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Green runs for 160 yards, long TD

9/14/2003

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- It took a mere 52 seconds for the Green
Bay Packers to rediscover their running game and their home-field
advantage.

Ahman Green rushed 23 times for 160 yards, including a 65-yarder
for a score on his first carry as the Packers rolled past the
Detroit Lions 31-6 Sunday, snapping a two-game home losing streak.

Question on the Lions: Do young teams need reality checks like this?
Yes! Last week, they had a big victory over the Cardinals, but it was just that: a victory over the Cardinals. This week, they were given a truer test and judge of where they are as a team.

Question on the Packers: With Driver out, will they keep feeding Green or will they try to get the other WRs more involved?
They have to get other receivers involved. It's great to get a solid rushing game from Green but they need a balanced offense to do any damage when it counts.

Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders.

Green topped 100 yards by halftime, and the Packers (1-1) picked
off three of Joey Harrington's passes in the second half to send
the Lions (1-1) to their 17th straight road loss.

Green scored when he found a hole in the eight-man front created
by guard Mike Wahle, broke a tackle by safety Corey Harris and
raced 65 yards for the touchdown on a field drenched by nearly 3
inches of rain in 48 hours.

"This is our type of weather," Brett Favre said. "When we're
running the ball like that, we're tough to beat. Anybody would
be."

The play accounted for more yards than Green had in either of
his previous two games. He had 53 yards against Minnesota a week
earlier and 34 yards against Atlanta in the playoffs -- both of them
losses at Lambeau Field.

Against the Vikings, the Packers passed on their first six snaps
and trailed by double digits when Green got his first carry.

"We were bound and determined to get Ahman his carries,"
Packers coach Mike Sherman said.

Not only were the Packers still smarting from their season
opener, but their receivers were banged up. Sherman revealed that
even free agent pickup Antonio Freeman, who led Green Bay with four
catches for 32 yards, was limited by foot tendinitis during closed
practices during the week.

Center Mike Flanagan was ecstatic to hear the rain beating down
his window all night.

"Fat guys up front love that slow, sloppy field," he said.
"Love the rain. This is a lineman's dream. I saw it was raining
and everybody woke up with smiles on their faces. It makes it hard
to throw and we know what we have to do."

Namely, dole out the punishment instead of taking it.

Green's run was his longest since he went 83 yards for a
touchdown against the Lions on Sept. 9, 2001.

"It is one of our bread-and-butter plays," Green said. "If
it's blocked right and I have the right speed, the only person I've
got to deal with is outrunning the safety."

Said Lions end Robert Porcher: "We played it right. Everybody
was where they were supposed to be. We just missed the tackle."

Harris accepted the blame.

"That was a basic football play," he said. "You can't let
that happen."

Green became the fourth running back in Packers history to top
4,000 career yards. He had 109 yards by halftime as the Packers
built a 17-6 lead.

In the third quarter, linebacker Nick Barnett, the Packers' top
draft pick, intercepted a pass that bounced off tight end Mikhael
Ricks' back and Charles Rogers' fingertips.

Three plays later, Favre hit Robert Ferguson with a 14-yard
touchdown pass that made it 24-6. Ferguson aggravated a sprained
right knee early in the fourth quarter and went to the sideline.

Al Harris capped the scoring with a 56-yard interception return
for a score.

Packers weakside linebacker Na'il Diggs had a monster game
before limping to the sideline with a sprained left knee early in
the fourth quarter.

"I just had a lot of last week still in my chest," said Diggs,
who had seven tackles and broke up four passes.

In the second quarter, Freeman got a huge ovation from the crowd
of 70,244 when he made a 13-yard catch on third-and-9. Favre ran
over to hug him.

"It was deja vu," said Favre, whose favorite target was
Freeman from 1995-2001. "I looked out there and he was right in
the perfect spot. And as usual he catches it off his chest. But he
catches it.

"That's Free. What he lacks in talent, he makes up for in
savvy."

The Packers signed Freeman on Wednesday after Donald Driver
strained his neck and Ferguson sprained his right ankle and knee.

"I felt like a little kid who ran away and has come home,"
Freeman said.

Notes: Favre (3,692) surpassed Fran Tarkenton (3,686) for fourth
on the NFL's career completions list. He trails Warren Moon, John
Elway and Dan Marino, who is the leader. ... The Packers are 16-0
when Green tops 100 yards rushing. ... Favre improved to 8-1
against Lions coach Steve Mariucci, his quarterbacks coach from
1992-95. ... Tony Fisher caught a 5-yard TD pass from Favre, the
first of his career.