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Packers' Grant outshines Peterson

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THOMAS J. MILLER
November 12, 2007
— Ryan Grant was an unknown running back when Green Bay traded for him Sept. 1.

The New York Giants were about to release him, and Packer general manager Ted Thompson was afraid another team might grab Grant off the waiver wire before Green Bay had a shot.


So Thompson traded a sixth-round draft choice to obtain the 24-year-old Notre Dame product.


That move is turning out to be another “plus” for Thompson, whose record, like the Packers, continues to exceed all expectations.


Grant earned his second game ball of the season Sunday, rushing for 119 yards on 25 carries in a 34-0 pasting of the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field.


Grant turned out to be the best running back on the field. Minnesota rookie phenom Adrian Peterson was limited to 45 yards on 11 carries and suffered a knee injury in the third quarter.


It was Grant who was questionable for Sunday’s game after he suffered a concussion last week against Kansas City. But he progressed during the week, and Grant proved to be a major headache for the Vikings.


Minnesota had allowed an average of only 70 yards a game going into Sunday’s action, but Grant had 81 in the first quarter alone. Included in that was a 30-yard sweep around right end that resulted in the Packers’ first touchdown.


“It was a toss play, and I saw the linebacker got cut,” Grant said of the scoring play. “I cut it up, and once I cut it up, it’s up to me to get it in the end zone.”


That is what he did for his first career touchdown.


With his 119 yards, Grant has 305 yards rushing and a 4.2-yard average per carry. Those might not be Pro Bowl numbers, but for a team that needed a rushing weapon, he’s done quite nicely.


“I think Ryan keeps getting better each week,” Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy said. “We’re definitely heading in the right direction.”


Brett Favre went so far as to compare Grant with Dorsey Levens. Levens, like Grant, wore No. 25.


“He is a big, physical back, deceptively fast, kind of sneaks up on you,” Favre said. “I think his role in our passing game can evolve to what Dorsey’s role with us was. But he does remind me a lot of him.”


Line of credit


The play of the offensive line can’t be overlooked in the Packers’ success.


The guard play was singled out this week as being inadequate, but both left guard Daryn Colledge and Jason Spitz did the job. Center Mike Wells handled huge Minnesota nose guard Pat Williams, and tackles Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher kept the Vikings’ pass rush off Favre. It was the first game this season that Favre was not sacked.


Colledge, who probably would not have started had Junius Coston been healthy, credited center Scott Wells with handling Pat Williams, who finished with just two tackles.


“Scott had a lot of blocks that he had (Williams) one-on-one,” Colledge said. “That was just Scott being Scott.”


As far as for his own week, Colledge said he didn’t let the public criticism get to him.


“I understand I’m a second-year player, and I have to get better,” he said.


Ruvell’s day


The Packers again used several five-receiver sets to spread out the Vikings’ defense, just as they did at Minnesota in the teams’ first meeting of the season.


That gave second-year man Ruvell Martin an opportunity to play, and he made the most of it.


Martin had his first multiple-touchdown day of his career.


The second one came in the final quarter when Viking defenders Cedric Griffin and Darren Sharper collided going for an interception and the ball popped into Martin’s arms.


“I was open in the back of the end zone, and I gave Brett the arms,” Martin said. “They came underneath it. They just hit each other.


“My thought was, ‘Man, either they’re going to hit it and you know, miss it, and I’m going to try and catch the tip. Or I’m going to try to tackle whichever one catches it, picks it off.”


Luckily for Martin, the ball was tipped to him.



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