Montgomery plants foot in of­fense

Packer Plus - - Analysis - TOM SIL­VER­STEIN

Green Bay — The def­i­ni­tion of a good day re­quires an al­ter­nate de­scrip­tion when you’re fac­ing the Seat­tle Sea­hawks de­fense, be­cause stan­dard mea­sure­ments like yards per touch, bro­ken tack­les and bruises de­liv­ered are not ap­pli­ca­ble.

When you face the tough­est 11 guys any NFL de­fense will put on the field this sea­son, you judge suc­cess on one thing: the fi­nal out­come.

Thus, it was a good day for the Green Bay Pack­ers, who beat the Sea­hawks, 17-9, Sun­day af­ter­noon at Lam­beau Field in what could only be de­scribed as a Dar­winian clash of NFC heavy­weights.

It was also a good day for run­ning back Ty Montgomery, whose num­bers didn’t sug­gest a mea­sur­able im­pact on the game, but whose pres­ence on the field made all the dif­fer­ence in the Pack­ers squeak­ing out a tightly con­tested Week 1 vic­tory.

“Ty, he’s a spe­cial back,” guard Lane Tay­lor said. “He’s early in his run­ning back ca­reer, but he can do some good things. He made that one play on the left side­line there, that was re­ally nice.

“That just gave en­ergy to the whole team when Ty makes a play like that. I’m look­ing for­ward to what he’s go­ing to do this year.”

Montgomery’s 20-yard catch and run with 12 min­utes, 10 sec­onds left in the game helped set up the Pack­ers’ fi­nal points, a 40-yard Mason Crosby field goal with 8:01 to go.

But as Tay­lor pointed out, it wasn’t just the yards that made it spe­cial, it was the way in which he did it.

But be­fore de­scrib­ing it, it’s im­por­tant to note that Montgomery is not at the top of the list of skill play­ers the Pack­ers ex­pect to carry them this sea­son. The Pack­ers are a pass­ing team and that makes Jordy Nel­son, Da­vante Adams, Ran­dall Cobb, Martel­lus Ben­nett and maybe even Geron­imo Al­li­son — who was serv­ing a one-game sus­pen­sion Sun­day — big­ger pri­or­i­ties in the Mike McCarthy of­fense.

But would the Pack­ers have won this game with­out the phys­i­cally im­pos­ing and ex­tremely gifted Montgomery not with­stand­ing ev­ery shot the Sea­hawks de­liv­ered, in­clud­ing a de-cleater from all­world safety Earl Thomas af­ter an 8-yard run?

Montgomery touched the ball 23 times — 19 car­ries and four re­cep­tions — and pro­duced 93 yards, which is ba­si­cally an av­er­age of 4 yards per touch. But those 93 yards were a team-high, and more im­por­tantly, the Pack­ers’ hard­est earned.

It was the same type of game he had in the Pack­ers' 38-10 vic­tory over Seat­tle here last year.

“It was a tough game,” said Montgomery, who left in the fourth quar­ter af­ter suf­fer­ing what ap­peared to be a sprained left an­kle but said it was mi­nor. “I had to earn ev­ery sin­gle yard I got to­day."

Seat­tle’s de­fense seem­ingly had ev­ery gap cov­ered in the run game early on and McCarthy didn’t seem in­ter­ested in test­ing it un­til he had to. Montgomery car­ried eight times in the first half and fin­ished with 16 yards with a long run of 3 yards.

But McCarthy went to Montgomery more in the sec­ond half when Seat­tle’s de­fense started to tire due to a lop­sided time of pos­ses­sion.

“Ty just keeps pound­ing the ball, be­ing con­sis­tent, play­ing like he al­ways plays,” rookie run­ning back Ja­maal Wil­liams said. “That’s just what you have to do first quar­ter, be con­sis­tent and let the de­fense know ev­ery time they tackle you or ev­ery time they come af­ter you, you’re go­ing to give all your ef­fort all the time.”

Not since cur­rent Seat­tle back Ed­die Lacy was a healthy and rel­a­tively fit mem­ber of the Pack­ers’ back­field has the team been able to with­stand the fury of a de­fense like Seat­tle’s.

Montgomery might have big­ger sta­tis­ti­cal games down the road, but where he’s go­ing to be needed most this sea­son is against what looks to be a very im­proved Chicago Bears de­fense, a con­sis­tently good Min­nesota Vik­ings de­fense, and the snarling de­fen­sive dogs of the AFC North (Pitts­burgh, Bal­ti­more, Cincin­nati and even Cleve­land).

“Ty’s a tough guy,” quar­ter­back Aaron Rodgers said. “He made some good plays for us. He’s a strong dude. We’ve got to keep try­ing to give him op­por­tu­ni­ties to get free run­ning the foot­ball, but he made some nice plays.”

His first came af­ter de­fen­sive tackle Mike Daniels stripped Seat­tle quar­ter­back Russell Wilson of the ball and the Pack­ers re­cov­ered at the 6-yard line early in the third quar­ter. McCarthy called a sweep to the left with cen­ter Corey Lins­ley and Tay­lor pulling in front of him.

Tay­lor kicked out end Michael Ben­nett and Lins­ley walled off linebacker K.J. Wright, leav­ing 6-3, 225-pound safety Kam Chan­cel­lor to bring down the 6-foot, 223- pound Montgomery at the 2-yard line. Chan­cel­lor made the mis­take of try­ing to tackle Montgomery around the waist and got dragged into the end zone.

“Score,” Montgomery said when asked what he was think­ing. “Keep it sim­ple. Score.”

The other big play Montgomery had was the 20-yard catch Tay­lor ref­er­enced ear­lier. It came with the Pack­ers in need of adding to their 14-6 lead early in the fourth quar­ter.

The big­gest gain of what turned out to be a 12-play, 53yard field goal drive was a swing pass to Montgomery out of the back­field.

Rodgers got the ball out quickly to his left and when Montgomery caught it, he knew who would be wait­ing for him.

“I knew Earl was go­ing to be the one to play the catch out of the back­field,” Montgomery said. “I didn’t know ex­actly where he was go­ing to fit, whether it was out­side or inside. As soon as I caught the ball, I knew who to look for in terms of who I needed to make miss.”

That’s ex­actly what Montgomery did, spin­ning away from Thomas at the side­line and run­ning un­til cor­ner­back Shaq Grif­fin hap­pened to get a hand in his shoul­der pads and pull him out of bounds.

Later, Montgomery helped the Pack­ers grind out the fi­nal 6:17 of the game, tak­ing pun­ish­ment on each and ev­ery run, but fi­nally reap­ing the ben­e­fits when Rodgers ran a boot­leg fake that re­sulted in a 26-yard com­ple­tion to tight end Martel­lus Ben­nett made pos­si­ble be­cause the end crashed down in an ef­fort to chase down Montgomery.

“It felt great,” Montgomery said. “You get those hard­fought runs, I like that. I like be­ing able to be the guy fin­ish­ing the game, get some catches, get some runs, keep the clock mov­ing.”

Some­thing the Pack­ers will need from him again.

MARK HOFF­MAN / MIL­WAU­KEE JOUR­NAL SEN­TINEL

Green Bay Pack­ers run­ning back Ty Montgomery touched the ball 23 times for a to­tal of 93 yards. His tough­ness made a dif­fer­ence in the vic­tory over Seat­tle.

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