Packers’ Harris nearly matches Peterson

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Packers first-year running back DuJuan Harris claims he doesn’t care about statistics. If he did care, Harris would like the way the box score looked for him after Green Bay’s 24-10 playoff win Saturday night over the Minnesota Vikings.

Harris finished with 100 total yards, running for 47 yards and catching five passes for 53 yards. That was only seven fewer total yards than Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson.

“I’m not really the type of guy that likes repping my stats,” Harris said after the game. “I just worry about producing the best way I can and helping the team win. As long as we got the ‘W,’ and we got it. I could’ve had 200-something yards tonight in a loss and it wouldn’t have meant much.

“I’m not a stat guy. We got a job done tonight and that’s all that matters.”

Harris was signed to the Packers’ practice squad on Oct. 24 and was added to the active roster on Dec. 1. Even with 2011 third-round pick Alex Green healthy and recently re-signed veteran Ryan Grant available, Harris was Green Bay’s featured running back for the second consecutive week.

“I’ve been given a lot of opportunities and I have to make the most of them,” Harris said. “You never know how the game is going to go. I’ve got to be prepared for any kind of situation.”

Harris scored a touchdown in the first quarter to give the Packers a 7-3 lead, though the officials originally ruled him down at the 1-yard line. Upon challenge and review, the call was overturned and Harris was awarded a touchdown. However, after several minutes had passed, it was too late for Harris to participate in his first-ever postseason Lambeau Leap.

“Fans were happy about it; They weren’t thinking a Leap at the time,” Harris said. “They were just happy we got it in.”

It hardly seemed like Harris would be the player tied for the most targeted passes from quarterback Aaron Rodgers. But with Harris on the receiving end of several check-down throws and one swing pass, he led the Packers in receptions in this game.

“He’s doing a better job in the passing game,” Rodgers said of Harris. “I think he’s learning the offense. He has been studying very hard. He knows the protection schemes better than he did when he first got in the game. That can really do some things for you when you can dump it off to a guy like that and make some first downs.”

For the first time since Week 4 of the regular season, Rodgers had all of his wide receivers and tight ends healthy. Between Greg Jennings’ abdominal surgery, Jordy Nelson’s recurring hamstring issues and Randall Cobb’s late-season knee injury, Rodgers had plenty of options to throw to.

Harris wasn’t Rodgers’ first option on the vast majority of those completions. But with the Vikings playing deep in coverage, Rodgers took what was in front of him without forcing any passes downfield.

“I thought he played a typical Aaron Rodgers game,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “Very steady.”

Harris actually dropped the first pass thrown his way from Rodgers. On Green Bay’s opening drive, Rodgers tossed a short pass off to Harris on third down that would have resulted in a first down. Instead, after the ball slipped through Harris’ hands and fell to the field, the Packers had to punt. But Harris more than made up for it throughout the rest of the game.

“Oh, man, he’s explosive,” Jennings said. “He’s very elusive when he gets the ball in his hands. He runs really hard, and his second effort is phenomenal. He’s one of those guys that he creeps up on you when you’re run blocking.

“It’s like, ‘Make sure you get your guy,’ because he can break one at any time.”

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