Terrell Davis was seeing three Mike Shanahans, so he answered
the one in the middle. The second quarter was about to start,
the Broncos had the ball on the Packers' one-yard line, and the
Denver coach wanted to know how his stud running back was
feeling. "I'm seeing double and triple," replied Davis. "That's
when I knew he was in trouble," said Shanahan after the game. A
hard blow to the head three plays earlier had triggered in Davis
the blurred vision symptomatic of the early stages of a
migraine, to which he has been susceptible since he was seven.
Still, Shanahan sought to use his woozy Pro Bowl running back,
but as a decoy. The plan: Fake a handoff to Davis into the
middle of the line, then have John Elway galumph around right
end for a play-action pass or a quarterback keeper. As Davis
made his unsteady way onto the field, Shanahan told him, "Just
go over the top."
Over the top is exactly where Davis has carried the Broncos.
After running for 1,750 yards and 15 touchdowns in the regular
season, his third in the NFL, Davis added 581 rushing yards and
eight more touchdowns in the playoffs. While the native San
Diegan gashed and slashed Green Bay for 157 yards and three
touchdowns--which earned him the game's MVP award--the play on
which he took the field as a dizzy decoy will rank among the
game's most memorable. "It showed his guts," said right guard
Brian Habib. It also demonstrated the liberating effect Davis
has had on Elway, whose fake handoff so gulled the Packers that
the knock-kneed quarterback could have done the electric slide
into the end zone.
Ninety minutes after the game, Elway cheerfully credited Davis
for the deliverance of the franchise. "Since he's been here, my
job has basically been to pick up third downs, to keep him on
the field so I can hand him the ball," Elway said. "We got here
on his back."
Davis's San Diego homecoming made for a nice story during the
week before the game. Too bad Denver had no shot against Green
Bay. That, at least, seemed to be the thinking of, among others,
Packers defensive tackle Darius Holland, with whom Davis found
himself out on the town five nights before the game. (They share
an agent, Neil Schwartz.) At the House of Blues, Davis took the
stage with Wyclef Jean of the Fugees and joined in the singing
of Guantanamera. For his part, Holland amused himself by
continuously thrusting his forearm into Davis's chest. When
Davis finally asked Holland what the hell he was doing, the
Packer said, "I want you to get used to how it's going to be on
Not exactly. Poor Darius registered zero tackles. The closest he
came to stopping Davis was late in the fourth quarter, when he
was flagged for yanking the face mask of his friend.
COLOR PHOTO: DAMIAN STROHMEYER Despite missing almost all of the second quarter, Davis rushed for 157 yards and three touchdowns.[Terrell Davis carrying football in game]