He went 98 yards for the score, the longest run in franchise history, one yard longer than Andy Uram’s 97-yard TD run vs. the Chicago Cardinals way back in 1939.
It gave him 218 yards for the game on just 20 carries, topping his own single-game mark, and 1,883 for the season, more than 400 beyond Taylor’s single-season record that had stood for so long.
When the Broncos fumbled the ensuing kickoff at the goal line and Marcus Wilkins recovered for a touchdown to put the Packers up 31-3 with 13:10 left, Lambeau was in a tizzy. The game was decided, and Green’s record-setting day was done. The 98-yard scamper was the last time he needed to touch the ball.
But how was the Vikings’ game going? Not well, from the Packers’ perspective.
Minnesota kicked a field goal with 6:48 left to push its lead over Arizona to 17-6. Green Bay’s postseason hopes were fading away.
But the Cardinals, just 3-12 entering the day, didn’t quit. Arizona QB Josh McCown was sacked three times in a span of four plays, but one of them was wiped out by a defensive penalty. On third-and-long in a harbinger of what was to come, McCown hit receiver Nathan Poole for 37 yards to get into the red zone.
Four plays later, on fourth down from the 2, just after the two-minute warning, McCown threw a TD pass that was upheld on review. The two-point try was no good, so at 17-12 with 1:54 left and the Cardinals down to one timeout, the game hinged on an onside kick.
By this point, almost no fans in the Lambeau seating bowl were watching the Packers and Broncos. Their backs were turned to the field, as everyone was glancing behind them into the suite windows to get a look at the live TV feed from Arizona.
Vikings fullback Jim Kleinsasser muffed the onside recovery, and the Cardinals got the ball, as a hopeful cheer made its way around Lambeau. McCown got Arizona inside the Minnesota 10-yard line, but was sacked, and the Cardinals called their last timeout with 31 seconds left.
Then he was sacked again and fumbled the ball. Rookie left tackle Reggie Wells, making his first career start that day (incidentally, Wells would spend a brief offseason stint in Green Bay in 2012, his last year in the NFL) recovered to keep the Cardinals, and the Packers, alive.
With the clock ticking away, the game came down to fourth-and-25 from the 28-yard line. As McCown got the snap off with 4 seconds left and scrambled to his right, FOX announcer Chris Myers exclaimed, “They’re watching in Green Bay.”
McCown somehow found Poole in the right back corner of the end zone, and the catch was ruled a touchdown due to two Vikings defenders shoving Poole out of bounds in midair (the force-out rule has since been changed).
Lambeau Field erupted, and as the news made its way to the sideline, cluing in the Packers as to what had happened, a most unexpected celebration began. Miraculously, the Packers were in the playoffs.
And oh yeah, Green had broken his own franchise single-game rushing record, and no one has come within 40 yards of it since.