|Grant shakes off 2 early fumbles to power Packers offense|
|Written by Admin|
|Saturday, 12 January 2008 14:46|
And after Grant's two early fumbles helped put Green Bay in a quick two-touchdown hole on Saturday, Packers coach Mike McCarthy probably wanted to send him right back to wherever he came from.
But McCarthy didn't send his big back to the lonely end of the bench, and Grant redeemed himself with one of the strongest rushing performances in NFL playoff history. Grant rushed for 201 yards and three touchdowns as the Packers beat the Seattle Seahawks 42-20 in a divisional playoff game at snow-streaked Lambeau Field.
Eric Dickerson holds the all-time single-game playoff rushing record with 248 yards for the Los Angeles Rams against Dallas in the 1985 NFC divisional round.
Grant didn't take a single snap in his first two years in the league, and was acquired as an afterthought in a trade with the New York Giants just before the start of the regular season.
A sharp cutback runner with enough speed and size (6-1, 218) to break tackles, Grant has given the Packers' running game big-play ability. He reminds many folks in Green Bay of former back Dorsey Levens - he even wears the same number, 25.
Grant's day got off to an awful start on Saturday, though, losing two fumbles in the Packers' first three offensive plays.
On their first play from scrimmage, Favre threw a swing pass to Grant on the right side, which the running back managed to haul in after bobbling the ball. Linebacker Leroy Hill then stripped the ball from Grant, and Lofa Tatupu recovered to give the Seahawks first-and-goal at the Green Bay 1.
Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck immediately handed the ball to Shaun Alexander, who plunged in for a touchdown to put Seattle ahead 7-0.
The Packers didn't shy from feeding the ball to Grant on their next possession, and it cost them again when he was stripped by Brian Russell on the second play. Jordan Babineaux recovered to give the ball back to the Seahawks offense at the Green Bay 49.
Hasselbeck drove the Seahawks deep into Packers territory, then threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Bobby Engram to put Seattle ahead 14-0 with 10:59 left in the quarter.
Grant fumbled only once in the regular season.
McCarthy sent Grant out on the field on the Packers' third possession, and he contributed a 4-yard run to a drive that ended with Brett Favre's touchdown pass to Greg Jennings.
Then Grant really got going.
He broke runs of 7, 26 and 15 yards on Green Bay's next drive, then plunged in for the tying touchdown from the 1-yard line.
Grant did most of the heavy lifting on another Packers scoring drive just before halftime, then scored his second touchdown of the game from the Seattle 3.
He had 91 yards and two touchdowns at the break.
Grant nearly scored on 42-yard run near the end of the third quarter, then finished the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter.
It was just the latest surprising performance by Grant, who played sporadically for the Packers early in the season as Green Bay gave rookies Brandon Jackson and DeShawn Wynn their shots at the starting job. By late October, the Packers were averaging a league-worst 65 yards rushing per game.
Grant got his chance in the Packers' Oct. 29 game at Denver, and responded with 104 yards rushing in a Green Bay victory - the first of five 100-yard performances in the regular season.
Grant rushed for 929 yards between Week 8 and the end of the regular season. Only San Diego's LaDainian Tomlinson has had more, with 947.