The Green Bay Packers can't figure out how so short a player can keep rising to such great heights.
Rookie Irving Spikes, who made Miami's roster after an exceptional preseason performance against the Packers, set up two first-half touchdowns that triggered the Dolphins' 24-14 victory over Green Bay on Sunday.The 5-foot-8, 215-pound Spikes ran 13 times for a game-high 70 yards and returned a kick for 17 more before leaving early in the fourth quarter with a twisted right knee.
"He's so short you can hardly see him," said Packers safety LeRoy Butler.
"We're still going to face a running back like Barry Sanders and runners like that, so we can't let a little Spikes do that to us," linebacker George Koonce lamented.
"Any time a team moves the ball on us like that it surprises me," Green Bay coach Mike Holmgren said.
Spikes signed with Miami after being ignored on draft day. He made the team after he burned the Packers with three kickoff returns for 146 yards and ran for the winning touchdown in a 31-24 exhibition victory at County Stadium on Aug. 13. It was the Packers' only defeat in the preseason.
"This means a lot to me, that they have the confidence in me to run the football," said Spikes, who rushed just once for five yards in Miami's season-opening 39-35 victory over New England.
Fleet and frustrating, Spikes helped put Miami on top 17-0 by halftime, forcing the Packers (1-1) out of their game plan to ground out yards and eat up time.
Forced to play catchup, Green Bay rushed just a club record-low seven times for 38 yards. Their previous low mark was 10 rushes against the Seattle Seahawks on Dec. 9, 1990.
After punting on their first possession, the Dolphins (2-0) scored on their next four drives, including a pair of touchdown passes by Marino. The win boosted Miami's regular season record against the Packers to 8-0.
Dan Marino, who shredded the Patriots for 473 yards and five touchdowns last week in his first regular season appearance since undergoing surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon, completed 17 of 25 passes for 177 yards.
With Miami ahead 3-0 late in the first half, Spikes, who had the fourth-best rushing average in the nation (149.5) last year at Northeast Louisiana, ran on three straight plays for 41 yards, setting up Marino's 3-yard touchdown strike to Keith Jackson with 5:43 left before halftime.
Defensive end Ed Cross recovered Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre's fumble at Miami's 47 on the next series.
Spikes ran five times for 35 yards on the Dolphins' resulting drive, and on second-and-goal, Marino hit Keith Byars wide open in the left flat for the score just 27 seconds before halftime.
Down 24-0 after a 6-yard TD run by Terry Kirby, Green Bay finally scored when Favre threw touchdown passes of 2 yards to Ed West and 9 yards to Sterling Sharpe late in the fourth quarter.
Favre completed 31 of 51 passes for 362 yards, but much of that came on short yardage after Miami had the game well in hand.
"Everyone forgets how good a football team they are," Favre said.