<
>

'Tough guy' Ty Montgomery offers peek at what Packers run game can do

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- When Mike Daniels' strip-sack of Russell Wilson and Kyler Fackrell's fumble recovery gave the Green Bay Packers the ball at the Seahawks' 6-yard line on Sunday, coach Mike McCarthy called Ty Montgomery's number.

As soon as Montgomery heard the play call from Aaron Rodgers in the huddle, he had one thought.

"Score," Montgomery said. "Keep it simple. Score."

And with that, Montgomery ensured that, unlike last season, the Packers wouldn't have to wait until Week 12 to put their first running back in the end zone on a rushing play. Last year, that didn't happen until Nov. 28 at Philadelphia, when fullback Aaron Ripkowski scored on a 1-yard plunge. Two weeks later, Montgomery became the first Packers player not named Aaron (Ripkowski or Rodgers) to rush for a score in the 2016 season.

Montgomery's stat line in Sunday's opener against the Seahawks might not have pleased the fantasy football folks, but his 54 yards on 19 carries combined with four catches for 39 yards represented his largest workload since he made the full-time switch from receiver last October.

It showed the Atlanta Falcons, this week's opponent, and future foes that coach Mike McCarthy plans to treat Montgomery like a No. 1 running back.

"I thought he ran it well," McCarthy said. "I think like a lot of things, it's that second, third reaction. They do a good job of filling with the pursuit and so forth. You obviously would like to get Ty a few more opportunities, but I think the way they played us, on first down particularly, the run game was challenged."

Anyone who questions Montgomery's toughness should roll the video from Sunday's game. The Seahawks allowed the fewest yards per carry (3.37) in the NFL last season, which makes Montgomery’s 2.8-yard average look a little better.

"It was tough," Montgomery said. "They were playing fast, filling the gaps fast. I had to earn every yard I got."

Offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett said Monday's review of the game film showed Montgomery with a team-high six broken tackles.

"He ran the ball hard, broke tackles ... did a really nice job being violent on the boundary, used the stiff arm. He accelerates his feet on contact," Bennett said. "He did some really positive things."

According to ESPN Stats & Information, Montgomery gained 34 of his 54 yards after first contact.

"Ty's a tough guy," 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. We've got to clean up a couple things. The thing I love about Ty is he just cares about it so much. He really wants to be great, and he's always talking through things that happen on the field on the sidelines. I'm sure we'll have some conversations about some things that happened out there. I love playing with Ty. He's doing a great job for us."

Rookie Jamaal Williams spelled Montgomery on occasion, including when a left ankle injury sidelined him for part of a series in the fourth quarter. Of the injury, Montgomery said he will "be all right," and the fact that he returned to finish the game was a good sign. Montgomery was on the field for 74 of the Packers' 82 offensive plays, only 21 on which were called runs. The other seven runs were scrambles by Rodgers.

"That's one of those things that we talked about, as far as ways that we know we can certainly be more efficient and more productive," Bennett said of the run game. "And the best way to go about doing it is to improve our aiming points, play with better pad level and then finish our blocks. We felt like overall the unit, we're moving in the right direction but we've got to be more efficient."