were able to go off that," said Green-Ellis, who thundered his way to 112 yards on 17 carries with two touchdowns, the first multiple-touchdown performance of his three-year career.

"They did a lot of movement on us in the first half. We were able to adjust and make things work in the second half."

The offensive line -- left tackle Matt Light, left guard Dan Connolly, center Dan Koppen, right guard Stephen Neal and right tackle Sebastian Vollmer -- was crucial in re-establishing control of the line of scrimmage. Quarterback Tom Brady added that tight end Alge Crumpler, who in some ways is like a sixth offensive lineman, is "a friggin' great blocker, a dominating blocker in there."

In addition to Green-Ellis, Danny Woodhead totaled 13 yards on six carries, with his big contribution coming on a direct-snap 3-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.

"We felt like in the running game, that if we could just kind of get it started, then we could make some yards," Belichick said. "Our backs ran well and broke some tackles. They got some extra yards on their own, and that's what good backs do."

The hard-charging Green-Ellis got the most, his performance a catalyst in the Patriots' win.

It all started with his 10-yard run at the start of the third quarter.

Mike Reiss covers the Patriots for ESPN Boston. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his weekly mailbag.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

SPONSORED HEADLINES

EDITORS' PICKS

ALSO SEE